Governors leaving office: Legacies, failures

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ON MAY 29, no fewer than 18 governors from across the country will resign from their positions after contributing their fair share to the development of their respective states. Except for Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, who did not seek re-election and served for only four years, the other 17 governors each served for eight years.

Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (jigawa), and Aminu Bello Masari (Katsina) are among the 17 outgoing governors.

The others are Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Simon Lalong of Plateau, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Darius Ishaku of Taraba, and Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger.

These men worked on normal maintenance and construction tasks like roads and houses for 2,922 days. They also examined issues such as education, healthcare, and citizen welfare, among others, in ways that elicited both praise and criticism. As governors leave office, they leave behind some landmark projects as well as inadequacies that will be remembered as their legacies and failures.

Masari’s stay in Katsina

In Katsina, Governor Masari will be remembered for constructing the state’s first flyover and expanding it to three; increasing school enrollment from 900 to 2.2 million; recruiting 7,000 S-Power teachers; constructing 22 major and 462 rural feeder roads; and constructing 185 housing units.

He also ensured that civil servants’ salaries were paid on time, with a minimum wage structure, and that retirees received gratuities and other benefits.

Despite providing logistical support for military and paramilitary personnel and enlisting 1,000 volunteers in the fight against insecurity, his war on banditry and terrorism had little impact, as terrorists continue to terrorize communities in frontline council areas.

Scorecard of Ikpeazu

Governor Ikpeazu of Abia made an impact in promoting made-in-Aba products and encouraging Small and Medium Enterprises, or SMEs. Under his leadership, the state experienced relative peace, making Abia the most peaceful state in the South-East.

He is credited with introducing cement technology in road construction to improve durability.

However, some of the complaints against him include a backlog of workers’ salaries and an inability to pay pensions and gratuities to retirees; failure to complete the new Abia Government House, which was initiated by his predecessor; inability to fix Aba, the state’s economic honey pot, contrary to expectations and the general slogan that “Aba son will rebuild Aba”; and the near collapse of the education sector under his watch, as Abia State University Medical College lost its accreditation.

WIKE: Rivers’ ‘Mr Infrastructure’

Wike embarked on unprecedented infrastructure delivery in Rivers, with 12 flyovers, the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School, lifetime duplexes, and exotic cars among the flagship projects.

He exhibited courage and political will to speak truth to power, particularly in addressing abuses of federal power, such as the court ruling on the suits that halted the Federal Government’s direct deductions from the Federation Account to fund the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.

Wike demonstrated his commitment to affirmative action for gender equality by working with a female deputy throughout his tenure, insisting on women as deputy chairmen in all Rivers LGs, and introducing legislation prohibiting traditions that deny women family inheritance from their parents.

On the negative side, Wike is being chastised for failing to promote, retire, and pay accrued benefits to Rivers civil servants; excessive donation of the state’s commonwealth to other states; being too combative and confrontational in relations with other states based on personal interests, such as demolishing sister Bayelsa state property in Port Harcourt; and inability to contain criminality despite massive deployment of funds.

Okowa’s campaign in Delta

Senator Okowa’s eight years will be remembered for three new universities, the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba, the Maryam Babangida Film Village and Leisure Park, Asaba storm drainage, the Ogheye Floating Market, the Koka flyover, and the multi-billion naira ultramodern secretariat that houses all the ministries, parastatals, and agencies.

He also finished and built several roads throughout the state, as well as established the Delta State Job Creation Scheme, which has created thousands of direct and indirect jobs for the state’s youths.

On the other hand, Okowa’s shortcomings include delayed pension and gratuity payments to retirees, insufficient investment in the power sector, and poor waste management and sanitation in some areas of the state.

The reign of Umahi in Ebonyi

Governor Umahi’s eight-year tenure had an impact on the lives of Ebonyi people, both positively and negatively.

His legacies include: Construction of over 20 flyovers across the state; Muhammadu Buhari International Airport, Onueke, Ezza South LGA; Ebonyi Shopping Mall; Christian Ecumenical Centre; new Ebonyi State Government House, Abakaliki; King David University, Uburu, Ohaozara LGA; completion of Ebonyi State House of Assembly; concrete-base roads in the 13 LGAs; and Iyere, the longest span bridge in the South- East zone at Afikpo South LGA.

Despite making Ebonyi a construction site despite limited resources throughout his reign, Governor Umahi has received numerous complaints and criticisms for his alleged dictatorial tendencies.

One of his failings is his inability to create robust welfare packages for state workers. Instead of keeping his promise to raise workers’ wages by 100%, he cut their pay and made life difficult for them.

The governor did nothing to stop the continuous collection of multiple taxes from citizens. He was also under investigation for intolerance of opposing viewpoints and had run-ins with the media. At one point, he ordered the arrest of Vanguard and Sun correspondent Peter Okutu in response to a report that he felt was unfavourable to him.

Another concerning issue during Umahi’s tenure was the victimization and incarceration of citizens, particularly those he perceived as political opponents.

The imprints of Ugwuanyi on Coal City

Governor Ugwuanyi built rural roads to connect and open up many communities in Enugu State’s 17 LGAs.

He worked hard to keep the state peaceful, and security in the last seven years has been generally good, but not without incidents involving herders and unknown gunmen. However, it was significantly better than in neighbouring states Ebonyi, Anambra, and Imo.
One significant legacy Ugwuanyi left for the people of Nsukka was the urban renewal he oversaw in Nsukka township, which gave the University town a new look. Along with the urban renewal, the State Government Secretariat Annex, a stadium, and a Medical University were built at Igbo-Uno.

However, many communities on Nsukka’s outskirts are complaining.
of neglect.
Land grabbing is one of the major complaints levelled against his government. Many communities are currently at odds with the government over the manner in which the government acquires their land for projects, primarily housing estate projects.
Residents of Enugu are also disappointed that he did not embark on urban renewal of Enugu, the state capital, to improve on what his predecessor did, as many of the city’s roads have collapsed.

Lalong’s long trek across the Plateau

Governor Simon Lalong is leaving behind legacies and liabilities in Plateau.

Among his legacies, he initiated and began the construction on a fly-over bridge at the British-American border, Jos. He also purchased radiology and imaging equipment for the State Specialist hospital.

The governor established the PLASCHEMA state healthcare insurance scheme to improve healthcare and also focused on the PLASU state-owned university, which resulted in the accreditation of 17 programmes.

However, the health and education sectors in the countryside are a disgrace. He is accused of leaving a massive debt burden. He is also being chastised for the way he handled the various attacks and displacements of people in the state, particularly in the Irigwe chiefdom of Bassa LGA, Bokkos LGA, and the recent one in over 20 communities in Mangu LGA, where there was no immediate support from the state or federal governments at the time of this report. When citizens were being killed by the attackers, he was seen to always paint a picture of peace.

The Legacies of Tambuwal

Governor Tambuwal will be remembered in Sokoto for declaring a state of emergency in education. He built a number of schools and additional classrooms throughout the state. He helped to build the state University Teaching Hospital, the Girls Science Academy, the Sokoto State University of Education, the Sokoto State College of Nursing Sciences, Tambuwal, and the Government Secondary School, Gudu.

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Tambuwal began construction of two state-of-the-art flyovers and the dualization of the Dange/Sokoto road in his fifth year in office, as well as a flyover on the Sokoto/Illela road. Both projects are now more than 75% complete.

One of the flyovers along the busy Abdullahi Fodio / Usumanu Dan Fodiyo University road has since been completed and put into service.

The governor resurrected the state investment house, the state board of internal revenue, and the Sokoto Geographical information system after years of neglect.

Tambuwal, known for his tolerance of the opposition, has been accused of neglecting the civil service and making state civil servants redundant.

The governor has been at odds with state retirees over the payment of their gratuities.

Tambuwal paid gratuity only once in the previous eight years, in 2016. He is leaving behind over N7 billion in gratuities earned between 2016 and 2023.

Udom’s impact on Akwa Ibom

Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom is leaving the stage with a lot of feathers in his cap. Emmanuel will be remembered fondly for the Ibom Airline, which is owned by the state and operates a fleet of seven aircraft, including five Bombardier 900 series and two Airbuses.

Emmanuel began construction of the Smartest Airport Terminal and the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul, MRO to make the state the aviation hub of the Gulf of Guinea.

Emmanuel attracted the Syringe Factory, automated Kings Flour Mill, Metering solutions factory, Coconut refinery, industrial clusters in Itam that produce bamboo, Car Assembly Plant, and the Smartest 21-Storey Dakkada Tower at Udo Udoma Avenue, among others, to industrialize Akwa Ibom.

He also made significant strides in the health sector, particularly in secondary health care, by improving general hospitals in the state’s ten federal constituencies.

is leaving a good road network built across the three senatorial districts.

Although Udom has been consistent in paying salaries and pensions on time, his failure to clear the backlog of gratuities inherited from previous administrations, as well as harmonization of pensions, has been a major source of criticism.

Ortom’s legacies and complaints about him

Governor Samuel Ortom’s major legacy in Benue is the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017.

Despite external pressure, the law was enacted to help stop the bloodshed in Benue communities as a result of unending armed herder incursions, attacks, and killings in several communities.

Another remarkable legacy of the Ortom administration is the road network he built across the LGAs.

The state’s health sector was also impacted by the administration’s rehabilitation of General Hospitals and structures at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, BSUTH, Makurdi, which provided modern dialysis and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, machines.

The governor oversaw 45 rural electrification projects, as well as the construction and renovation of thousands of primary and secondary classroom blocks with facilities throughout the state.

Despite these lofty goals, Ortom’s main challenge was his inability to clear the backlog of salaries, pensions, and gratuities owed to various categories of workers in the state by successive governments, including his, after being denied the facility extended to other states by the FG for that purpose.

Kano’s Ganduje Footprints

Unlike previous governors who abandoned projects initiated by their predecessors due to political differences, Governor Ganduje completed some projects inherited from Senators Ibrahim Shekarau and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s governments. Roads/bridges and hospitals are among the projects, including the Muhammadu Buhari bridge in Sabon Gari market (initiated by Kwankwaso) and the Giginyu hospital and Paediatric hospital (initiated by Shekarau).

The Kano Cancer Treatment Centre is one of his legacy projects.

Similarly, he is funding Kwankwaso’s scholarship for international students.

He received both praise and criticism for dethroning Kano’s Emir, Muhammadu Sanusi II, and establishing four new emirates in the state, which he claimed would bring development closer to the people.


In Jigawa, Governor Muhammad Badaru, who was elected on the APC platform, has completed some projects left unfinished by his predecessor from the opposition PDP.

The inherited projects are worth more than N90 billion, and they have been completed and commissioned.

In terms of health, the media-averse Badaru has supported medical students studying both at home and abroad.


Governor Sani Bello will be remembered in Niger for paying civil servants’ salaries and other entitlements on time.

However, some retired civil servants’ pensions and gratuities, particularly in local government areas, remain unpaid.

Throughout his tenure, he also ensured harmony among the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches of government, as well as a smooth relationship between the government and traditional rulers for effective grassroots administration.

However, the governor was unable to address insecurity because no fewer than ten of the state’s 25 LGAs are still under the control of terrorists who ravage the areas at will.

Most roads are in disrepair, and despite billions of Naira spent on the Ruga project, nothing notable has come of it.

The state’s economy has been ruined by the epileptic power supply. Because the government is heavily in debt to AEDC, electricity is regularly disconnected from the Government House, the SSG’s office, the Secretariat, the General Hospital, the IBB Specialist Hospital, and Water Works, among other key government offices.

Unfinished projects litter the state as a result of unpaid contract fees.

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The governor spent the majority of his time outside the state; the state’s economy is stalled; and Minna, the state capital, has been taken over by hoodlums, giving residents sleepless nights.

Bagudu’s eventful and squandering years in Kebbi

Governor Bagudu’s eight years in Kebbi were as eventful as they were wasteful. His first term was met with high expectations, owing to his origins in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital. Birnin Kebbi was in desperate need of infrastructure fit for a state capital after being abandoned by successive governments.

Unfortunately, Bagudu did not give the capital the attention it deserved, and Birnin Kebbi still lacks the infrastructure that would make it appear to be a state capital.

Governor Bagudu is leaving office having completed 80 of the 85 road projects he started and connecting at least 200 villages with road networks.

In the civil service, Bagudu pays salaries and pensions on time, including full gratuities, despite the fact that there was no promotion or salary increase during the eight years.

He was regarded as a ‘absentee governor’ during his second term after being appointed Chairman of the APC Governors Forum. Bagudu had been intermittently visiting Kebbi since then.

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