Transition: Gov. Otti And Others Hit The Ground Running, Confronted By Return Of Long Queues At Filling Stations  

By Elizabeth Chukwuma And Suleiman Umaru

 Barely 24 , hours after Alex Otti, the Labour Party, LP, governor-elect and  former Managing Director  of Diamond Bank, which has been acquired by Access Bank,  was sworn in by Justice  Lilian Abai, the Abia Chief Judge as the governor of the state, on May 29, 2023, as the state governor, the former banker appears to have hit the ground running.

The Abia state governor could hit the ground running because of the caliber of people, named to serve in the Transition Committee which include professionals, technocrats in business, economists and   entrepreneurs, who had distinguished themselves in their various fields of endeavor, inkling politicians, who have made a mark in the state and at the Federal level. One of the Transition Committee members was Ifueko Okaru, former Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS. Another of such distinguished technocrats that made the list was Arunma Orteh, a former Director General, Security and Exchange Commission, SEC.The Transition Committee members were said to have drawn a road- map for governor Otti which he has followed from day one.

Otti, whose  swearing in ceremony was said to have been attended by Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and immediate past   minister of Transportation during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration and Muhammadu    Sanusi, immediate governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and was said to have frozen all  accounts of  the state government  as well as  those of the agencies   domiciled  in every bank  and Financial Institution  within and outside state.

The new Abia state governor  may have taken the bold initiative to avoid last minute withdraws from the accounts  by officials of the  ministries and the  agencies and Parastatals , Chief Executive Officers, CEO.  He did not stop there. Given his experience as a banker, he was said to have equally directed the banks and the Financial Institutions ‘’to seize from honouring any cheque, document, instrument or directive of any kind not expressly approved by or emanating from him’’.

This may have thrown some of the political appointees who had served under the Okezie Ipkeazu Administration into a state of confusion who had expected to make the last minute payments to contractors for jobs done as they could not have access to their ministry, agencies or parastatals accounts.

  Otti, who is determined to succeed, and implement his electioneering Campaign promises to the later was said to have also dissolved the Board of the state government agencies and parastatals . He was said to have giving a matching order to the CEOs, of the agencies and parastatals  to immediately hand over  to those next to them in position in office until a substantive  CEO, would be appointed for such Organisations.

The tough talking Otti,  may have won the heart of the Abia state government  Civil servants,  when he gave his words that  ‘’all civil servants  and retirees  in the state  shall from the month of May,  earn their Legitimate  entitlements  as and when due’’, noting that’’ the state civil  service shall run differently  under his Administration’’.

He may have given an insight to what his Administration intends to do when he disclosed of  the new government plans  ‘’to reform the civil service in the state  that would help in prioritsing  the workforce  for efficiency  and professionalism  as obtained in the private sector. He had said that only those who demonstrate requisite intelligence in the discharge of their duties shall remain in the service, meaning that heads will roll .

The Abia governor, who could not hide his feelings has said that part of the measures to reform the civil service  is to  ensure that  the civil servants embrace technology that could assist  the state employees, including himself, the state governor  ‘’to work from  anywhere  to achieve  operational  efficiency  and enhanced productivity ‘’.

 He noted that .the technology would also help ‘’to unmask the ghost workers in the state civil service’’, and further ‘’ determine those who are genuinely employed and those who are actively stealing from the public treasury’’. He may have sent a message to the civil servants  in the state that ‘’there shall be  no room  for corrupt practices ‘’, stating that  that the full weight of the Law  shall be  employed  in tackling  all cases  of indiscipline  or any act  that  would bring the state civil  service  into disrepute   

The governor who had frowned at the distinction between the so-called core and non-core civil servants, had said that there was no basis for it in the state. He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that that the Abia civil service shall run differently under his Administration compared to previous Administrations in the state.  His decision to run a different civil service compared that of his predecessors may have put fears on the old school civil servants in the state who are not used to change. He was said to have made some key appointments into the kitchen Cabinet who are currently helping him at this early stage in reshaping the Administration.  He was said to have appointed Prof. Kenneth Kalu, as the Secretary to the state government and +Caleb Ajagba as his Chief of Staff, CAS, while  Ferdinand Ekeoma  was appointed  as the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity.

Gov. Aliyu of Sokoto State

  Governor Otti, may have strictly the roadmap developed by his Transition Committee, for his Administration to hit the ground running in the state, but that could not be said of Ahmed Aliyu, the All Progressive governor of Sokoto state, who is out to destroy the Legacies   of Aminu Tambuwal, a  former Speaker of House of Representatives and immediate past governor of the state, on the platform of the Opposition People Democratic Party, PDP.

 This is evident going by the major reversal of the major decisions that was said to have been taken by the Tambuwal Administration within the last eight years.  One of the major decisions of the erstwhile governor that was said to have been reversed by governor Aliyu, was all the recent appointments   made by the former Sokoto state governor into the state civil service

After March 19, 2023.

He was said’’ to have nullified  the renaming  of tertiary institutions  in the state   and other appointments related to their Governing Board  and their relocations by the previous Administration in the state, directing  that  all such institutions  are to revert  to their formernames and locations.

Many believe that what the APC, governor of Sokoto state, has done in the last 48 hours, is to give the people an insight into the running of his Administration that he is out to settle scores with the former governor Tambuwal  of the PDP and erase his legacies in the State.

Uba: Gov. Of Kaduna State

In Kaduna,  Senator Uba Sani, may have seen his Administration as a continuation of that of Malam Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and Immediate past governor of the state as he was said to have virtually retained all the former members of his kitchen Cabinet   to assist in the smooth take-off of the  new Administration.  

Although, he has made some new appointments , describing them as competent  hands  and knowledgeable  people to assist the new Administration  deliver  on its electioneering Campaign promises,   he had said that’’ the good people of the state  expected  results  from them , hence they must hit the ground running’’.

While he governors are concerned in setting up structures for their government, they are being confronted with the return of long queues  in filling stations  following the decision of President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed decision to stop payment of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol, on May 29, 2023.

 Vive Kashim Shettima, who incidentally was a former governor of the north eastern state of Borno, and who has assumed office, had said that there was no going back on the policy,  affirming ‘’ the  commitment of theTinubu’s  Administration  on  the removal of the fuel subsidy’’.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, baptized, Nigerian NNational Petroleum Company Limed, NNPCL, with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by the National Assembly in August 2021, which had been signed into Law by the former Katsina state born Nigerian President in in August 2021, has upported the subsidy removal.

 Even the House of Representatives under the outgoing Leadership of Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday, May 30, 2021,   hadbacked the Nigerian President’s action   to end fuel s subsidy payment.  The House was said to have asked the incumbent Nigerian President ‘’to channel  the free funds  that could have  been used to subsize fuel importation into the country but now saved into  the  development of basic  infrastructural facilities  across the country and other areas  to further strengthen the economy.

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