SPOTLIGHT: Otti, Yusuf, the two Nigerian Governors Igniting Hope in Abia, Kano

Since the commencement of the new political dispensation, Nigerians have continued to heave a sigh of relief as former political actors exited the scene. Democratic power, they say, is a transient commodity, and when politicians have it, they must use it for the public good. Residents of Kano and Abia States have clearly defined the destinies of their respective states in the next four years.

Prior to the election of, Mr. Abba Yusuf Kabir and Mr. Alex Otti, the opposition candidates for the governorship elections in Kano and Abia, had ran in the previous governorship elections in their states in 2019 and lost due to the nefarious activities of mandate looters, who were unable to repeat same feat in 2023 due to the strong resilience of the people, reignited by the political awakening of the Obidient Movement and other politically conscious Nigerians.

We have observed how citizens of these states supported Governor Otti and Governor Abba during the elections, when political hyenas nearly hijacked their mandates. In Abia, residents protested in front of the INEC office in Umuahia for days when the power brokers wanted to use Obingwa Local Government to rig the elections in the state. In Kano State, residents in their thousands marched to the INEC office in Kano to protest the delay in the announcement of the governorship results when rumours were rife that Ganduje was planning to make the polls inconclusive.

Today, the good people of Kano and Abia states are reaping the fruits of their labour, as their governors have hit the ground running a few days after their inauguration.

In Abia, Alex Otti has met with various heads of security agencies and tasked them to secure Abia in tandem with his electoral pledge.

Alex Otti and his deputy, in a meeting with security Chiefs

The new governor has also met with the permanent secretaries of various ministries in the Abia State Civil Service and reminded them that, as the engine room of government, they must conduct the activities of government in a transparent manner, away from the past. This also afforded the top civil servants the opportunity to exchange ideas with the governor on his new Abia Project.

In the same vein, without delay, the People’s Governor has appointed eminently qualified political aides to help drive his developmental agenda. Professor Kenneth Kalu as Secretary to the Government; Dr Caleb Ajagba, Chief of Staff to the Governor; Dr Ngozi Okonkwo, Special Adviser Health Care Delivery Services; Ferdinard Ekeoma, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor; Mrs Njum Onyemenam, Accountant General; and Mr Ogbonnia Okereke, Head, Special Task Force on Emergency Cleanup of Aba and Umuahia.

Governor Alex Otti has also declared an emergency on the clean-up of Aba and Umuahia, the state capital. He said, “Today, I supervised the clean-up exercise for Aba and Umuahia. I wish to thank those working pro bono to ensure our towns are clean and all who braved the rain to give effect to the directives we gave two days ago.

The governor has also halted the collection of levies paid by transporters to the Abia state government until the government comes up with a sustainable means of collection. In a tweeter post, the governor opined, “In line with my campaign promise to sanitize methods of revenue collection in Abia and stop all kinds of extortion, intimidation, and harassment of motorists, I have directed the immediate suspension of all kinds of transport levies payable to the Abia state government and imposed on tricycles, buses, taxis, and other commercial vehicles plying Abia roads.

This suspension takes immediate effect and will remain until we review these levies and make public arrangements for the smooth, organized, and transparent collection of such transportation levies. In the light of the above decision, I have asked all those involved, directly and indirectly, to please discontinue forthwith or face the wrath of the law, as security agents have been briefed and directed to apprehend and bring to justice anyone found violating this directive.”

In Kano State, the story is not different.

In his inaugural speech on May 29, Governor Abba Yusuf of Kano called on the security agencies to help rescue Mr Dadiyata, a Kwankwansiyya supporter who has been missing for years.

He said, “Earlier, in my inaugural address, I stated that we cannot forget the case of our respected member and supporter, Abubakar Dadiyata, who was whisked away in broad daylight by unknown elements more than three years ago. The Kano State Government will take up his case with all relevant security agencies in the country so as to rescue him and bring those responsible to justice.”

The governor has also revoked all public properties and lands sold by Ganduje’s administration to friends and cronies and ordered security agencies in the state to take over such properties. “In line with our transition advisory, I am announcing today that all public places and assets that were immorally plundered and sold by the Ganduje administration should be taken over by law enforcement agencies pending the final decision of the government.

We have noted that the last administration sold lands in and around schools, religious and cultural sites, hospitals and clinics, graveyards and green areas, and along the city walls of Kano. We have also noted that they indiscriminately sold numerous other landed properties and assets belonging to the Kano State Government within and outside the state to their cronies and agents”. Governor Abba tweeted.

Additionally, Governor Abba has been to the Kiru Reformatory School, which the previous administration closed, and has assured the locals that it will reopen as soon as possible for the purpose of treating drug addicts. The governor has also formed a special task force to combat the incessant snatching of phones, especially in Kano Municipal. This task force comprises teams from law enforcement agencies and mobile courts that would work together to clear our streets of these criminals and bring all of them to justice swiftly, the governor tweeted.

To arrest the malicious menace of unemployment and its problems in Kano, the governor has also directed the reopening of 26 entrepreneurship institutes in the state that were established by the administration of Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso. The governor tweeted, “I also direct that all the 26 Entrepreneurship Institutes that were established by the Sen. Kwankwaso Administration with the mandate of equipping our youth and women with soft and hard skills in different fields of endeavor, and which were closed down and abandoned by the previous administration, are hereby reopened. Enrollment into these institutions will begin as soon as the necessary provisions are made.”

The governor has also paid an on-the-spot assessment of the Challawa water treatment plant to assess its current state. Afterwards, he immediately set up an intervention committee to look into the plant’s condition and revive it for the provision of portable water to the public.

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Abba Yusuf and his team inspecting the Challawa water treatment plant

Abba’s momentous start to governance was on display yesterday when he visited the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital with a view to upgrading it for the betterment of Kano residents. In a tweet, monitored by Parallel Facts on his Twitter handle, the governor stated, “Today, I paid an on-the-spot assessment visit to the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital, which is a very important institution for the provision of healthcare to the general public in Kano. The situation I found the hospital in encapsulates the need for a comprehensive intervention into our dear state’s healthcare system.”

The new governors of Kano and Abia states, Abba Yusuf and Alex Otti, have both hit the ground running in their first few days in office. Yusuf has revoked public properties and lands sold by the previous administration, while Otti has declared an emergency on the clean-up of Aba and Umuahia. Both governors have also met with various heads of security agencies and permanent secretaries and have appointed eminently qualified political aides to help drive their developmental agenda.

It is still too early to say whether these new governors will be successful in their efforts to improve the lives of their people. However, their early actions suggest that they are committed to making a difference.