It is high time the Governor of Benue state, Hyacinth Alia started springing surprises rather than the very low start in terms of rating. This is because there is nothing to celebrate yet, judging from the massive support our Governor enjoyed before, during and after election, even to the point of swearing-in.
Governors in some states of the country have started springing surprises by going beyond even those things they promised during the campaigns. But here, our own is struggling to fulfill little of what he said he would do, leaving the people highly disappointed with their high hopes getting dashed gradually.
His Taraba State counterpart, Governor Agbu Kefas has swung into action by slashing tuition fees for students of the Taraba State University by 50 per cent. This is in addition to the declaration of free education at the primary and secondary school level in Taraba State. He has equally, within this short period, reduced the number of ministries in the state from 25 to 16. What more do you need to say than affirming that he has started on a very sound footing?
In Borno State, Governor Zulum has acquired mass transit buses to convey farmers to and fro the farms to mitigate the effect of the fuel subsidy removal. He is being celebrated today not because he fought his predecessor, Senator Kashim Shetima, now the Vice President of Nigeria.
It is unfortunate that in Benue State, immediately after inauguration, our Governor, a Reverend Father from whom his colleagues should be copying surprises, is busy fighting unnecessary battles and expecting to be celebrated. He is openly fighting his major benefactor, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume and the entire APC structure in the state. He is busy fighting his predecessor. He is busy with witch-hunting in the guise of probing, instead of working to put smiles on the faces of Benue people.
Screening and identifying ghost workers is a noble thing to do. But he is hasty in doing that. He is supposed to be diligent in doing that so that he could identify genuine ghost workers and their owners. He could even do that after springing surprises and without making too much noise about it.
I was shocked to bone marrows when I learnt that a grand reception was organised in honour of our Governor by Kunav Development Association, KUDA and it was strictly a Kunav affair – no party officials to flank the Governor in such an event, his deputy was not there and so on. This is the first in the history of Benue State for a sitting Governor. It would have been better for KUDA to have an indoor meeting with their son and not call it a grand reception.
I heard an additional one month salary has been paid to the same category of civil servants that were paid initially. So what is the sin of those from the local government, Teaching Service Board, TSB, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB among others? Or are they to watch as their colleagues receive alerts and then they drink water while their counterparts eat?
Did Benue people get it right by accepting to be misled into giving Alia their mandate? Only time will tell. We pray to be alive to see the end of this brand of governance in Benue.
Jimin Geoffrey observes from Makurdi.