…as ruling party describes claims as armchair accusations
By Ado Hassan Sokoto
Sokoto state chapter of the All Progressives Congress has described last year’s Nigerian Tribune ” Platinum Award as Torchbearer in Education Development” to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as the greatest insult to the collective intelligence of the people of Sokoto state in the decade.
The opposition party in the state vehemently noted while pondering on what it described as a monumental waste of the state’s scarce resources pumped into procuring the award and the huge resources spent by the Governor and his cronies to “receive” the award in Lagos.
It expressed concerns on the criteria used by the Newspaper organisation to arrive at its conclusion, noting that the administration was still grappling and finding it difficult to settle the examination and registration fees of children in the state who continue to lose admission opportunities in higher institutions of learning.
” The people of the state are concerned and disappointed as to what were the reasons for that.
” This situation has never been known in the history of Sokoto state until now. all previous administrations in the state have never failed to settle the examination and even admission fees of our students.”
Addressing a press conference Monday at the state party Secretariat , the party Chairman, Alhaji Sadiq Isah Achida said the Nigerian Tribune owe the people of Sokoto state an explanation as to the criteria used and the selection process which led to the choice of Governor Tambuwal as the champion of education .
Achida lamented how civil servants in the state had continued to bear the burden of being taxed to fund the running of education in he state while he huge budgetary allocation to the sector continue to remain unaccounted for.
” Despite the huge budgetary allocation of N47.4 bn representing 27.9 % of he 2019 budget, in addition to the unfair deductions of civil servants salaries, it is still difficult for the current government to settle exams and admission fees of students.
” No wonder, our children continue to receive lessons under the trees while dilapidated and collapsed classrooms as well as neglected and unpaid teachers have remain the trademark of our state”s educational sector”, he stated.
However, the party Chairman attacked the ruling PDP in the state for allegedly finding it convenient and as escapist approach to infrastructure development by hiding under international donor and intervention agencies for it’s capital projects.
Achida continued:” the ruling PDP government in the state has no moral right to claim credit for the success of international donor agencies, while at the same time , diverting our scarce resources into procuring inexplicable channels.
” It is clear that the only completed projects are those with foreign funding while those being funded by the state government continue to suffer and linger for years with he Gudu Secondary school project as a typical example that was started since the first tenure of Governor Tambuwal”, he pointed out.
Achida who also took a swipe on Governor Tambuwal’s 2020 budget presentation tagged” Budget of Sustainable Socio-Economic Development and Inconclusiveness ” described it as a Chain of broken promise which he allegedly noted represents one of his empty promises that ended on pages of newspapers as a common characteristic of his government.
According to Achida who recall that the 2019 budget of N168.184 bn was virtually swept under the carpet at the presentation of the 2020 budget on 3rd December, 2019, pointed out that” this is a complete contrast against the practice of reviewing out gone budget performance before presenting a new budget which is the global practice.”
He accused the state government of having skeleton in its cardboard, Hus avoiding scrutiny.
” The obvious is that most of the capital projects in the 2019 budget have either not commenced or at infant stages as at last December”, he stressed.
The opposition APC further reminded Governor Tambuwal of his failed promise on the implementation of the new minimum wage for civil servants in the state instead allegedly embarked on the retrenchment of the state workforce.
” This has now forced workers to resort to abandon the battle for new minimum wage for the guaranteed payment of their current old wage”, he said.
According to Achida” the people of Sokoto state have become so used to the game of deceit being plays by the PDP administration that they no longer have confidence in its promises.”
However, while reacting to the claims by the opposition APC at a separate briefing, the state Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Isah Bajini Galadanci described as unfounded the allegations and claims by the opposition party in the state.
” The APC is not only disturbed and destabilised by Tambuwal remarkable achievement but drawned and confused about his national and internal track record of performance in many spheres of socio economic development of Sokoto state.”
According to Bajini” the APC seem to be ignorant of of budget collapse by promoting armchair accusations that we’re unfounded and not based on reality.
” Let me say that budget is about projection, estimate and expectations from various sources to finance anticipated projects and programmes based on capability and available funds.
” If the opposition had watched carefully with its majority number in the State Assembly, t would know that the government is doing creditably well as there are a number of projects going on across the state”, he pointed out.
The Commissioner stressed that he ruling government under he leadership of Tambuwal had recorded remarkable successes in the education since inception ” it is ready to continue to execute meaningful projects that will better the lives of Sokoto people through the provision of basic infrastructure.”
He noted that ” perhaps APC has lost its memory of knowing the realities and facts on he developmental projects and activities of the PDP government in the state sequel to the defeat it suffered at the polls”, he stated.
” Our government is a responsive and listening government that promotes vibrant policies on fiscal planning which will not be jettisoned but she aimed for the growth of the state.”
Bajini pointed out that despite the funds constraints occasioned by the numerous developmental challenges, yet the government has completed and put in place several capital projects as the cattle breeding centres, International Conference Centre inherited at infant stages from Wamakko’s administration.
Others according to him include the Asare, Nakasari and Runjin Sambo water schemes as well a number of LG secretariat in addition to 5km road constructed in each council.
” We have embarked on a number of semi urban water projects with the launch of construction of 500 community water projects with 12 taps each across LGs to ensure adequate potable water supply to communities”, he outlined.
Further neutralising the opposition claims on non completion of Gudu Secondary School, Bajini said the school had been completed since two years back, pointing out that ” the school is one among equals that is so dear to the Governor as is the only secondary school available to the LG.
” In fact, there are calls that it should be converted and upgraded to a school of basic and remedial studies.”
Besides, Bajini disclosed that to strengthen the status of the State University for academic excellence, the Tambuwal administration had executed and unfounded commissioned an ultra modern library edifice and 60 offices capacity administrative complex.
” We have strengthened and sustained our existing scholarship awards policy such that no Sokoto indigenous student is left out of the scheme in addition to upgrading of a number of primary schools to JSS with basic facilities.”
In the same vein, while explaining the little delay on the new minimum wage implementation in the state, the Commissioner said the state government was soncere and committed to the course as it involved huge resources and personnel audit has to be carried out to ensure the correct number of workforce was arrived at for the implementation.
” We have conflicting figures on the total personnel in the state civil service and this is applicable to almost all ministries. We are striving to do more for the state.”
” We are advising and calling on the opposition APC in the state to courageously join hands with us to fast forward development
On the recent award to the governor as the torchbearer on educational development , the Commissioner and Chief government image maker on ted that The Nigerian Tribune has its legacies from time immemorial of been consistently in the lime light of journalism.
” It is reputed for its unequalled contributions and has never been off the streets in its over 70 years of establishment without organising awards for performance. This and Manon their salient reasons justified it’s steps at awarding Tambuwal by taking into cognisance, certain basic criterion to rank him for the historic award”, he explained .
” We are advising and calling on the opposition APC in the state to courageously join hands with us to fast forward development for the good loving people of Sokoto state. Hinging on lame opposition will not advance the course of the state in positive light”, he urged.