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Nigeria: Yuguda and His Many Aides

| July 27, 2012 More

A governor famed for his retinue of more than a thousand aides in a dramatic move wields the big axe against them. Is it financial restructuring or the redirection of political patronage?

SENIOR officials of the Bauchi State government deny any financial pressure on the state administration. But opposition figures and many other stakeholders point to the unceremonious sack of the about more than a thousand political aides of Governor Isa Yuguda as a reflection of the dire financial straits presently facing the administration.

Mostly affected were director-generals, senior special assistants, senior special assistants ii, special assistants and senior assistants II who were appointed at the commencement of Yuguda’s second tenure. The sacking of the appointees came on the heels of press statements by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG and Chief Press Secretary to Governor Yuguda, Mr. Michael Ishola, claiming that the state was not broke.

Financial paralysis

The duo described insinuations of financial paralysis in the state as the handiwork of enemies of the state, who do not wish Bauchi well. Justifying the sack, they claimed it was due to “complaints by stakeholders that the political appointments were lopsided and did not reflect the structure of the ruling party in the state, according to Local Government areas and ward levels.”

Yuguda, won fame for his appointment of more than a thousand aides in his first term when he in 2007 appointed 1,040 persons as commissioners, senior special assistants, (SSA), special advisers, (SA) and personal assistants (PA). Perhaps only Governor Murtala Nyako who appointed about a similar number of aides could challenge him in that regard.

Opposition figures in the state say that the number of aides in the first administration eventually surpassed 3,000. Given the criticisms that trailed the appointments, it was not surprising that the governor after his re-election promised to trudge a different path.

However, after some dilly-dally, Governor Yuguda in September 2011 again went the same way when he appointed more than one thousand aides including 20 special advisers, 94 senior special advisers, 810 special assistants, 24 directors-general and a motley crowd of other appointments without clearly defined portfolios.

House faults appointment of DGs: The fresh appointments vexed many in the State House of Assembly who particularly faulted the appointment of 24 directors-general without legislative approval.

Legislative approval

Dayabu Chiroma, representing Darazo state constituency, who raised the issue on the House floor under matters of urgent importance stated that the assembly had approved the governor’s request for the appointment of 20 Special Advisers and called for explanations on the appointment of the Directors-General.

Following deliberations, the Assembly set up a seven-man committee chaired by Abdulmumini Ningi, representing Ningi constituency, to look into the matter. Although the governor blamed his action on pressure from his party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, political watchers in the state believe otherwise.

“The political appointments are reflections of his personal style (or lack of it) as he is not the only governor from that party,” Bello Shehu, an opposition member observed. Shehu expressed pessimism regarding the appointments and wondered if truly it was designed to enhance governance or help the “boys” to survive.

2012 budget did not reflect payment for aides: Another contending aspect about the number of Yugada’s aides, was the claim that 2012 budget did not reflect payment for appointees. It was gathered that with the large junk of political aides, that the weight on the budget increased frustrating the implementation of other viable projects.

Commenting on the matter, a former governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in the April 2011 election, Mallam Yusuf Tuggar condemned the appointment of over 1000 political aides, noting that the appointment was a waste.

According to him, “Bauchi State is now surviving on borrowed funds to keep government machinery going. What I expect from Yuguda is to redeem all the unnecessary debts he incurred in the name of the state rather than enslaving the people. I am at a loss as to how or where he (Yuguda) is going to source for the over N1 billion to pay for the upkeep of these political aides.”

It is against this background that the recent sack of the thousand aides has now become a matter of controversy. Was the sack meant to reduce cost or redirect political patronage? The government’s next utterance on the issue will resolve the puzzle.

Category: Bauchi State News

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