Gov. Sule’s One Year In Office: Our Stance

Tomorrow Friday May 29, 2020, Governor Abdullahi Alhaji Sule will mark one year in
office as elected governor of Nasarawa state. One year in office is
perhaps enough time to assess performance of government at whatever
level or by whatever parameter one decides to measure such
performance. Ironically, in the last one year, citizens of Nasarawa
state are yet to feel the impact of this present administration.
True, there is no country today that is not facing economic hardship
courtesy of the novel corona virus pandemic ravaging the world and its
economy; in Nasarawa state though, the story is worse, to say the
least. Yes, our experience in Nasarawa state can be considered as
worse because even before COVID-19 reared its ugly head in late 2019,
the state was already in a financial quagmire due to a number of ‘at
source deductions’ from its statutory allocations coupled with the
fact that its internally generated revenue (IGR) is low.
As at the time of writing this editorial, unconfirmed report had it
that about N700 million is being deducted monthly from our paltry
federal allocations of about N2billion monthly (the N2billion is
fluctuating); thus, after deducting workers salaries and other first
line deductions, like security votes and payment of pension for former
governors, the state is left with virtually nothing to enable the
government execute some of its responsibilities to the electorate and
citizens.
Of course, Governor Abdullahi Sule came with much hope to better the
lives of the people of the state through provisions of critical
infrastructure as captured in his inaugural address of May 29, 2019.
Unfortunately, soon after he assumed office, the state’s debts
portfolio seem to be crippling all the hopes he had prior to his
assumption of office. Although on several occasions, Governor Sule was
quoted as saying that he did not inherit any debt from his
predecessor, facts on ground however, prove otherwise.
Indeed, Gov. Sule had to make a choice between shielding his
predecessor in office regarding the debt portfolio of the state and
protecting/promoting the interest of the people who elected him into
office. Unless and until Gov. Sule comes out openly and tell the
people the truth about what he inherited, he will continue to wear the
tag of a ‘non performing’ governor. And just as we observed earlier,
Gov. Sule, in the last one year has done nothing tangible in
comparison to the peoples’ expectations, due to the burden he
inherited. This burden we hasten to say constitute a cog in the wheel
of progress of Nasarawa state. No matter Governor Sule’s genuine
intentions and efforts towards meeting the yearnings and aspirations
of the people of the state, the financial burden of the state by way
of indebtedness will not allow him achieve anything meaningful.
As an interim measure, we suggest, drastic reduction of security votes
allocation. Since Nasarawa state is experiencing relative peace due to
pragmatic approach adopted by the government, there is no any
justification for the present huge spendings in the name of security
votes.
Secondly, government must abolish payment of pensions and other
benefits to former governors in the state. Such payment of pension
runs contrary to 1999 constitution (as amended) which stipulates that
a pensioner must have worked for at least 10 years and must be up to
45 years of age.
Some states have abolished payment of pension to former governors as
part of their efforts to curtail government expenditures and we
therefore, see no reason for Nasarawa state with its meager resources
to continue with these payments to former governors.
The situation we find ourselves today in the state is precarious;
government must therefore take some hard decisions, if really we want
to progress to the next level.

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