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SAMBO AND YAKOWA: TROUBLE AHEAD

By NBF News
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By Luka Binniyat
Apart from security concerns expressed by most residents of Kaduna state, the slow pace of governance is another major source of worry.

For example, since Governor Patrick Yakowa dissolved the Local Government Councils (LGCs) in February, he was only able to inaugurate Caretaker Committees last Monday. That is to say, for almost five months, the 23 LGCs of the state were only manned by the Secretaries of the Councils, who have no executive powers to carry out any developmental projects.

Again, it was only last Wednesday that the Governor submitted the list of his Commissioners to the Kaduna State House of Assembly for screening, five months after the  2011 Appropriation Act   had been passed into law by the  State House of Assembly

With less than six months left to the end of the year, it is doubtful if the 2011 capital budget of the state would be implemented by even 30% with Commissioners just coming in  to handle projects and other aspects of governance

.According to Vanguard's findings, last year's execution of the capital budget was 50% after it was passed into law by March last year with a full cabinet in place.

Again, it took so much intrigue and wrangling - in and out of the media - before the State's ministerial nominee Mrs Hadiza Mailafia emerged for presentation to the Senate for screening.

It is also said that some big projects in the state have been abandoned by their already_paid contractors, and Yakowa is not asking questions. However, as far as most indigenes of Kaduna state are concerned all these problems are to be traced to the relationship between Yakowa  and the Deputy President, Arc. Namadi Sambo.

Unalloyed loyalty
Yakowa was Deputy Governor when Namadi was Governor of the state. Sambo is believed to have enjoyed an unalloyed loyalty from Yakowa, to the extent that even as Vice President, he still looks like the Governor de facto. So, It is strongly viewed that Sambo still has a firm grip of affairs of the state, with Yakowa subtly trying to wriggle out in a manner that would not offend his former boss, to the consternation of the state's stakeholders.

But, Yakowa has consistently dismissed this notion, claiming such is only in the imagination of his foes. He insists that he is in charge and that he has no problem with the Vice President in anyway.

Vanguard however gathered that the lateness in the composition of the Caretakers' Committees of the LGC was because Sambo insisted on having some of his men and women chair some critical LGCs in the state. But the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some critical stakeholders in the state protested over the choices. It was learnt that the position of the Party suited Yakowa   who used the conflict as an excuse to hold on to the list. After several consultations with the VP and major interested parties, Yakowa came up with the names five months after he dissolved the LGC.

Those who claim to understand Sambo say that the embarrassing victory of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC in Sambo's residential areas in Kaduna and Zaria have spurred the Vice-President to rethink his political strategies.

'He will do anything within the law to ensure that his people recognise him and accept him, because of the humiliation he has suffered in the recent past,' said a politician from the PDP, who pleaded anonymity.

'Sambo wants to be President in 2015, but he realises that he can only give it a try if he is loved at home. I am not surprised that he is doing all he can to ensure that Yakowa pleases his constituency as much as he would have done if he were still the governor, not minding the degree of hate they have for him,' said the source.

The influence of Sambo on Yakowa is perhaps most palpable in the scheme to produce a Minister from  the state.

It is well known that Yakowa had  presented the names of Mallam  Hamisu Yusuf Abubakar (Mairago),  Senator Ahmed Maikarfi  and Othman Hunkuyi, the last two being prominent party members in the state who played active roles for the party to win both the Presidential and gubernatorial elections in the state. Miarago's name was submitted to the Senate. But he never made it to the screening level for reasons that have not been made public. Instead, Zainab Mailafiya's name was submitted to the Senate.

Zainab a former Permanent Secretary in Kaduna state in the 90's is allegedly a close confidant and friend of the wife of the Vice President, Amina Sambo.

When Mairago's name was dropped, there was anxiety in the state on who would be the next nominee. Shortly after, Miarago did not appear at the senate, a group of PDP stalwarts in the state, led by Usman Mohammed, made a press release accusing Sambo of meddling with the affairs of the state.

Part of the statement reads: 'We have observed with concern the fact that the Vice President, Arc.Mohammed Namadi Sambo has continued to interfere unjustly in the running of Kaduna State thereby denying Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa the free hand to run the state. This has been brought to the fore by the way he has been meddling in the nomination for appointments of people from Kaduna State including his demand for Commissioners' slots.

'We have seen and heard of cases where the governor (Yakowa) submits names to the presidency for appointment and the Vice President also submits a separate list. A ready instance is the ministerial list where a list of names was submitted by Governor Patrick Yakowa and immediately, Vice President Namadi Sambo equally submitted his own names which brought wrangling,' the politician claimed.

'Vice President Namadi Sambo has gone ahead to submit the name of his wife's classmate whose husband also was his classmate, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed to be appointed minister against all odds. 'Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed who is from Zone II is presently the DG Nigerian Extractive Transparency Initiative (NIETI). What we are saying is that the distribution of appointments between the three zones is lopsided and heavily against Zone III whose votes in the April general elections was the saving grace for PDP in the state.

'It will be recalled that when Kaduna State had no strong representation at the federal level, PDP was delivering the highest number of votes during general elections but now that we have a very strong representation from the state (i.e. the Vice President), PDP has become a weakling second to a new opposition party, the CPC all because of the attitude of the Vice President's policy of non inclusion of strong and dedicated party members,' the PDP member protested.

Some are not impressed with
the excuses for the slow pace of government activities in Kaduna state, placing the entire responsibility of governance on Yakowa.

'Yakowa is hugely indebted to the people of Kaduna state more than any state governor in Nigeria today, and people should stop making excuses for him', said Saidu Mallam Isa, of the Network for Peaceful Change based in Kaduna.

'He should take the issue of governance seriously and stop hiding under the cover of undue interference. The circumstance which made him the governor is too awesome in terms of its cost on human and material lives. He should not take the mandate of the people for granted,' he said.

'Yakowa is the Executive Governor of Kaduna State and it is a shame that at his age and experience, people are still saying that it is Namadi that is ruling Kaduna state from Abuja', observed Comrade Dominic Simon Bature of Kaduna State Good Leadership Forum based in Kakuri, Kaduna.

'Indigenes of Kaduna and all its residents should rise and tell the man to deliver on his promises. His coming to power has led to the division of this state more than ever and at a great cost to the well being of the people. A man who was given the greatest sacrifice of human lives in an election that looked like a pitched war cannot afford to fail the state,' he said.

'It does not matter whether you like Yakowa or not; whether you voted for him or not. What matters is that he has the common wealth of everyone in this state in his trust to run this state and improve on our conditions of living. We are going to hold him to that task, and if he fails, Namadi would never share the blame. If he succeeds Namadi would never share the glory,' he further said.