The recent pronouncement of Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to halt the appointment of commissioners for now, shocked those who fear the decision hamper the smooth running of government.
On Thursday, July 4, 2019, the Governor wrote the State House of Assembly requesting for appointment deferment of commissioners in favour of senior special advisers and special advisers.
It was learnt that the Governor settled for the appointment of his kitchen cabinet, having considered the economic reality in the state. The state of Ogun economy requires careful management of resources. This dawned on him after he settled down to peruse the books; in order top manage the resources.
Recall that just two days after he resumed office, he said he took a loan of N7b to pay workers’ May salary and other financial obligations of the state, which still fell short of N9.1 state monthly wage bill as claimed by immediate past governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
Though the Governor hinged his decision on the poor resources of the state, both the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and the lack of sustainability in borrowing to finance recurrent expenditure, but The Guardian check showed there could be more to it than just the parlous state of finance.
It was learnt from impeccable sources within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state that one of the Governor’s unexpressed decision for the deferment was not unconnected to advise of a chieftain of the party, who counseled him to adopt ‘Aregbesola style’ of Osun State, where the state was operated without commissioners for years.
Recall that for two years, during Aregbesola’s first term in office, he failed to appoint commissioners. The ministries were controlled by special advisers and permanent secretaries, a system that reportedly affected good governance negatively.
“He is surely using Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s formula for Osun during Aregbesola’s tenure. Even now, since the new governor, Oyetola came on board in 2018; the state has not appointed any commissioner. With that kind of scenario, no development should be expected.
“Most of our present political office holders in Ogun State don’t have any clue on how to run government. They want to run it like private business and they’ll fail at the end. The case with Abiodun is that he has too many advisers-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Tinubu, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and a retinue of others. To me, these advisers are all failures in governance,” the source said.
Another reason, according to findings from reliable sources is that the Governor is currently in a dilemma with the list of candidates before him.
Findings showed that the commissioners’ list on ground, comprising his candidates and those from Osinbajo, Tinubu, Osoba, Senator Solomon Adeola (Yayi) and other chieftains of the party, is far beyond the existing number of ministries in the state.
“Currently, there are 18 ministries, but two new ones are being carved out to make it 20. The list we have on ground now, submitted by stakeholders who contributed immensely to the Governor’s emergence in the face of stiff opposition during the primaries and general elections is enormous.
“Though, we may not rule out the issue of finance, but the Governor is treading cautiously pertaining to the list, to avoid whatever may lead to acrimony between him and his benefactors,” the source said.
Another source who confirmed the development to The Guardian cited the case of Ewekoro Local Government, where names of two nominees have already been submitted and ‘confirmed’, contrary to the rule of one candidate per council area.
“The names were submitted by two different chieftains of the party from the area and both have been assured of appointment. So, how do we expect the Governor to do it? He needs to tread cautiously in this early period of his administration, to avoid pitfalls.”
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele, who confirmed the development, said the Governor is no doubt in a confused state.
“It is just kind of unfortunate that Dapo Abiodun emerged as the Governor without any plan. His blueprint is not even clear. On the issue of commissioners, he is in a confused state. There are two many masters for him, I don’t know how he is going to manage to serve all the masters, let’s just keep our fingers crossed.
“It is very unfortunate that a replica of what is happening in Lagos State where someone directs the affairs of the state is happening here. We don’t have someone who is willing to be responsive to the yearning of the people of the state; no doubt he will just be taking instructions from Lagos State, that’s just the fear of the people of the state.”
In his reaction to the development, the state APC Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye, told The Guardian that the party trusts the judgment of the Governor and believes that his decision, at the end of the day, will be in the interest of the people and the state.
Oladunjoye said the deferment would not in any way affect governance.” The rot the Governor met on ground is actually the reason for the delay. For example, I will urge you to visit the commissioners’ lodge, the legislative quarters and even the offices. You will wonder if pigs just left those places. Some even went with the air conditioners. All the over 1,000 armless dinning seats we used for meetings at the MITROS Hall have disappeared.
“You don’t just appoint people, you must place them in a conducive environment that will boost morale and increase output. All those quarters are not habitable for human beings presently.”
He said in a situation like this, speculation, rumour-mongering and even blackmail cannot be ruled out, noting that the Governor is clear-headed and very cerebral.
“The fact that the Governor just appointed Senior Special Advisers, Chief Economic Adviser, Special Advisers, and Special Assistant, shows that there is no confusion. What the Governor has promised is an all inclusive government and that is what you can see, even from the latest appointments,” he said.