The celebration of the first 100 days in office is usually an avenue for governors to showcase their achievements within the period under review. However, the celebration of this landmark by some governors on September 5 was believed to have been a fanfare of failure to address the bad state of roads in their domain, MUDIAGA AFFE writes
The concept of the first 100 days in office which has become a quadrennial celebration among governors describes the early phase of new leadership.
It is believed that a governor’s achievement within the first 100 days in office is an indicator of future success or failure, as the case may be.
Mixed reactions have, however, continued to trail the September 5, 2019 celebration of the first 100 days in office by governors across the country, as the electorate express worry over their leaders’ capacity to address key development challenges.
Out of the 36 states in the country, the governor of seven states namely Anambra, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Kogi, and Bayelsa did not partake in this year’s quadrennial celebration as a result of the staggered elections that brought them into offices.
However, some of the 29 other governors that marked the event in grand styles and showcased their achievements, failed to address one critical area of bad roads in their domains.
In some states, the roads had become sore points for commuters who groan in pains silently while their governors marked 100 days with impunity.
The celebration in Lagos State by the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration was marked with fanfare as the Number One citizen reeled out his achievements to the admiration of top chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, traditional leaders, members of the state Executive Council, civil society, market leaders, students, and youth groups.
Sanwo-Olu said that on assumption of office, he announced the Executive Order declaring emergency on traffic management and transportation in the state.
According to him, the decision has brought about significant relief to the residents. He added that the effort was swiftly complemented with speedy rehabilitation of arterial roads to reduce travel time and stress for commuters.
“Since we came on board, we have remained committed to the course instigated to make Lagos a 21st-century economy and a safe place to live. On assumption of office, we were confronted with major challenges, including traffic management and environmental sanitation. Potholes dotted our highways and heaps of refuse were common sites in our communities. Traffic situation became a source of concern to residents,” he stated.
But visible potholes in Ikeja and the environ, Agege, Isolo, Ikotun, Ejigbo, Yaba, Ikorodu, Ojota, Apapa, Gbagada, Oshodi, Magodo, Ojota, Ketu, Egbeda, Ipaja, and Abule-Egba, among others, which required urgent attention were still left unattended to as of the time of filing this article.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the state described Sanwo-Olu’s first 100 days as failure .
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said his administration had spent the first 100 days to lay the foundation for his agenda. The governor, during a session with some business executives, noted that the existing infrastructure should not be made to suffer neglect, as many of them including roads, health and school facilities, were in bad shape.
But Saturday PUNCH learnt that the Adatan-Obantoko Road; Panseke-Adigbe Road and Lafenwa-Ayetoro Road, among others, were in critical state begging for the attention of the governor.
The state Chairman of the Labour Party, Abayomi Arabambi, said he had yet to see any major road that was fixed by Abiodun within his first 100 days in office.
Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, had among other achievements in his 100 days in office, listed the completion of a 23 megawatts power plant as one of his dreams come true.
But the state capital, Calabar, is littered with potholes in some strategic areas that had yet to catch the governor’s attention.
Notable bad spots in the metropolis are Mary Slessor by the University of Calabar main gate, Mary Slessor by Target, Parliamentary Extension, Ikot-Ishi market, Itu Okon Street by Ikot-Ansa, Goodluck Jonathan Bypass, Bebosco Road, Asari Eso Street, Palm Street, and many others.
Also, the Tinapa-Odukpani road junction, which is the major artery into Calabar, is in a very deplorable state. Commuters and motorists groan daily as there are craters all over this axis of the highway that leads to Ikom, Ogoja and Benue State as well as Uyo in Akwa Ibom State.
Feelers from Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, indicated that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq had in his 100 days taken some steps to revamp some public utilities and infrastructure.
But some roads are yearning for attention in Ilorin. Some of the roads requiring urgent attention in Ilorin include the Unity/Coca Cola/Baba Ode/ASA Dam road, among others. A resident of the area, Adetoyi Adeleke, appealed to the government to fill the potholes on the stretch of the road.
In Imo State, Governor Emeka Ihedioha said the government had awarded contracts valued at N24.34bn for the rehabilitation of some major roads in the state.
The Special Assistant to the governor on new media, Izuchukwu Akwarandu, said the road rehabilitation projects were part of the activities marking the governor’s ‘100 days in office’.
But it was learned that before the award of the contract, the governor did not rehabilitate any road in the state within his first 100 days in office.
In Adamawa State, while Governor Ahmadu Fintiri had within his first 100 days in office attempted to address security challenges emanating from farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping and other crime, the roads leading to the various communities from the state capital are not tarred and begging for government’s attention.
Also, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State had within his first 100 days in office flagged-off urban renewal project, which has the construction of new roads and upgrading existing ones as its core idea. However, roads dotted with potholes litter the state capital. For instance, commuters have complained about the potholes at Ungwan-Pama by Post office road in Chikun Local Government Area, which they believe should have been fixed within the first 100 days.
A resident of Kaduna, Mr Mike Samuel, said potholes at Halima junction in Ungwan Sunday and Narayi Road were disturbing, while the bad road behind Agric quarters in Gonin-Gora, has been considered by road users as a no-go-area.
In Kaduna north, the Federal Government College Road, Malali is in a bad state. There is also the Katuru road in Kaduna north, college road by Legislative Quarters Road in Ungwan-Dosa.
Regardless of the 100 days fanfare, other state capitals in the North-Central, North-East, North-West, and South-South have many roads that are dotted with potholes.
The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the celebration of 100 days in office in the face of glaring challenges constituted wastage of public funds.
He said, “Only a few governors have positive indicators to justify their first 100 days in office. We believe that within the first 100 days, governors should have shown their policy thrust, direction, expectation, deliverable and justification for their stay in office but many of them do not do that. Most of the time, this celebration is a sheer waste of government funds. Some governors had within the first 100 days opened up rural roads for easy access to the cities to enhance economic activities.
“I believe the governor of Lagos State, for instance, ought to hit the ground running through massive road construction projects. Most of the road projects commenced by his predecessor are still in a state of disrepair, therefore, causing traffic congestion.
“The humongous amount of man-hour that is wasted on bad roads in Lagos cannot be quantified in terms of naira and kobo that the citizens are losing. The citizens are being made to suffer untold hardships. We expect that all the ancillary roads leading to the major roads ought to have been fixed within this period. Most governors are celebrating failure in the first 100 days in office.”
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Mr Musa Rafsanjani, noted that the so-called 100 days celebration had become an avenue for political office holders to siphon money, adding that many governors had failed to initiate or executive intervention projects including fixing of bad roads.
According to him, such projects are expected to bring succour to the people.
“This so-called 100 days in office has created an opportunity for fraud because there is a huge jamboree for the celebration of achievements which are not there. This should be a period they should start developing policies and programmes that can ginger good governance, rather, they are busy celebrating achievements that are not visible.
“In most cases after they (the governors) have finished celebrating their 100 days in office, they do not carry out any other development plans for the rest of their tenure. Areas like road construction, job creation, infrastructure development should top their agenda, not this 100 days fanfare to deceive the public. Democracy is not deceit; it should be tangible and practicable for people to see. If you have worked, people will see, rehabilitation of roads should bring relief to motorists,” he added.
But the Dean of Arts, Management and Social Sciences, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Prof Femi Otubanjo, linked the deplorable state of roads across major cities in the country to the alleged tampering of local government funds by governors.
“Essentially though, governors are not supposed to mend roads. What we have is a situation in which local government areas that are supposed to be on top of local problems have been emasculated. Their powers have been taken away, their funds are being pilfered by governors and so there are no eyes on the ground. The governors have inter-city roads, but inner-city roads ought to be the purview of LGAs. They are supposed to mend these roads.
“Unfortunately, we no longer have a viable local government system. They ought to pay attention to this missing link to address this poor state of roads and I do not know why they should be celebrating 100 days in the face of these bad roads because the fanfare will not define any administration. Every administration will be defined by four years of consistent performance. I think governors should begin to strategise on how to solve fundamental problems such as roads, education, medical facilities and hope that they will have better stories by the time they get to one year in office,” Otubanjo said.