Al-Makura: A Governor’s Many Sins

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Upon assumption of office, after his victory in 2011, Nasarawa people were all with ecstasy hoping a messiah has arrived; but as it stands there is every tendency that the governor is not doing to the bidding of the people that elected him. However a lot issues and sins of the governor has been heaped by the people which they think he may not get a second term in office.

It will be recalled that in 2013, Nasarawa State House of Assembly lashed out on the governor, over Executive excesses on the expenditure of 2013 budget. As at 2013 when the Appropriation year came to an end, the House committees of the Nasarawa House of Assembly begun submission of reports of their oversight functions. Interestingly, this 2013 committee report appears an eye opener suggesting that Nasarawa State Law makers were on a liberation mission to rescue the state from Al Makura influenced jeopardy.
The revelation of the chairman House committee on Public Account, Honorable Francis Orogu served a Pandora box on the financial dealings of Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura.
The shendam road Government House landlord according to the committee’s findings revealed that the governor was seriously involved in financial incongruity and gross misconduct – Honorable Francis Orogu stated this while presenting his committees report to the Honorable House.
The presentation of House committee’s report marks the end to 2013 fiscal year paving the way for another Appropriation year, Honorable Francis Orogu expressed dismay over excessive-expenditure and running of state affairs by the incumbent Governor as his personal property.
The honorable member asserted that a whooping amount of N1.2bn was an unnecessary expenditure from the office of the Secretary to the State Government. It was reveal that under the present administration N1.138, 520, 172, 03 was discovered from June 2011 to April 2012.
The chairman Public Account also asserted that the sum of N200m was voted to Nasarawa Investment and Property Development Company in 2013 budget but additional N200m was spent bringing the amount to N400m.
In the office of the SSG, It was reveal that N971,833,721.00 was discover as over expenditure ,While N3,010,988.000.00 was spend as from July 2013.
Speaking further, Honorable Francis Orogu described State/Local Government Joint Account as illegal quoting relevant sections of the constitution, He stated that Joint Account is an aberration of sections 1,2,5 (5) and section 1,8 (11).
Another issue was the discovering of that N24m was missing from the N400m relief fund dole to Nasarawa by the Federal Government, He buttress that the money that supposed to be given or lodge in the account of Nasarawa State Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) .
The chairman aver that the money is yet to be accessed by the victims of 2012 flood disaster, He opined that N35m was distributed to the affected persons as against N50m,He further open the Pandora box that the House committee on Public Account findings discover that N365m was the balance that remains in a separate Accounts. He asserted that the relief fund was kept in six different accounts that was not accessible to the Executive Secretary of NASEMA.
On the issue of Subsidy Reinvestment And Empowerment Program (Sure-P), the House reported that, as of April to December 2012 N190,390,397.00 was received on monthly basis,N3,427,270,151.40 was realized as from July-September ,It was unveiled that N2.2bn was left in the Account including the monthly benefits of beneficiaries .
Moreover, over 7,000 employees under state/Local Government were sacked, The Governor was accused of disengaging staff at will, He also lament the inaction of the state Governor over workers of the state owned transport company, Nasarawa Express Service.
The Health ministry was not left out as the the chairman House committee on health, Honorable Abdulkarim Mohammed representing Wamba constituency maintained that Governor Al-Makura was involved in gross misconduct said the state Government spends N130m as against N100m meant for equipping of pharmacy Departments in General Hospitals which was extra budgetary spending. “There was no provision for medical Centre in 2013 budget, while he said establishment of x-ray Department in Akwanga General Hospital, and also establishment of x-ray Department at Arikya Cottage Hospital were not capture in 2013 budget.
However, this paper gathered that in April 2014, Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, was told to forget his 2015 second term ambition and prepare to quit the state Government House. This was the position taken by community leaders in the state on Saturday.
The community leaders alleged that since Al-Makura took over from Aliyu Akwe Doma three years ago, most communities have witnessed no peace.
They also alleged that the governor had been at loggerheads with prominent politicians in the state, including some serving senators like Solomon Ewuga.
A political scientist and a lecturer with the Federal University, Lafia, Chief C. A. Uhembe, who spoke on behalf of the community leaders, described Al-makura as irresponsible and a cruel leader.
Uhembe, who is the traditional leader of Massev, Nogov, Iharev Development and Cultural Association, Plateau State chapter, was reviewing the recent security situation in Nasarawa and Benue States.
He said: “God is working for us.
“For the past four days, there has been no case of Fulanis attacking any Tiv home again and we must commend the Federal Government for the intervention.”
Speaking on Al-Makura’s call for the review of military operations in Nasarawa State, Uhembe chided the governor.
He described him as a sycophant.
He said: “If he said the Fulanis killed by federal troops were not the ones terrorizing farmers within Nasarawa and Benue States, let him provide the real operators.”
Similarly, the acting president of the Tiv Youths Organization, Nasarawa State chapter, described the governor’s action as unfortunate, stressing that his condolences to the Fulani was a clear indication that he is in the picture of those perpetrating the killing intrigues in the area.
Uhembe added: “If he wants to justify his claim, what efforts did he make in assisting the Benue State Government in containing their border watch so as to avert the killings?”
The Nasarawa governor has been hugging the headlines recently for a host of issues like his face-off with the state assembly over his repeated use of his name to sign off on government projects, as though they were his personal property. Primary schools built with UBE counterpart funding had “TAAL” inscribed on them; tricycles bought by the state government had “TAAL” inscribed on them as well. TAAL (Tanko Al-Makura) said it was within his right to do so, after all we have “Kwankwasiya” in Kano and we used to have “Keke Marwa” in Lagos. That matter is still in court.
However one controversy involving the governor which the people of Nasarawa will not forget in a hurry is the wedding of his son.
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state is reportedly compiling a dossier so as to petition anti-graft agencies over the governor’s alleged N1.5 billion expenses on his son’s wedding last week.
For a whole week, activities in the state grounded to a halt as most government officials travelled to the United states where the event held. The governor’s son who is getting married to a Pakistani has reportedly been based in the United States of America even before he became state governor. Before the month of Ramadan, a first ceremony was held in Pakistan. Then last week another ceremony was held in America with yet another, the grand finale, planned for Abuja in a week or two.
As one should expect from such a wedding across three continents, the expenses are humongous. The American leg of the wedding alone reportedly gulped N1.5 billion. The state government claims that all that money is from the personal pocket of the governor.
On another case is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State has said that it is set to file a petition against the state governor, Umaru Al-Makura, to the Presidency over the refusal of the state government to disburse N400 million released to the state by the Federal Government as relief for flood victims in the state.
Meanwhile, the affected victims of the flood, who cut across about eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, have begun to grumble over the absence of a structure that would lead to the disbursement of the funds or relief materials.
The state PDP Chairman, Yunana Iliya, said it has been over months now since the money was released and up to this moment, the state government was yet to do anything about it, leaving the flood victims in dilemma.
According to him, despite acknowledging the receipt of the money, the government is silent on it, thereby compounding the problems of the victims.
He said: “It is very unfortunate to hold on to that money meant for the flood victims”, adding, “No committee has been set up by the state government to handle the disbursements. We are waiting and observing keenly”.
He explained that Vice President Namadi Sambo was recently in the state and told the people that the money was meant to give relief to the victims.
“But to the surprise of the party, government is not forthcoming and the party would compelled to take up the matter to our leaders and the presidency”, he said.
Meanwhile Yunana Iliya, State Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Nasarawa State, in this interview with Desertherald has said that the PDP won majority of the local governments  in the recent council poll in the state but that Governor Tanko Al-Makura used the executive powers at his disposal to subvert the election and deliver some local governments to the All Progressives Congress.
According to him he said; It is not a speculation, it is a fact. Al-Makura is feeding fat on the local government allocations that accrued to Nasarawa State. Ever since they were elected and sworn in, no money has been allocated to them. Yet, there are allocations coming to the local governments and the state. He refused to release funds to them on the ground that if he releases money, PDP council chairmen will use the money to fight for the stolen mandate the Governor took from our party. He is starving them of funds to make sure they don’t have resources to fight at the tribunal. He is making a mistake, very soon we are going to institute a case against him to ensure that local government funds are released at when due. There is no way he will be collecting the money for the local governments and the SURE-P funds and leave the chairmen as glorified caretaker committees. He does not pay them salaries, he only give them N1million only. He said that he wants to cut down their salaries and the salaries have been worked out by the Fiscal and Mobilization Commission. In Nasarawa State, so many things are wrong. We were thinking that after the election, things will improve but what we are seeing today is like we are going back to the worst. Local Government Chairmen were elected to complement the efforts of the governor, now they are waiting to make use of the funds so that they will be remembered for having executed projects during their tenures. We are considering taking him to court to explain to the world what he is using the money to do whether it is not the right of the chairmen to make use of money that was allocated to them by the federal government. With what is happening in Nasarawa State, people could be forced to a level of taking up to arms. Al-Makura lost Lafia Local Government to PDP, showing his unpopularity. ? PDP won in Lafia Local Government with 108, 000 votes while APC came at a distance with 45, 000 votes. He went to the extent of asking his hoodlums to destroy any bill board belonging to PDP.
On the issue of SURE-P, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State, Yunana Iliya, has indicted Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura over N9 billion SURE-P funds meant for empowerment of people of the state.
He stated that the state chapter of PDP had already written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) about the disappeared funds.
“How could a single person alone sit on N9 billion SURE-P money meant for empowerment of our people? We are going to arrest the governor because we have already written to the EFCC,” he stated.
He said other states were enjoying SURE-P fund and expressed dismay over why the case of Nasarawa was different as not even a signboard could be seen anywhere in the state.
Iliya affirmed that it was high time the people stopped watching while the governor lavishes state resources at the detriment of the common man across the state, making reference to the alleged N2 billion wedding that Al-Makura organised for his son in the USA.
Meanwhile there has been accusation against the governor over the maltreatment of Nigerian Youths and Students is common since when the Umaru Tanko Al-Makura came on board as the Governor of Nasarawa State ranging from the polarization of the National body of the Nasarawa State Students Association (NASSA), Unlawful detention of Comrade Yusuf Abubakar Doma, to the over 12 thousands youths that were sacked from the 13 Local Government in Nasarawa State .
It is not longer news that Nasarawa State Government has forcefully chased market Men and Women out of the Old Lafia Market without an option of where to go, it may be recalled that sometimes around August, 2013, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a statement to the general public that whoever is interested in the allocation of shops in the “New Ultra Modern Market Lafia” should as a matter of urgency and State interest indicate interest by purchasing an application form at the rate of N10,000 while the yearly subcharges will follow.
According to analyst, he said he said no ordinary Nigerian citizenry in Nasarawa State was given a single shop after the application in the New Utra Modern Market due to the dubious acts of the Government of the day in the State, all the shops were allocated to the Families and Friends of Governor Almakura, Commissioners, SSA’s, SA’s and other Government officials.
“The most painful thing in Lafia is that those in the authority that the shops were illegally allocated to them are now selling the shops now to the ordinary Market Men and Women at rate of N800,000 (Eight Hundred Thousand) upward, to us this is animalistic, barbaric and exploitation of the highest order. This question and so many others are begging for answers, How many market men and women can afford to pay such huge amount of money?
He asked; “Can some move to the new market place without a shop? Where does the government expect those that are selling Grandnut oil, Exercise Books, Shoes, Babbers, Tailors in the old market to pack to? I could go on and on mentioning the names of those that are affected with the unfriendly policy of Al-Makura led Government. It is widely accepted that no state will developed without putting some individual and groups into pains but it is not accepted in putting people into the angony of poverty in the name of development, what we expected from the government is to put an alternative in place before thinking of sending them out of the old market.
As the old market is parmanently shutdown by the government, the market men and women association has taken it to the street on Saturday to protest the anti people policy of Gov Almakura that will surely add to the level of poverty in the State.”
Speaking  further he said; “This is State that 70% of its citizens are living in abject poverty as exibited on Saturday where a group of thugs were hired just to earn a living by the government of the day in Nasarawa State to distroy the posters and bill board of one of the gubernatorial aspirant under the platform of PDP called Yusuf Mohammed Agabi. One would have expected Gov Al-Makura to do a thorough check and sample the opinion of relevant stakeholders in the market before coming up with such a senseless decision. The fact is that the state government has taken this wicked steps in order to add to the pains of the ordinary citizens that are yearning for CHANGE of leadership in the State.
Therefore, without fear of contradiction the only solution to the current predicament in the Lafia old market is for the government to as the matter of National important and poverty alleviation revisits the process that led to the illegal allocation of the New Ultra Modern Market to people that only in government instead of the real market men and women.”
Source: Desertherald

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