Dr Yero, the youngest governor among governors, at 44, was sworn in on 15th December, 2012, according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, just 24 hours when his predecessor late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa died in a Nigerian Navy helicopter in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Yero’s first duty in office was an onerous one, that of ensuring the state burial of his predecessor in addition to receiving condolence visits and messages from Nigerians, from President, Vice President, Governors, traditional and religious leaders, among others. Just after that, Yero was faced with the odd job of choosing his deputy. The reaction of the people was, simply put, polarised, as the various names peddled around, including that of the wife of late governor, Dame Amina Yakowa, did not go down well, especially with the people of South Senatorial District. It was like a pent up situation, bottled and waiting to explode. And indeed, it did explode with what was perceived as delay in the appointment of his personal staff. The delay in the appointment of the new Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Ishaq Hamza Danmahawai, the Principal Private Secretary (PPS) Aliyu Samaila, Chief of Staff (COF) Yahaya Aminu Abdullahi, Special Adviser (Political) Madami Garba Madami and Director General (Media & Publicity) Ahmed Maiyaki, no doubt drew the ire of the people, just as the case of choosing deputy governor.
To buttress their argument against the slow speed of the administration of Governor Yero, who was drafted into civil service from the outfit of his mentor, Nalado group, to finance commissioner under former governor now Vice President Namadi Sambo, observers of government administration contented that if for more than three months the state executive council was still not dissolved, then the state is in for a go-slow government under Yero.
The iron curtain over the new list of appointees gave credence to critics of his slow pace that the Yero/Sambo team are up to something against those who Yero said snubbed him when he was appointed deputy governor from finance commissioner. It could also be seen that the slow pace does not bother the chief executive and his political mentor as it is time for them to take their pound of flesh, albeit politically against their perceived opponents/enemies, imaginary or real.
It was reliably gathered that Governor Yero’s visit to Abuja recently for the launching of appeal fund was a smokescreen to enable the duo screen the list of new state executive council appointees. Concerned observers are of the view that both the governor and the vice president now have the state in their pockets and can afford to go to sleep, especially as former governor, now Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi has decided not to meddle in the affairs of the state. Senator Makarfi was conspicuously missing during the PDP caucus meeting of the state and other meetings, for reasons yet to be identified.
Before he passed on, in the middle of December 2012, late governor Yakowa, as if by premonition, flagged off the rehabilitation of 30 road projects in the state, just as he presented a budget of consolidation. But today the people are worried with the pace of the projects. Callers on radio morning programme complained bitterly about the red dust pollution from the abandoned projects by the contractors. What worries Kaduna residents mostly, they say, is the fast coming rainy season which is seen as early warning sign to impending flood disaster. One of the callers vehemently argued that since the state council executive is still in office, work should go on. ‘There is no reason to suffer people with such a slow type of government. Since the commissioners are still in office work must continue, even if they are dissolved, the permanent secretaries should take over so that there is no vacuum,’ the caller said.
A peep into the economy shows that it is a dull moment, that however seems to be a general phenominon in the northern region, apparently occasioned by the insurgency. Traders are recording low business at various markets, where traders, including foodstuff sellers, which normally attract large patronage, wore long faces due to poor sales. A trader who will not want his name mentioned , said he is not finding the situation funny. According to him, January this year is worse than the past years, adding, ‘government should do its duty so that business and economy can move forward. The government is too slow. The governor and his deputy are a blend of young and old so we expect some tangible action to enable us in business contribute our quota to the growth of the economy. For Alhaji Dalhatu Sani, ‘business is dull. No money. Nobody is buying anything. We hardly make sales. You can see every where is dry.’ A female dealer in assorted goods said the educated ones who we voted into office, should perform well, when reminded that the governor and his deputy are professional accountants, she said, ‘But this is politics and governance, so it should affect the people who are the voters. That is what we want. They (Yero/Bajoga) should wake up. As they are new in politics their godfathers should teach them on good and effective governance. Time is flying.’
From the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the new Director General Media and Publicity, Abdullahi Ahmed Maiyaki, is already up arms in the war to woo the media by conveying the message of Governor Yero to the media in considering the interest of the state first above any other interest in the course of their duty. Yero appealed, ‘While this government will work assiduously to meet the yearnings and expectations of the people, we will indeed need your sincere cooperation to achieve this. He is committed to partner with the media to successfully execute the great tasks before him.
Political Chances in 2015
Governor Yero’s chances in the 2015 election should he decide to contest will be dependent on so many factors, first whether or not he will get the support of the southern Kaduna people is a puzzle that can yet be answered, considering how a set of the people from that area vehemently opposed the appointment of his deputy Ambassador Nuhu Bajogha which he went ahead to appoint. Secondly, the fact that the former governor of the state Senator Ahmed Makarfi who by every standard is a force to reckon with seems to have fallen apart from their caucus for reasons yet to be unravel is another issue, then the General Muhammed Buhari’s factor in the state and the possible merger of ANPP, ACN and CPC will also be another issue to look out for.
Meanwhile, considering Governor Yero’s wealth of experience in the state, as a Finance Commissioner, Deputy Governor and now Governor, it is obvious that he knows how to play his cards in such a way that will guarantee him and easy sail through come 2015. Again, with his recent demonstration of togetherness with the people of the southern Kaduna people, there is the likely hood that they may have a change of mind and give him their support should he decide to run. However, this again will largely depend on the calibre of the people from that area that will his cabinet if they are eventually dissolved before the election time.
It was however reliably gathered that Governor Yero’s inability to dissolve the state Executive council three months after was primarily for political reasons, many are of the view that he is still studying the situation, others said dissolving them now might have a devastating effect on his political ambition should he decide to contest in 2015.
Others said he is taking his time to first and foremost woo back the aggrieved persons who have either left the PDP or have plans to do so, or those who though are still in the party but have or are showing some non challant attitudes in the government affairs.
Notable Achievements Within The Days Under Review
It is however necessary to put on record that the past barely hundred days of governor Yero has lived up to his words of continuing with the laudable projects of his late boss. Notably within the days under review, the governor in his bid to sustain the security of the state has purchased and distributed 40 brand new hilux? for the state joint security task force code named ‘operation Yaki’ and ordered that the old ones be refurbished and given to the divisional police stations. In the education sector, as away of boosting the standard of education in the state, education summit were held at the state level and in all of the Senatorial districts where issues that will improve upon the sector were looked into.
Sharing in the plight of those that were affected in the last post election crisis, affected victims where assisted with various sums, he has also visited areas that have had one crisis or the other, worthy of mention is the Birnin Gwari killings, Aduwan village in Southern Kaduna and most recently the fire incidence that claimed five lives in Kakuri and another one in first Baptist church. He has made it a point of duty to first with unpleasant situation in order to identify with them in times of their needs.
On assumption of office, he held a meeting with the entire civil servants and listened to their plights, an action that gave the civil servants a ray of hope and sense of belonging.
Very recently, the governor announced that as part of efforts to reduce youth restiveness occasioned largely by the lack of what to do, that not fewer that 6,000 jobs will be created across the 23 local government areas of the state for youth and women under the SURE-P.
Meanwhile, 700 tricycles, 40 brand new Nissan taxis, 15 luxurious buses, 40 hiax buses have been purchased for onward distribution, and according to the Director General Ahmed Mayaki, all these are aimed at improving the transport system in the state.
He also confirmed that the Kaduna State Work Agency (KAPWA) is working relentlessly to patch most of the affected roads in the state while work has resumed on the projects already awarded following the recent passage of the budget into law. This is just as he said 59.9 percent are for capital projects meant to improve on critical infrastructure in the state.
?By and large, if all these achievements can be maintained and sustained, and where possible improved upon, his chances of crossing the hurdle come 2015, should he decide to contest are bright, however, not undermining certain political gladiators in the state and putting into consideration the wishes of the masses.