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As the G5 governors lose relevance by Israel Ojoko

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Is anybody still taking the G5 governors seriously? I mean does anyone still believe that this gang can strike and cause a political tsunami of some sort? If there is anyone still expecting anything ‘ghen ghen’ from these governors, then that person needs a rethink.

How can you expect a shakeup from a group of governors that refused to settle a seven-month rift with their own party members? Knowing that there is a timeline to the 2023 presidential election which is now just six weeks away, one would expect these governors to at least know what they’re doing. But they chose to be lukewarm, stand on the fence, remain obviously confused, and head to nowhere.

 

Whatever drama they have decided to play, one would expect that it will end in 2022, and from the get-go of 2023, a very busy year for Nigeria politically, one would have thought that the G5 governors will take a position for or against, restrategise, be precise and have a direction. One would expect that by now, as top political office holders, these governors will give their unyielding support to a presidential candidate, and do it 100 percent without a ‘but’ or hold back.

 

By now, the G5 governors would have been pulling weight for All Progressives Congress’ Bola Ahmed Tinubu or Labour Party’s Peter Obi. They would have convinced many that they are a force to reckon with, and they would have shown the PDP that they were not to be toiled with. They would have been in Adamawa or Anambra states campaigning for APC or LP.

But the G5 governors led by Nyesom Wike of Rivers state; Samuel Ortom of Benue state; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state and Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, have been adamant in their demand for the national chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, to step aside for the position to be filled by a member of the party from the southern part of the country. They’re running their own presidential campaign in their own self-styled manner for their own imaginary candidate, so laughable.

 

They seem to have now chosen a new career in entertainment. They have turned themselves into a group of entertainers who relieve the stress of onlookers by dancing in public and displaying many fashionable attires without rehearsal or a runway. They take turns in visiting each other, holding meetings, and what more?

 

Last time they were in Ibadan, and in their usual manner, engaged in vuvuzela, dancing, donning aso-ebi, eating, and drinking. That was all. Nothing to surprise their few fans who still believe in their potency to be expecting a bite from their entertainers.

 

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I am even more concerned about the governors of Benue and Oyo states.

 

Governor Samuel Ortom has not paid Benue teachers salaries for as many months, yet he is gallivanting from Makurdi to Abuja, Port Harcourt to Ibadan, Lagos to London with state resources. He doesn’t even talk about the endless killings of his people anymore. That is now a secondary concern to him as his primary concern is the G5. Civil servants in Benue state are struggling to feed themselves as they are owed accumulated salaries, pensions, and gratuities.

State workers are groaning in hardship, teachers are owed salaries up to 15 months with no hope of a green light soon. Insecurity is still bedevilling the state, and farmers and other residents are being killed frequently with dim hope of a safer society. Ortom has now left the job for his media aide Terver Akase to cover up for him. If there is an attack or anything, just do a press release, quote the absent governor and send it out. What a misplaced priority.

 

Seyi Makinde is the most disappointing of them. As a quiet-looking man, he started well in Oyo state, putting round pegs in round holes and gaining the trust of many young people both in his state and Nigeria in general, but what has happened to him since joining the G5?

Makinde inaugurated the Park Management System in February 2020 to manage and control the system for efficient transport service delivery, monitor the IGR and orderliness in parks, and regulate the activities of commercial motorcyclists and tricycle operators. This move has also helped to reduce killings among commercial drivers, union leaders, and other transport workers. In fact, that template has since been followed by their Lagos state counterpart.

 

Makinde has also constructed 56 model schools and completed the renovation of 200 primary healthcare centres in the drive to ensure the existence of at least one functional PHC in each of the 351 electoral wards of the state. Increased private sector participation in the agribusiness sector had enabled the state to attract ₦23bn in agribusiness investments, as well as securing another $125 million in development partner-blended finance for rural roads, agro logistics, market, and industrial hubs.

 

He has constructed and rehabilitated roads and bridges and junction improvements to decongest traffic within major cities. He built the General Gas Flyover, completed the Challenge/Felele junction improvement, and ensured the dualisation of the 9.7km Saki township road, including road furniture such as traffic signals and lay byes. He built the computerized VIS Centre at Idi-Ape, acquired 106 buses for the mass transit scheme; commenced the ‘Light up Oyo’ which covers 223.48km of roads across the state.

 

Despite all these, Makinde has hurt his image with his prolonged involvement with the now less-fancied G5. It reminds me of those days when parents usually warn their children when they want to leave for school, not to forget the child of who they are, to focus on their careers — and not join a bad gang. If that child deviates, it will surely show. From his/her words, actions, report cards or any other means. Character is like smoke, you can’t hide it.

 

Makinde, who is running for a second term in the same office is following a gang of people who have completed two tenures and may not need the immediate support of the masses. As a matter of fact, Makinde’s pedigree in politics cannot be compared to that of these old horses, hence he needs to dine with them using a long spoon, or better still stop dining with them. The March 11 governorship election is just around the corner and Makinde may be surprised with the outcome of the poll.

 

The G5 governors must as a matter of urgency retrace their steps, if they can not do that as a gang, they should do it individually. People like Makinde and Ortom should leave to focus on their mandate to the people of their states. The actions of the G5 governors are no more fun, it has become boring and uninteresting. They need to grow some gut, declare their stand now or close shop. Make we hear word abeg.

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