Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko thinks opposition politics is just about bashing President Goodluck Jonathan. He now keeps himself busy with intermittent criticism of the President. I just laugh whenever the Sokoto governor starts his outbursts against Jonathan. This is because he is also lacking in service delivery to his people.
Just on Monday, Wamakko, advised Jonathan to resign and apologise to Nigerians “for failing to meet their aspiration rather than dissipating energy on his 2015 re-election bid.” He alleged that the country had retrogressed in many respects, hence the need for Jonathan to vacate the scene.
“If I am asked to advise President Goodluck Jonathan on his re-election bid in a simple language, I will tell him to resign and apologise to Nigerians for his failure. This is my candid opinion as a patriotic citizen who believes in the advancement of the country,” Wamakko said. I am sorry; Wamakko has only distinguished himself in political perfidy and bashing of the Nigerian President and not service delivery to his people. I will give a very concrete and recent example here. His beloved Sokoto State remains on the list of the ten poorest states in Nigeria after eight years of Wamakko. I hope governor Sokoto is aware of the recent Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) 2014 report which unmasked Nigeria’s poorest states.
According to the report which puts the percentage of Nigerians living in poverty at 43.3 per cent, Bauchi State has the highest percentage of people living in extreme poverty, followed by Kebbi State. They are followed by Zamfara, Sokoto, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina, Gombe, Borno and Niger. The Sokoto State Wamakko claims to have performed so well for in eight years is number four on the list of Nigeria’s ten poorest states. What an irony.
The report noted further that the rural areas had the largest number of poor people at 57.5 per cent. Kebbi State was adjudged as having the largest number of poor people accounting for 89.3 per cent, followed by Zamfara, which accounted for 88 per cent of the poverty numbers, as well as Sokoto and Yobe States, which accounted for 86 per cent and 85.1 per cent respectively.
OPHI, 2014 (Nigeria Country Briefing) which measured multidimensional poverty index (MPI) for Nigeria noted that 19.3 percent of the population remained vulnerable to poverty while 25.3 percent of Nigerians live in severe poverty, mostly in the North.
According to the report, 26.6 per cent of Nigeria’s over 170 million people are destitute, while 68.0 percent and 84.5 percent of the Nigerian population live below $1.25 per day and $2 per day respectively.
A person is identified as multi-dimensionally poor (or ‘MPI poor’) if he or she is deprived in at least one third of the weighted indicators including years of schooling, school attendance, child mortality, nutrition, electricity, sanitation, water, floor, cooking fuel and assets. These 10 indicators are grouped under three dimensions; education, health and standard of living. OPHI is an economic research centre within the Oxford Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Wamakko should grab this report and see if he could still make amend with about five months left in his tenure, instead of running after Jonathan and accusing him of non-performance.
Obanikoro’s Hackneyed Gubernatorial Ambition
It is a pity that most of our politicians don’t know when to say goodbye to their ambitions. One of such is Musiliu Obanikoro, the former minister of state for defence. I was dismayed when he suddenly resigned from the federal cabinet to contest the PDP gubernatorial primary in Lagos State. It was obvious that Obanikoro was swimming against the tide. Key members of the party instrumental to its survival in Lagos clearly told him that they wanted a fresh face to face APC in the battle for the state. The likes of Bode George and Adeseye Ogunlewe have never hidden their desire for a fresh face in the battle for Lagos. Obanikoro’s perceived negative image was also an issue. I thought Koro would read the hand writing on the wall and remain in Abuja. He couldn’t just get the message. This ex-minister decided to behave like the typical Nigerian politician. I gathered that he has gone to court to challenge the verdict of the PDP primary election in Lagos.
Koro, please, drop this case and move ahead with your life. No single individual has benefitted this much as you did from the PDP. You moved from being chairman of a key government agency, to being an ambassador and then, a minister. Perish your gubernatorial ambition and work for the good of your party in Lagos.
Abia Elders Should Call Ochendo to Order
I can’t understand what is happening in Abia State in terms of welfare of civil servants. The founding fathers of the state should move in and call Theodore Orji to order. This governor called Ochendo has not really been fair to Abia civil servants. Workers in so many departments and agencies are being owed salaries running into several months. Workers in several states across the nation are facing similar problems but the situation in Abia is horrendous. I don’t know what Ochendo stands to gain by pummeling these hapless workers. Just on Monday, leaders of the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress were forced to seal the office of the state’s accountant-general and the sub-treasury, because of the woes of the civil servants. The state’s branch of the Trade Union Congress joined the Abia NLC in solidarity during the protest. Chairman of the Abia NLC, Comrade Sylvanus Eyeh, confirmed the non-payment of salaries running into several months to thousands of civil servants. Some agencies and departments owe as much as seven months. Eyeh also complained of huge outstanding gratuities and pensions as well as the non-refund of the N2, 000 charges paid by workers for the confirmation, promotion examinations (CONPRO) which he said never took place since 2013. Other grievances of Abia workers include non-payment of gratuity and pension to retired workers. Workers in many parastatals are also being owed huge minimum wage arrears. Abia State Health Management Board workers are being owed about six-month arrears of salaries. ASUBEB owes teachers six-month salaries, while most of the tertiary institutions in the state owe huge arrears of salaries. Ochendo, over to you. You must sort out this mess before you leave.
2015 Presidential Crystal Ball
President Goodluck Jonathan won five of the six states in this geo-political zone in the 2011 Presidential election, losing only Osun State. Things have changed a great deal since then. My Crystal Ball tells me Jonathan won’t find things easy in this zone in 2015; particularly if Asiwaju Tinubu keeps to his words of standing behind Mohammadu Buhari of the APC. Ondo and Ekiti look good to vote massively for Jonathan, with Fayose and Mimiko factors. Buhari should forget about these two states; he may not even get 25% of votes in these states. Osun and Ogun look good for Buhari but Jonathan will still pick his 25% here.
Oyo and Lagos are too close to call. It could go either way because the PDP is getting very strong in these two states. If Alao Akala, Teslim Folarin and Rasheed Ladoja deliver their votes to the PDP during the Presidential election in Oyo, then Jonathan may coast home to victory here. Lagos will be very tough for Jonathan and Buhari. Regardless of the influence of Tinubu, religion will be a factor here. What is certain is that the two candidates will get the minimum 25% of votes required.