It is becoming obvious that Kaduna State is doomed to fail under Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. Reasons:
There are serious crises in the state’s key sectors of education, health, public utilities and security.
In less than two years Gov Yakowa has received more than one hundred billion naira allocation from the Federation Account with nothing to show for it.
Insecurity looms despite the N130.6M deducted monthly from each of the 23 local government areas of the state for security
By OUR CORRESPONDENT
On May 20, 2010 the mantle of leadership of Kaduna State fell on Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa who took over from Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo following the nomination of the latter as Vice President by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a result of the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. And upon resumption as the governor of the state, Yakowa pledged to take Kaduna State to greater heights. Mr. Yakowa started well particularly in the management and administration of local government funds with glaring departure from the waste, fraudulent deductions and alleged corruption that characterized Mr. Sambo era. At the inception of his regime, there were high hopes that LGs in Kaduna will witness unprecedented growth and development perhaps more than the revolution embarked upon by the development oriented regime of ex-Governor Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi. But the expectation of the people soon changed from high hopes to near hopelessness due to questionable secrecy and executive excesses that characterized the management and administration of the multi billion naira illegal local government joint accounts. At the moment, Kaduna State under Mr. Yakowa’s firm grip is unfortunately among the few states that refused to conduct local government elections even though the conduct, according to many, will be a mere formality considering the reputation of electoral fraud the Kaduna PDP has earned for itself in the eyes of many citizens. Even though there are no major projects currently in active progress in any of the LGs in Kaduna, DESERT HERALD investigation revealed that the LGs under caretaker committee chairmen exclusively appointed by Mr. Yakowa are almost in bankruptcy due largely to questionable deductions and expenditures that have failed to impact on the lives of the impoverished people of the state. Considering the deplorable condition of the LGs in Kaduna, the continues decay of the health, water, road and education sectors and in consideration of the content of Mr. Yakowa’s speech when he took over from the incumbent vice president, the people of Kaduna State are today wondering what happened to those promises made by the first Kaduna State governor that comes from the southern part of the state. DESERT HERALD findings in Kaduna revealed that there is monumental lack of performance by the Yakowa government since he took over in May 20, 2010. His administration according to public rating recently conducted by Nigeria Youth Organization is worse than the regime of VP Sambo when he was the governor. The organization, which was founded and incorporated since 1984, said “apart from glaring non performance which is visible in all sectors, Governor Ibrahim Yakowa is among the governors that hardly stay in their states. There is massive unchecked corruption in his administration. The billions he is spending on so called security are just another conduit pipe and one that cannot be justified. There is the need to focus on aggressive development of decaying infrastructures and to embark on meaningful projects that can be seen by all. Business of government in Kaduna has been reduced to television sponsored propaganda that consumes millions of naira that could be used to change the lives of the masses. Unlike during the regimes of the likes of Senator Makarfi when even critics can see and feel the impact of the many people oriented projects he executed, there is nothing currently in any part of Kaduna State apart from the refuse collection trucks, checkpoints that have proven to be a nuisance and place for extortion and the Namadi train in the capital city to show that there is responsible government in place. Yakowa was the SSG under Makarfi. We strongly advice that since he is a product of the regime that was rated high, he (Yakowa) should follow the visions and embark on the strictness of the likes of Makarfi”, said the Nigeria Youth Organization. Some indigenes of Kaduna in an interview with DESERT HERALD lamented that the emergence of Mr. Yakowa was greeted with so much joy but that joy is fast fading away as events in the state have moved from bad to worse. “If Friday is going to be good you will know from at least Tuesday or Wednesday, there is nothing good that is going to come out of this Government ”, said Bashir Isyaku. Asked if it is not too early to start judging the government of Yakowa as he is just barely two years in office, he retorted: “The government of Yakowa after almost two years is becoming obvious to us that that Yakowa’s regime would go down in history as one of the most unpopular and least remarkable in the state. We in Kaduna State were in high spirit when he came in. I am among those that truly voted for Yakowa. We gave him the mandate due to his experience in public service which we saw as a great asset. “Look at his style of governance, everything in Kaduna is virtually at a standstill and the governor himself is more at home in Abuja than in Kaduna”, said Isyaku, stressing that Yakowa’s style of government has forced all stakeholders in the state, who are supposed to work in tandem with the government in order to take the state to an enviable height, underground. “Today he is using the issue of security to distance himself from the people. We’ve not seen any policy direction of the Yakowa government” the source added. DESERT HERALD investigation shows the dearth of infrastructures in most of the sectors of the economy of the state, especially in Health, Education, Agriculture, Rural and Urban development. To aggravate the dwindling fortunes of the administration, the state today DESERT HERALD can reveal is heavily indebted and seems to be heading towards bankruptcy.
A cursory look at these issues shows that education in the state is at the receiving end as it is in a sorry and pitiable state and nothing so far is being done to salvage the situation after massive propaganda which is being used as a conduit pipe by other top government functionaries. For instance, this paper learnt that the Yakowa government is proposing to levy pupils in private elementary and secondary schools in the state. This plan is seen by many as unjust, unrealistic and unacceptable considering the fact that Mr. Yakowa has failed to implement his promise of free education and health care services. A source close to the ministry of education revealed: “The state which has the responsibility to provide quality education to all is now unable to do so and now parents that chose to give their children quality education through private institutions are facing threat of being shortchanged by the government. It is obvious that there is no way schools can afford to pay the proposed levy without passing the burden to parents through increasing the already exorbitant school fees”. The source went on: “Yakowa should know that these private schools in the state support the government through creation of jobs, more so when they pay their taxes to the state. “Governor Ahmed Makarfi earned less from federal monthly allocation than what the state currently receives; yet, Yakowa’s performance in the state is decimal and far below what Makarfi achieved in his first one year in office. Neither Makarfi nor Namadi Sambo aspired to extort funds from parents of students attending private schools to support the state’s revenue,” the source said. Another reliable source told this paper that “the anticipated N14.5m monthly or yearly levy on private schools cannot support any meaningful growth, but another sign of a wrong approach to education and social peace. Taking a look at the 2012 budget has not shown any visible sign of the Yakowa government’s readiness to tackle the rot in the education sector. For instance, of the N11 billion which was earmarked for education in this year’s budget, the sum of N2, 163,928,767.49 for capital projects in the education sector will not go anywhere in solving the problem of the education sector in the state, it won’t even spur any development that may be termed human, let alone solve the teething problems facing the education sector in the state even if the amount is judiciously utilized.” The paltry allotment to the education sector, the source explained, accounts for the prevalent crumble in the Kaduna State education sector as this also is responsible for the decay in most of the schools in Kaduna the state capital. Yet Governor Yakowa would not budge. Today throughout the length and breadth of the state government owned schools are in shambles owning to the fact that they have been neglected and they now face intrusion from the activities of different kinds of people, and lack of perimeter fencing thereby increasing the influx of intruders into the schools. While Yakowa has inherited the decay in the education sector nothing considering the massive allocation he has so far received from both the FG and internally generated revenue suggests that he is committed to developing the declining fortunes of education and its infrastructure in the state. “When you compare the budgetary allocation for education with that of others that are also important, in 2012 budget you don’t need a soothsayer to decode that Governor Yakowa’s government is not sincere, despite all the noise that he is undertaking a campaign to salvage the education sector, let alone taking it to an enviable level. “Also, when you compare the allocation to other projects in the state with the education sector, you will see that the government is not keen in tackling the dwindling state of education in the state”, he said. This year’s budget in the transport sector alone indeed exceeded the education sector by N300 million as the total value for the transport sector is about N13.8 billion. However a single project of constructing bridges across river Kaduna Phase I and Phase II was put at the cost of N2,438,518,706.74. Another single project, this time the Zaria Regional Water project, was budgeted at over N11.3 billion while another single project gulped N7 billion. Pundits argued that even though the huge amounts were budgeted there may be disappointment as usual at the end of the year as the administration did not seems committed to the successful completion of such projects without unreasonable review (upward). Moreover, the UN prerequisite for education was pegged at 26% of the total budget, however of the total sum of N134, 564,383,343 which was visualized to be spent in 2012 only about N2, 163,928,767.49 is projected to be spent for capital projects in education sector, and even many of the projects that are also earmarked are still yet to be completed. With this amount meant to cover projects in the three tiers of education which includes the Primary, Secondary, and tertiary institutions, the over 3,741 Primary schools, more than one thousand secondary schools, two polytechnics, colleges of education, and also a state university which has two campuses, there are strong indications the government is diverting the funds from education to other less important sectors for selfish reasons while others believe that even if the resources will not be diverted it will not be judiciously used for the purpose it was budgeted. A visit to some of the public schools in the state capital and also rural areas, revealed an eyesore due to the alarming rate of degradation and dilapidation of most of the schools. The ever busy constitution Road in Kaduna metropolis which houses both primary and secondary schools including skill acquisition centers for girls testifies to monumental level of neglect as the schools are now a shadow of the past. There is no perimeter fencing in the schools, as the auto mechanics in that area have taken a portion of the school land and turned it into their workshops. Another visit to Jafaru Memorial Primary school which is situated at Kabala Costain area shows decay in the educational system of Kaduna State. This institution which was set up in the 1960s has about 28 classrooms of 12 blocks however only 3 which are being used by the primary six pupils today have learning desks as the other classrooms are just in shambles without classroom pupils, teachers and furniture. There is no good sanitation in the school because of the absence of toilets in the school. The roofing of the school has rusted away, while some are corroded, the floors are indeed another eyesore as they have potholes which are only in contrast with Nigerian roads, while the ceilings are nowhere to be found either because they were consumed by termites or stolen due to lack of security. In the light of all these, the irony of it is that all the pupils sit on the bare floors to take lessons making them vulnerable to common ailments such pneumonia, catarrh and cold and fever during the Harmattan and rainy seasons. Even other schools that sprang up from Jafarau Memorial to form junior secondary schools for boys and girls are all the same story. While the story of the above mentioned schools are on, it is not also different from other ones visited by this medium in other parts of Kaduna Metropolis. It was same story from Tudun Wada, Sabo, Badarawa, and Unguwar Rimi. As learnt by this paper, there are credible allegations of employing fake and unqualified teachers to teach in public schools. Just like education is in total mess in the state, the issue of health is nothing to write home about. The health sector in Kaduna is begging for urgent attention in the state. This paper learnt that the establishment of Primary Health Care Management Agency and Drug Supply Management Agency in the state has not yielded any tangible results as a close source told this paper that if you go to hospital and demand for the free drugs, what you get out of the five drugs prescribed will not be more than two if you are lucky and in many cases they may not be the real drugs and the remaining three you are told to go and source for them yourself while many a times you don’t get a single drug despite its provision by the state government. Insiders in the ministry of Health lamented that there is huge corruption in the management of government hospitals in Kaduna and particularly in the supply and management of drugs in the hospitals and that unless government took steps to ensure prudence and sanity in management and supply of drugs and administration of funds Mr. Yakowa may end up being the worse governor in that regard. The outcome of a visit to some of the government owned hospitals in the state portends no sustainable health care for the citizens of the state. In Gambo Sawaba General Hospital in Zaria the story is the same as the hospital is struggling to survive lacking equipment and conducive environment. For instance, in the maternity ward where women who have given birth are subjected to using old mattresses on the floor because there are no sufficient beds. This sad situation includes all other wards and the VVF Centre. DESERT HERALD findings at the major male wards, known as Mustafa Danraka Ward, shows that most of the windows are broken. The patients use old container pane and even empty packs to cover the windows. The ward area is also surrounded by bushes making it home for mosquitoes which have field day. The toilets are not in good shape. Patients defecate in the open. In fact, the hospital like most government hospitals in Kaduna are exposed to all kinds of diseases and many patients end up being infected by diseases rather than getting cure of their illnesses. The hospital also is facing inadequate medical personnel. Looking at the hospital staff record, it is discovered that they only have seven doctors which serve the hospitals, as it has further made night shifts in most of the wards to be called off. When asked what their fate is at night, the patients said they leave their fate in the hand of God. In the event of emergency nobody no medical personnel is there to attend to them. The only constant medical personnel seen there are just medical students who are still green horns in the medical world. In some instances, patients with contagious diseases like Tuberculosis share the same ward with other patients. Amidst hardships the patients are told to provide certain items which should otherwise be provided by the hospital, before they are admitted. DESERT HERALD findings revealed that the pediatric ward of the hospital is now in total decay alongside the rest of the hospital. Just like the Gambo Sawaba, other hospitals in the state are also in the state of decay and neglect by the Yakowa government. Meanwhile the much expected completion of the 300-bed specialist hospital under construction by the state government may be delayed till 2014, despite the fact that the state claims to have spent millions of naira on the same health project. This was made known by the Branch Manager of Nahman Construction which is constructing the hospital. More on the health sector, another Kaduna edifice, which is the Zaria Pharmaceutical Company (ZPC) being one of the initiatives of the former civilian governor of the state; Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa is comatose as it is now in total decay and dilapidation with millions of naira equipments left to decay.
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Staff of ZPC lamented that if the government is serious, resuscitating the edifice and its structure will create revenue for the government and employment for the citizens of the state. They said less than N20 million if judiciously expended can bring back the company to function. Today infrastructural decay is the order of the day in state. No wonder, concerned indigenes of the state are appealing for attention to these social amenities. For instance, the state and local government joint account which receives money every month in billions as statutory allocation has not made any impact on the lives of the citizens of the state. A close source at the ministry for Local Government confided to this reporter that Local Governments in Kaduna under Mr. Yakowa doesn’t even get up to 30 per cent of their monthly federal allocation even when it is obvious that the rural dwellers constitute about 70 per cent of Kaduna population. However, power supply, potable water, road networks and other basic amenities are not in existence in most of the local governments except some fortunate local government headquarters that were lucky to be connected during the Makarfi regime. Despite the huge amounts accruing to the local governments on monthly basis, the level of development and neglect in these areas shows glaring corruption in the management of their huge allocation. In almost all the local governments visited by this reporter the primary health clinics; Local Government Education Authority (LGEA) primary schools are comatose. Bad roads and lack of potable drinking water are the major problems militating against the 23 councils. It is even more visible in Chikun, Kaduna South, Igabi, and Kaduna North which should be shining examples, where the story remains the same. Areas like Goningora, Romi, Television village, Sabon Tasha and Angwan Boro lack good roads. While areas in Igabi like Rigasa and Rigachikun there are no access to good roads. The Kaduna State Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Barrister Mohammed Musa Soba, revealed that Governor Yakowa has demonstrated an embarrassing level of ineptitude and incompetence in managing the state which resulted in paralyzing the administrative machinery of the state government. To him the state doesn’t have clearly defined policy under Yakowa. “There is no such thing that will ensure economic growth and sustainable development. He described the Yakowa government lawless, saying the governor has refused to obey a court order by a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Gideon Kurada which declared the local government interim management committee appointed by Yakowa as illegal”. He said LGs in Kaduna are being shortchanged by massive corruption at the ministry for Local Government where the commissioner, perm sec and the director of finance in the ministry have become millionaires while the LGs are being starved of their funds. “Yakowa is afraid to hold election because he knows that even the state electoral commission under him cannot stop the opposition parties from winning in a free and fair contest. It is sad that the Kaduna State House of Assembly has compromised their independence”. The issue of the Kaduna State civil servants is another thing which is bedeviling the state, for instance few days ago the civil servants in the state almost went on rampage because of the inability of the Yakowa government to pay their two months salaries thereby making life very difficult for them. Some civil servants alleged that the state is broke due to corruption and mismanagement and that is why it has not paid salary of its workers. Pensioners have also not been paid. It would be recalled that last year widows of Kaduna Textile had lamented over the non-payment of their husband’s entitlements and gratuities by the Yakowa administration. A close source said there is nothing on ground to show that the Yakowa government will achieve anything tangible in his regime. For instance, another issue which has been begging for answer is the issue of insecurity. Today Kaduna State and its inhabitants despite the claim of spending billions are leaving under palpable fear due to insecurity. The insecurity has worsened despite the alleged monthly deduction of N3.1 billion from the accounts of the 23 local governments of the state in the name of security. In spite of the huge amount which includes the security vote, the issue of insecurity remains a nightmare in Kaduna State. The Yakowa government for over a year has failed to settle the victims of the ethno-religious killings in Kafachan and are still living miserably at the Hajj camp. Pundits blame negative climate on Yakowa’s inability to govern the state and also a clear demonstration of failure. “The fact is that when a government fails or is unable to protect its citizens, such a government has no reason to continue to be in office because it has failed in its cardinal task as a government to ensure the security of the lives and property of its citizens,” said a concerned citizen who preferred not to be mentioned. Also, there has been barbaric killings of innocent and law abiding citizens in all corners of the state in the last 6 months. It began from Bitaro in Jaba Local Government before it spread to Fadiya, Tabak, and Kurmin Bi near Agwam Bajju’s palace in Zangon Kataf, also in Chikun and other parts of the state. Even the metropolis is not spared as there has been bomb blasts in the metropolis with constant incidences of robbery and car theft. As a result, citizens are expressing lack of confidence and trust Yakowa to rid the state of preventable crimes. Murderers are on the loose killing innocent people in cold blood. Aside the issue of insecurity, this paper learnt that the Yakowa government has developed the habit of levying the people unnecessarily. Now the state is also considering levying all the stalls along the road in the state metropolis while the land rate in the state is said to be in place to be increased by 100%. While Mr. Yakowa was commended for initiating the fourth Kaduna Bridge, the total cost which stood at about N8 billion together with some of the link roads connected with the bridge which was billed to be completed within a year was highly being criticized as grossly over inflated. This paper learnt that as things are, no one could guess when the project will be completed any more”. The issue of the minimum wage has also become an embarrassing situation for the government as civil servants in the state have continued to wait for the completion of the ongoing audit of the wage bill. Considering the below statutory allocation of a whooping N100 billion Mr. Yakowa received in the last two years in which there is so far nothing commensurate on the ground to justify the huge allocation, citizens of Kaduna are lamenting what the priorities of Yakowa are and how he intends to justify the heavy allocation at the end of his tenure. DESERT HERALD findings reveal that nearly fifty percent of the total allocation Mr. Yakowa received was claimed to be expended through security, a vote he is not expected to account for at the end of the day considering the ‘special’ circumstance that resulted in the unreasonable and highly insensitive expenditure. While insiders believe that Mr. Yakowa’s alleged health condition was the reason why he is not in full control of the government and seemingly too weak to control excesses by greedy government officials and to ensure prudence and accountability in the management of government resources particularly the resources of the 23 LGs, others believe that it is the ineptitude and compromising tendencies of the members of the Kaduna State House of Assembly including those members that belong to the CPC that failed the people insisting that if they are doing their work well and in the interest of the people, Mr. Yakowa will have no option than to perform and fight corruption. As it is according to a CPC member of the House of Assembly who preferred to be anonymous, 70 percent of the corruption in the current government is being organized and perpetrated at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House with Mr. Yakowa as the approving authority. “Considering what some in the executive are getting, it is sad that we at the House are compromising the interest of our people because of little gratification. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that none of us in the House including myself has the moral justification and courage to challenge the executive under Yakowa because the truth is we are all products of the failure of Yakowa. It is sad but that is the truth”, the House member revealed. Perhaps Mr. Yakowa may bring changes in the near future to correct the many ills that so far failed to provide commensurate democratic dividends to the people but if he continues with the same tempo he may end up making ‘history’ as the first Kaduna State governor from the southern part of the state but yet the worst governor so far in the history of the historic former capital of the northern region.