Niger: Gov Bello Under Pressure To Probe His Predecessor
With the activities that ushered in his government, it was expected that the business of governance should have started earlier, but the situation in the state could be best described as 100 days of confusion.
This is because till date, the state government is yet to make public its programmes and policies. The People Democratic Party (PDP) in it assessment of the APC government in the state after 100 days in office captured the true situation on ground when it said that the government was yet to take off and so therefore there is nothing to assess.
The governor is yet to appoint commissioners, and advisers and this has actually grounded activities in the state. The governor has continued to run the state with the permanent secretaries he inherited from the last administration.
Because of the governor’s frequent trips outside the state, the deputy governor, Alhaji Mohammed Ketso has taken charge of all government business in the state.
But the deputy chairman of PDP in the state Barrister Tanko Beji while briefing newsmen in Minna on his assessment of the APC administration, stated that the inability of the APC government to put the necessary structures in place for the take-off of the government is clear indication that the APC was not prepare for task of governance.
Also a Bishop in one of the Anglican Dioceses in the state who pleaded anonymity said he could not assess a government without a programme. Recently the Governor has through his Chief Press Secretary, Ibraheem Dooba announced the dissolution of the 25 local government Council executive and directed directors of personnel to take over the affairs of the councils.
While the people and indeed political loyalists who had worked tirelessly for the success of the party at polls were anxiously waiting to be compensated with membership of the caretaker committee, the governor announced the composition of the councils with the same directors of personnel as chairmen.
This singular decision by the governor attracted serious reactions and criticisms from the party who believe that at least, rather than appointing civil servants (directors of personnel) as caretaker committee chairmen, those politicians who had worked for the success of the party at the local government level during the election should have been compensated with the appointment as caretaker chairmen even if it is for just one month.
Their argument was hinged on the fact that the directors of personnel, having worked with the immediate past administration, may sabotage the success of the party at the local government polls slated for November.
But the governor cited lack of funds as his reason for engaging civil servants to run the council instead of politicians. However, the Governor, in his inaugural speech assured the people of the state that because of the debt burden his administration was inheriting, the government will carry out a forensic audit to determine the debt profile and bonds taken by the past administration with a view to determining how these funds were applied and for which project.
In addition to this, the governor told the people that his administration after studying the handover book will address the people on the state of finances and blueprints, but with 100 days in office, no words has come from the governor on the issue.
Although the governor was said to have set up a contract verification committee, headed by the party chairman Mallam Jibrin Iman to verify contract awarded by the immediate past administration between 2007 and 2015, nothing has been heard about the committee, two months now after it was inaugurated.
Rather than waiting for the outcome of the report of the committee, the governor went ahead with completion of some ongoing projects started by past administration. One of such projects is the one-kilometer old airport/market road.
Also during a tour of some other ongoing projects, the governor was full of praises for the past administration for it foresight in embarking on some projects he (governor) described as “laudable” and has direct baring on the people.
Among such project is the over N3billion three arm zone located in the north by-pass in Minna, the state capital. So far, only one kilometer road is to be commissioned as part of activities to mark his 100 days in office.
Worried by the foot-dragging by the governor to embark on the probe of the immediate past administration, the Niger State House of Assembly last month directed the governor to probe the administration of his predecessor.