KADUNA GOVERNOR, YAKOWA HELD HOSTAGE
When Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa of Kaduna State dissolved the cabinet he inherited from his former boss, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo, many Kaduna residents and politicians hailed him.
In fact, some described the action as the determination and willingness of the governor to detach himself from the apron-string of his former boss and chart a new course for himself. Daily Sun can authoritatively reveal that the former governor was never consulted before the dissolution.
The manner in which the dissolution was announced was a further confirmation that the cabinet members were also taken unaware. They had all accompanied the governor and one of their then colleagues, Alhaji Muktar Ramalan Yero, who was to be sworn-in as deputy governor to the State House, for the ceremony, when the master of ceremony, described Yero as a member of the just dissolved cabinet.
Once that announcement was made, the hall which was initially jam-packed began to deplete as some of the members of the dissolved cabinet and their supporters left the hall.
However, 43 days after his swearing in as governor, and 34 days after the dissolution of the cabinet, Yakowa appears to have been hailed too soon, as he is yet to constitute a new cabinet. The situation has left tongues wagging with accusing fingers being pointed in the direction of the Vice President and his followers, as being responsible for the delay. In fact, they are been accused of holding the governor 'hostage.'
Those who hold this view, told Daily Sun in confidence that one of the reasons responsible for the delay in constituting a new cabinet was the alleged insistence by Sambo and his supporters to have at least 11 out of the 24 members of the cabinet, in addition to allegedly having the deputy governor function as the Finance Commissioner.
Interestingly, however, Yakowa's last week's remark during the Civil Service Week celebration opened a new vista to the whole debate. Yakowa, had alluded to the fact that if former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, could function without commissioners, there was nothing wrong in him having the permanent secretaries assisting him in running the affairs of the state.
This statement and other undercurrents in the state are what Sambo men are using to describe the governor as a 'confused man.' A source told Daily Sun that while Sambo men would not want to join issues with the governor, the governor's continued silence over certain sensitive matters was lending credence to speculations in the state regarding governance:
'If I grant an interview now, they will say we are fighting the man. But I want to assure him through your medium that at the time he would need us most to also make certain comments in the media on his behalf, we will not be there for him, since he has refused to be there for us too. 'When you say Oga's men, virtually all of us have been engaged. There are only two people left, the Chief of Staff and the former Works Commissioner, Sidi. I am sure with time, Oga will fix them up.
'The only two people that perhaps Oga may be insisting that they be accommodated are the two ANPP nominees, because these two guys are products of an agreement reached between Oga and Senator Aruwa. The agreement was such that even if there was going to be a cabinet re-shuffle at any point in time, those two people must be accommodated, because if we had not entered into that agreement and allowed Senator Aruwa to go ahead with his case in court, Oga's election would have been nullified based on exclusion.
'So my brother, this is the truth. Nobody is holding him hostage, but rather he is the one who is confused. He has been busy asking people to bring their C.Vs, from the same local government, he will promise two people to make them commissioners. These are really the issues, they are just accusing the Vice President for a thing he knows nothing about. Or is it the Vice President too that has asked him to say he could function without commissioners?
'What many people don't know is that the man is also afraid of paying political appointees.
He knows that appointing new commissioners mean releasing certain allowances to them and paying those dropped severance allowance, so these are some of the issues, it has nothing to do with the Vice President. If the man knows that he has no idea of whom to make commissioners, then he should not have dissolved the cabinet in the first place.'
Responding, Yakowa's spokesman, Reuben Buhari, insisted that the delay in constituting a new cabinet has nothing to do with any speculations. He said the governor was only taking his time to come up with good hands that would assist in the actualization of the11-point agenda.
The delay in constituting the cabinet, he said, was a deliberate aimed at getting the 'best, most competent and credible hands' that would aid the governor in moving the state forward. Buhari disclosed that permanent secretaries of the various ministries who have proven to be very competent and capable of running the various ministries, have continued to ensure that no aspect of the state matters suffers from any neglect:
'Following the various shades of speculations permeating the state and beyond, on the composition of a new cabinet for Kaduna State, it has become necessary to correct some misconceptions and reassure everybody that the dissolution of the cabinet was meant to put together a crack team that would vigorously pursue the attainment of the 11-point agenda.
'However, there is the need to have a complete picture of the level of performance of each ministry, to debrief the former commissioners and their permanent secretaries on the level of performances of each ministry and its various activities.' Buhari added, even as he said the governor has assured the people of the state that 'a new and vibrant' cabinet would soon be in place.
But one other knotty issue that has remained unresolved, and which has further fuelled speculations that all is not well with governance matters in the state is the controversy surrounding the actual amount that was left in the coffers by Sambo.
While the governor's supporters are alleging that Sambo may not have handed over 'a penny' to his successor, Sambo's men. They insisted that the former governor indeed handed over 'something,' but said they are not in a position to disclose the amount, even as they urged the governor to make public the handing over note.
The state government under Sambo's leadership, had outlined programmes to mark the government's third year anniversary. Part of which was to showcase the few things it has done, including the ones it is doing in the print and electronic media. The proposal for the print, the submission of which was exclusively obtained by Daily Sun was put at about N15million.
But on May 29, Yakowa did not even stay within the state capital, as he moved to one of the councils in the state to give staff of office to a chief of the area. And the adverts meant for the print media are yet to be released, about one month after May 29. One other man who is concerned about the financial profile of the state is one of governorship aspirants for the 2011 elections in the state, Alhaji Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi.
Hunkuyi asked Yakowa to tell the people of the state the true financial situation he inherited from the former governor. He also urged the governor to strive to live by the oath of his office and his pledge to be a governor for all.
He also drew the governor's attention to what he described as the 'injustice done to the people of Kaduna Central Senatorial District,' regarding political appointments in the state:
'It will also do him a world of good to immediately come clean with the people on the financial position of the state at the point of take over. In so doing, His Excellency should be conscious of his oath of office and the fact that even if he fails to be accountable to people here, he will one day account to God.'