Wada and hurdles of second term


Kogi State governor, Idris Wada

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, will have to contend not with one, but three major hurdles in the race for a second term tenure in the election scheduled for November 21, 2015.

Crucial among the hurdles the governor has to surmount before the election is the one mounted by in-house critics of his administration who are basically members of his PDP who do not want a second coming for the incumbent.

The governor will need to put in more efforts as the state chapter of the party prepares for its primaries scheduled for between August 25 and September 15, to retain the party’s governorship ticket.

He will also need to outwit the marching force of the rival All Progressives Congress (APC), which defeated his party in the last general elections.

It is also crucial to the incumbent and the PDP, to go the extra mile, to endear themselves to the people of Kogi, whose votes will ultimately determine which party and who wins the next governorship race in the state.

While some members of the PDP in the state are bent on not having Wada back as the flag bearer of the party, principal among who is Jibrin Isah, a.k.a Echocho, who has been criticizing the government in the media, Wada’s supporters are sure of victory based on the various achievements of the administration in the last three years.

From the inception of his administration in 2012, after winning the PDP’s ticket and eventually winning the governorship election, Wada has contended with allegations of various shades from rival parties and even members of his party.

While some governments would have relied on counter claims and aggressive propaganda, as ways of boosting their public profiles, Wada has remained relatively quiet about his many obstacles, chief among which was paucity of funds.

Kogi ranks among the states getting some of the least allocations from the Federation Account, its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is low and it has an over bloated work force, which sucks a considerable chunk of funds accruable to the state.

At the same time, Federal Allocation dwindled in the face of dropping price of crude oil in the international market and the massive oil theft in the last few years but Wada’s administration is among the few states that have been consistent in the payment of workers salaries despite the depleted purse.

Latching on the government’s lackadaisical attitude to mingling politicking with governance and lackluster posturing of his handlers to media campaigns that would have projected his modest achievements, opposition has easily discredited Wada as an underperformed governor ahead of the election.

For instance Isah has been relentless in vilifying Wada. He claims a hold on power in the party due to the annulled primary elections in 2011. This was due to the Supreme Court judgment on the tenure of former governor Ibrahim Idris.

But despite the bulk of negative perspective and the threat posed by the APC to the Wada-led government, the assurances among people in the governor’s camp are that the massive structure of the PDP and the achievements of the administration are enough to make the incumbent win the polls.

One of the media aides of the governor, Ralph Agbana argued that the victory recorded by the APC during the 2015 presidential election is no criteria to measure the governor’s chances of winning the forthcoming election.

He also attributed the media attacks on the governor to what he tagged as “deliberate effort to call a dog a bad name just to hang it,” by those having their eyes on the governor’s seat and their agents.

Agbana said, “It is sad that we live in a society where people live in some fool’s paradise thinking that they can misinform the public and sell to them a bad product using propaganda.

“The PDP government is people-oriented and more credible than the APC because the ruling party parades crops of grassroots politicians that would assure electoral victory.”

He said that Wada has no doubt made the difference in governance and that as governor, “he introduced a scientific approach tailored towards creating the environment for unlocking the natural and human potentials of the state.

“The governor’s finesse and prudent use of resources are clear departure from the norm where money is shared to thugs, rather, the governor invests in positive youth development and this is one of the reasons behind the dislike and the smear campaign to run him down and bring about a government that would dispense state funds into unproductive venture.”

Also dismissing arguments that Wada is a non-performer, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Mike Abu noted that even with the numerous challenges the governor met on assumption of office, there are records of good performance attributable to his government.

According to him, “The governor’s desire for quality in the execution of projects led to the putting in place of a vigorous procurement process that have prevented contract award to unqualified contractors and for political patronage.”

Placing the interest of the state and the citizens above some cabals, it was discovered that another factor the incumbent is at logger heads with some persons is that realising the nature of revenue accruing to the state, Wada made the payment of salaries a priority.

According to Abu, averagely the state receives between N3.5billion to N3.7billion as allocation since Wada took over power in 2012 whereas the wage bill of the state is put at N3.2billion, which leaves the government with a little above N200million to run the state after salaries have been paid.

“Teachers in the state are about 33,000 and the wage bill is N1.3bn. Similarly, the total staff strength of the entire Kogi local council workers stands at 26, 542 as at the end of March and the expected monthly wage bill needed to offset the workers’ salaries about N1.6bn.”

He added that as part of its developmental stride, the Wada administration has since committed remaining funds to the completion of inherited projects, specifically the completed payment for the Greater Lokoja Water Project, the Confluence Stadium, the phase two of the State Secretariat, Confluence Beach Hotels and several road projects inherited from the former governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris.

“For record, the Wada administration has so far completed 58 road projects across the state and others are still on going,” he noted.

Although many PDP members in Kogi have shown interest in the governor’s position, the group of elders in the party has thrown their weight behind the governor, assuring him of their support.

One of the arguments put up by the elders is that “there is no need changing a winning team. Wada should be allowed to complete the lofty programmes he started. It is not also at this time that we should start experimenting with the rival APC.”

On the premise that the former governor of the state, Prince Abubakar Audu, is the best the rival party could fix against Wada, Abu declared, “Audu stands no chance in Kogi for now.”

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