The crowds around some of the outgoing state governors are fast thinning out with only 12 days to their exit from office and the inauguration of their successors.
Eleven of the 36 states will have new helmsmen on May 29.
They are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Imo, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ogun, Oyo and Yobe.
Our correspondents reported yesterday from Yola, Owerri and Ilorin that the hustle and bustle characteristic of most government houses across the country has slowed down with the imminent change of guards.
But the situation is a bit different in Ibadan and Abeokuta where visitors still continue to besiege Governors Abiola Ajimobi and Ibikunle Amosun’s offices to see them.
Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State has come under severe criticism in the last few weeks over his appointment of Prof. Kenneth Adeyemi as acting vice chancellor of the State University (KWASU), Malete, two months to the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent, Prof Abdulrasheed Na’Allah.
Students and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution as well as the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) and the Governing Council of the university have all protested against the governor’s decision.
When the outgoing governor recently swore in two new Justices of the State High Court, Justices Olalekan Moses Adegbite and Hammed Aliyu Gegele, and two Kadis of the state Sharia Court of Appeal, Sharafu Hannafi and Abdulraheem Sayi, the ceremony went almost unnoticed.
Attendance was low and the pomp and ceremony that usually go with such events were missing.
My friends, associates intact, says Ahmed
But the Special Assistant to Governor Ahmed on media and communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede, denied that friends and associates had deserted his principal.
He said Ahmed’s closeness to his friends, associates and aides remains sacrosanct.
Besides, Akorede said the governor, cabinet and other aides are still working.
“His circle of friends also preceded his becoming governor and is still intact and strong,” he said.
He added: “Bear in mind that his friends also have their work and business which they need to attend to. So it’s untrue that Gov Ahmed’s friends and aides are thinning out.”
Okorocha’s allies switching camps
Many associates of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State are switching camps as he battles the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the release of his Certificate of Return in respect of the Imo West Senatorial election.
His camp believes he was betrayed by some of those he trusted during the last election.
Trouble started in the camp of the Imo governor shortly after he made open his decision to support his then Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as his successor against his Deputy, Eze Madumere.
Shortly after then, the disappointed Deputy Governor formed a formidable coalition known as the Imo Coalition against the governor with other close aides, including the then Secretary to the State Governor, Sir George Eche.
Thereafter, the camp of the governor continued to deplete, especially after his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), denied his choice candidate the governorship ticket and gave it to a new comer in the party, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
During the elections proper, some of those that pretended to still be with the governor sabotaged him and worked against his choice of successor, Nwosu, who eventually contested under the Action Alliance (AA).
Soon after the governorship election result was announced in favour of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Government House which used to be a beehive of activities began to be deserted.
Some of Okorocha’s supporters have allegedly confessed to diverting campaign funds given to them by the governor to work for the PDP, all in a bid to worm their way into the heart of the governor-elect.
The governor on Friday hosted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who commissioned many legacy projects executed by the Okorocha administration.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, said that Okorocha’s political family is still intact.
He described the reported defection of the governor’s loyalists and political associates as mere speculation.
He said: “There is no need for any of us – governor’s appointees- to leave now.
“Members of the Rescue Mission administration are like one big family and the governor, as the head of the family, has been nice to all of us. I can tell you that we are still intact and there is no cause for alarm.”
In a separate interview,the media aide to the governor-elect, Mr. Chibuike Onyeukwu, said that the influx of people into the camp of Ihedioha was on account of his promise to run a people-oriented government.
“Naturally, people are responding to the people-oriented government promised by the governor-elect. It is a celebrated mandate and the job of rebuilding Imo is a collective responsibility.
“So I will say that these reasons informed the influx of people into the team of the governor-elect,” he said.
Bindow in the cold as Fintiri moves steadily into power
The Government House in Yola tells the story of a departing Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow in a most striking manner.
The Government House, situated around the GRA in Jimeta, Yola North Local Government Area, from the main gate through the snaky pathway to the offices and halls, was an embodiment of the man, Bindow.
Signposts were erected and banners hung everywhere, especially in the months and weeks to the governorship election in March, about the governor who was seeking a return to power.
The scene changed quickly, however, on March 29 when Hon Umaru Fintiri, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared winner.
That March 29 morning, some youths stormed the streets, tearing down as many campaign billboards and banners of Bindow as they could reach, including those near the expansive main gate of the Government House.
A drive through the Government House Wednesday afternoon showed a seat of power already departed by the man of power.
Gate security personnel who would hitherto not let you in till after countless questions and screening of identity cards now allow you through with hardly a question asked.
This would be because although Bindow remains governor till May 29, he is rarely in Government House these days.
Inside the place, the large and small portraits of Bindow that used to take up almost every available space were almost all gone.
At his residence some five minutes’ drive from the Government House, the picture is almost the same. Security presence is sparse compared to when Bindow oozed power.
Visitors to the residence, as is the case with Government House where he has his office, have become few and far between.
“Visitors have narrowed down to officers of the government whose responsibilities require close association with him, as well as friends and associates who have always been close to him,” a source with knowledge of happenings around the governor confided in our correspondent.
The source added, however, that this should be expected, explaining, “Bindow has less than a month to go. So, what do you think should happen? He is preparing to give the reins of authority to another person. Interests have merely now shifted to this other person, the new man, the next governor.”
And that is exactly what has happened. The new man, the governor-elect, Umaru Fintiri, is the man everyone now goes to.
His house in Legislative Quarters, Malamre, and his temporary office at the Atiku Abubakar Support Group building on Atiku Abubakar Way, both in Jimeta, have become the places to go by people with eyes to gains of all kinds in the governance of the state from May 29.
His media aide, Solomon Kumanga, admitted yesterday that there was pressure. But he said the governor-elect was up to it.
The media aide told The Nation that Fintiri was “taking the pressure in his stride” as he is aware that so much is expected of him to make things work.
“He is firming up on ways to implement his 11-point agenda to achieve maximum success for the dear people of Adamawa State,” Solomon added.
Fintiri, who made inclusive governance a campaign issue, is believed to have kept faith with it after his victory in the governorship election, and is said to be considering the different political interests in the state for inclusion in his cabinet.
Among the political blocs he plans to include and representatives of who form a huge chunk of people who currently frequent his residence and office are the Nyako bloc, the Atiku Abubakar Group and the Bamanga Tukur Front. All the blocs contributed to his success directly or indirectly.
From the Nyako bloc came Sen Abdulaziz Nyako who was the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and came third in the March 2019 governorship election after successfully splitting the votes that should have gone to Bindow’s APC from where Abdulaziz left into the ADC in the countdown to the election.
Abdulaziz was one of the first to congratulate Fintiri after Fintiri’s victory. Besides, Abdulaziz is the son of Murtala Nyako, a former governor of the state who still wields much influence and whose support will matter to Fintiri.
The presidential candidate of the PDP in the April presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, is a political colossus in the state and in the political camp to which Fintiri belongs and from which Fintiri benefitted in the course of his quest for election.
So, representatives of Atiku’s bloc are among those to be seen milling around Fintiri as May 29 beckons.
The former national chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur, played no apparent part in Fintiri’s electoral success, but he remains a strong political force and a political father and mentor to Fintiri whose people can expect considerations from him.
Business as usual at Govt House, Ibadan
Despite losing in the Oyo South Senatorial election and his party losing in the governorship election, crowds of people are still scrambling to see outgoing Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
From morning till evening on any day of the week that the governor is in the office, crowds of people including members of groups and associations, religious leaders, politicians and contractors, still throng the Governor’s Office to discuss, expectedly, issues, projects and politics.
It is believed that some of them are meeting with the outgoing governor to conclude ongoing projects, issues and other leadership matters which are time-bound.
At press time, the governor in his capacity as the Chief Executive still played host to people from all walks of life.
Ajimobi said during the week that his tenure expires at midnight on May 28 and he has no plan to abandon his duties and responsibilities before then.
Since the commencement of the Ramadan, the governor has continued to host fellow Muslim faithful from all walks of life.
Sometimes, he works late into the night in the office along with members of the State Executive Council.
The Ikolaba, Ibadan residence of the governor-elect, Mr.Seyi Makinde, is also besieged daily by people seeking one form of favour or the other.
When asked, his spokesman, Prince Dotun Oyelade, said: “The Governor-elect is no stranger to crowd upsurge and its physical and psychological management.
“I think it was John F. Kennedy who said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. That summarizes the issue.
“Seyi Makinde can sift the chaff from the wheat. And while he respects and appreciates those new faces of millions around him now, he’s well aware that the journey didn’t just start now.
“He is well prepared for the future and he is not overly excited about the enthusiastic crowd.
“He is far more sober and reflective about fulfilling the desires of the massage, and he will by the Grace of God.”
Amosun’s mansion too
The First Avenue, Government Reservation Area, Abeokuta mansion of outgoing Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State also keeps hosting guests day and night.
Cars are parked on the street and adjoining ones as guests take turns to see the governor.
That has been the case since about 18 months ago when the structure made an audacious intrusion into that part of the Ogun State capital once cherished for its serenity and innocence.
In the same vein, the Iperu home of the Governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has become a beehive of activities as visitors troop in now and then to see the incoming governor.
A former governor of the state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, visited Abiodun yesterday for discussion ahead of the May 29 inauguration of the new helmsman.
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