It’s hard to compare state governors considering their peculiar circumstances – income disparity, insecurity, and varying stages of development. But this is no deterrent, every state governor is expected to utilize scarce resources to the benefit of citizens and the development of the state.
So, from best to worst, we bring you our ranking of governors across Nigeria in the past year.
- Chief Willie Obiano of Anambra
“Willie is working” is one of the inscriptions that greet visitors in Anambra. Indeed, he is.
Chief Willie Obiano’s records cover important areas like security, investment drive, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), construction of roads and bridges, education, healthcare, social amenities, agriculture, social investment and job creation among others. He secured N2bn investment for production of rice and maize.
His efforts have been recognized with awards such as the 2015 Zik Prize for Leadership given to him by Lagos-based Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre and The Sun Governor of the Year in February this year.
- Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos
Former Governor Babatunde Fashola’s legacies meant Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had lots of work on his table. The governor has not disappointed especially as he has commissioned projects geared at developing the state, attracted huge investors, rehabilitated living conditions, and improved security. Ambode also introduced Treasury Single Account (TSA) to regulate revenue inflow/expenditure as well as the restructuring of civil service for effectiveness. Way to go.
- Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto
Governor Tambuwal brought in his swagger as the former Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives to Sokoto. Governor Tambuwal has his sights set on education and youth empowerment. He has addressed teacher shortage and is working tirelessly to fix access and introduce school transportation system for kids in the state. He brought an innovative approach to environmental sanitation with a monetary incentive to the cleanest neighbourhood in Sokoto.
- Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa of Delta
Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa has a reputation for displaying highly developed craftsmanship in his work. Governor Okowa said he wants to consolidate and advance the peace, progress, and prosperity of Delta state, and might well be on his well to achieving this. Over 1,700 youth have been trained and provided with equipment under his administration.
- Kashim Shettima of Borno
Alhaji Kashim Shettima has a tough job to do with Boko Haram holding the state under siege. His efforts in the course of Boko Haram attacks fetched him Vanguard Best Governor Award 2015. Shettima is putting in more funds into road construction, building and renovation of schools and hospitals, and restoring villages and communities to normal.
- Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa
Dickson’s greatest achievement is often tied to the education sector where he has won a reputation for changing the state’s status from an educationally less developed state to one recognized for its decent primary and secondary schools engineered through strict monitoring. He re-introduced boarding schools in the public school system to enhance the quality of education in the state and promised to that 11 new model boarding schools would be opened in all the eight local government areas in the state in October.
- Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia
It almost seemed like the series of court cases would distract Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, from delivering on his promises to Abians, but the governor has a lot to show for his stay in office so far. He came into limelight by refusing to celebrate his 100 days in office the conventional way. Instead, he marked the event at no special cost to the state by inspecting the projects he commenced and those inherited. He has initiated a handful of youth empowerment policies including his Education for Employment (E4E) programme.
- Peter Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti
Mr. Fayose is a strong critic of the Buhari-led administration and has distinguished himself as a fearless and dedicated leader. He might have aroused the ire of some people with his grazing bill which seeks to regulate grazing by warning that any herdsman caught with arms will face charges of terrorism. He will be in the good books of teachers after splashing car and cash gifts on them as they marked their day at a colourful ceremony in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. This year, Ekiti state came first in NECO exams from the 18th position it took last year, while it was 11th in the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) exams this year.
- Benedict Ayade of Cross River
Governor Benedict Ayade is highly commended for his strides in tourism, with projects like the opening of the first monorail in sub-Sahara Africa, hosting the biggest ever street carnival in Africa last year, and setting up Callywood the new movie genre. He is also creating new cities in the state. He emerged winner of the Tourism Man of the Year Award for Nigeria and West Africa. He will be remembered by regular people for the bill he proposed to the State Assembly to legalise hawking in the state. The Hawkers’ Right Bill contends that it is insensitive for any state government to ban hawking without providing an alternative.
- Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu
Governor Ugwuanyi popularly known as “gburugburu” across the state is a quiet, peace-loving governor whose strong target is economic development. He believes roads can create a lot of economic opportunities and did not waste too much time to inject huge funds into fixing roads across the state. Thanks to his support and solicitude, Enugu Rangers International Football club were able to win 2015/2016 Nigerian Professional Football League. The club last achieved this feat 32 years ago.
- Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom
Governor Udom Emmanuel came up with his 12 point development agenda in the early days of his ascendancy to the highest position in the oil-rich state. He has not failed to ramp up adequate infrastructure that would affect the lives of its citizenry and attract Investors to the state. His main strength lies in his construction efforts including emergency interventions on gully erosions ravaging some parts of the state.
- Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai runs Kaduna like a business –and this means the government has to be working so the clients or customers (the people) don’t shift their gaze away. He promised to “make Kaduna great again”, by fixing security, health, education, employment generation and infrastructural development. To reduce the cost of governance, he reduced ministries from 19 to 13, and permanent secretaries from 35 to 18. He also granted autonomy to local governments in the state while the joint state/local governments account was abolished. His handling of the killings in Southern Kaduna has however been a major let down to his admirers.
- Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwmbo of Gombe
Governor Dankwmbo’s meteoric rise in the accounting profession is just as arresting as his political ascendancy. Mr. Dankwambo has tried to give Gombe a new face. His major achievements are in the areas of road construction, education and infrastructure, especially water supply. He was nominated as one of Vanguard’s Governors of the year in 2015.
- Samuel Loraer Ortom of Benue
Dr. Samuel Loraer Ortom is a good fit for Benue State particularly with his antecedence in farming, business, administration and politics. He was able to hit the ground running with payment of accreditation requirements of the College of Health Sciences and Benue State University Teaching Hospital which the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria granted after 12 years. His amnesty programme saw 700 people give up 400 assorted arms with thousands of live ammunition.
- Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara
Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed has done well in the area of road construction as he paid N2.4billion to contractors handling over thirty-five road projects spread across the state. He has also fixed his focus on infrastructure, with the state currently constructing a commercial complex known as The Hub in Ilorin in order to create employment opportunities, boost commerce, and attract new investments.
- Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano
Gov. Ganduje appears to have prioritised economic revival and this finds testament in his seeking to increase the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR). He has moved to empower 250 youths by building their capacity on information communication technology (ICT) and providing laptops. He also championed the selection of 70 youth who are undergoing automobile training at Peugeot Company. He reduced the existing 21 ministries to 14 to reduce the cost of governance.
- Dave Umahi of Ebonyi
Engr. Dave Umahi Nweze strikes so many people as a visionary leader and his introduction of a monthly self-auditing exercise of all financial records of ministries, agencies and parastatals is a good indicator to validate such belief. He has embarked on a massive beautification of the state capital and supported agriculture by donating N1billion revolving loan to farmers as part of efforts to make Ebonyi State the number one rice-producing area in Nigeria.
- Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar of Zamfara
Hon. Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar is in top form and he has demonstrated his commitment to providing basic services to his people by paying close attention to the provision of social amenities.
Governor Yari Abubakar has spent a great deal of time and resources to providing portable water. Education is not left out too as the government constructed and commissioned 300 blocks of classrooms across the 14 local governments in the state. As if that wasn’t enough, a 7,000 fully-equipped ICT teachers capacity training centre was also constructed in Gusau, the state capital.
- Darius Ishaku of Taraba
Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku’s intervention in the water sector stands him out among his peers especially with statistics showing that millions of Africans lack access to clean water. Jalingo, the state capital, began to see water run after 10 months of staying without this amenity. He has also done considerably well in the power sector and Jalingo today enjoys 18 megawatts of electricity. The only public grouse with Governor Darius Ishaku is his appointment of 147 Advisers and Special Assistants which the governor said is aimed at reducing unemployment in the state.
- Aminu Bello Masari of Kastina
Rt. Hon Aminu Bello Masari, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, isn’t new to the intricacies of politics. That explains why he can easily take firm decisions like directing the immediate closure of all government accounts in the state. This decision affected the accounts of the elected council chairmen in all the 34 local government areas of the state, and it was basically aimed at curbing massive looting of public funds.
- Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa
Governor Badaru Abubakar started off saying the number of key ministries in the state need to be reduced in the face of the economic hardship hugging Nigeria. Badaru doesn’t joke with taxation which he sees as a way of enhancing the revenue profile of the state government. Under his watch, urban renewal and beautification of Dutse, the capital of the state, remain a key priority.
- Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger
Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello seems to be doing well as the governor of Niger State as several indicators show that he has made efforts to improve the lives of the people in areas of education, water, security, health, economic empowerment, agriculture, and infrastructure. It was Governor Bello who adopted the office-briefings-then-site-visits model of supervision, this approach has led to the completion of many projects.
- Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun
The state government has done well by providing some affordable houses for different categories of people in the state. He has improved on the physical infrastructure of the state though many roads are still begging for his attention especially in areas outside the state capital of Abeokuta. The perception is that Amosun has upped the ante in the areas of health, job creation, and the environment.
- Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo
Governor Mimiko shot himself into the headlines with the introduction of a multi-purpose smartcard, Kaadi Igbe Ayo, aimed at helping citizens to access and enjoy all the dividends of democracy. The card was deployed by the Ondo State government to provide a higher level of qualitative and quantitative service delivery in the health, education, transport and agro-allied sectors. Nonetheless, workers and pensioners in the state are being owed 6 months salary. Not good.
- Rauf Aregbesola of Osun
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is often seen as an engineer and political activist who has engineered the transformation of Osun State in terms of infrastructure and education. Aregbesola is widely acknowledged as an exceptional grassroots campaigner and mobilizer. He has not done badly in other areas like agriculture, economic development, youth employment, and security, but he hasn’t fulfilled his promise to pay the balance of over 18 month half salaries.
- Senator Bindo Umaru Jibrilla of Adamawa
Blighted by attacks from Boko Haram, Adamawa State like its northeastern neighours left its governor with much work to do. Previous attacks on commercial hubs of the state had negatively affected its ability to raise needed internal revenue profile. His business acumen is demonstrated in his empowerment programmes such as the disbursement of N20,000 each to widows in the state to enable them start small businesses. The state government had set aside N500 million from its share of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas dividend for disbursement as loans to boost the growth of small businesses in the state.
- Barrister Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi
Formerly a two-time Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar promised to address issues regarding sectors such as health, agriculture, education and tourism.
He declared a state of emergency on the education sector as he set up a 26-member Task Force Committee to overhaul the entire education sector in the state. Although he talked about revamping the tourism sector, not much has happened to the Yankari National Park which is now a Safari Park.
- Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi
Governor Bagudu has preference for the agriculture sector. He has mobilized critical stakeholders in the economy and in agriculture like the Central Bank and internationally acknowledged private investors in rice and wheat farming.
- Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau
Gov. Lalong understands the security and infrastructure issues buffeting the state. He is fixing the spate of daily killings especially in Riyom, Wase and Barkin Ladi local government areas. He engineered the recovery of the sum of N2.7billion looted funds through the State Universal Basic Education Board. But he needs to address the payment of workers salary and environmental sanitation in the state.
- Ezenwo Nyesom Wike of Rivers
Governor Nyesom Wike has vigorously pursued his road rehabilitation program in the state and fixed many roads in the state capital, Port Harcourt, and neighbouring local government areas. Wike is implementing an urban masterplan that includes construction of roads that were abandoned by previous governments, bridges, and traffic lights. Wike still needs to tackle insecurity, power and environmental sanitation.
- Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe State
Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam said he would have achieved all he set out to achieve when he was sworn in as governor if not for the ravages of the Boko Haram insurgency. But he has supported federal government’s onslaught on the terrorists by providing over 300 Hilux vehicles and paying over N250m monthly as allowances as well as medical bills for those of them who sustain various degrees of injury in the fight with insurgents.
- Rochas Okorocha of Imo
Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha understands business and many believed he will bring this into politics. He has attracted a bit of criticism especially with his introduction of a N3,000 development levy for eligible people across the state. He once said he will reduce the working days for civil servants so they can “hustle” during the days when they are off duty. One area of focus of the Okorocha administration is road construction but he hasn’t achieved much in this regard.
- Abiola Ajimobi Oyo
Gov. Ajimobi sure does wield the midas touch and nowhere is this clear than the capital city of the state, Ibadan. Ajimobi didn’t fail in his bid to beautify the state capital. However, the Governor has done nothing much in his second term as governor. Government workers are being owed 6 months salaries while public school students are paying N1000 as school fees with no good facilities in return. The governor sure needs to step up his game in many regards.
- Alhaji Yahaya Bello of Kogi
Alhaji Yahaya Bello took office after the heart-stopping legal and political controversies surrounding the death of Abubakar Audu just before he could celebrate his potential victory. Governor Bello has tactfully managed to wade off distractions and enthrone a tradition of responsibility, responsiveness and focused administration in Kogi State. Bello knows better not to rest until education, health and infrastructure gets better in the confluence state.
- Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa
When Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura came to the power, cheers swept through the streets of Lafia as regular people saw renewed hope and faith running all over them. So far, he is helping to fix the state capital and giving it a makeover and even the youth has benefitted from his policies especially the Nasarawa State Youth Empowerment Scheme. But, civil servants especially teachers in primary and secondary schools aren’t too happy with him. Salaries!
- Godwin Obaseki of Edo
Mr. Obaseki is not last on the list owing to his performance in office, he is new on the job and has barely stayed up to 100 days in office. But his achievements in the finance industry points a great future for Edo state. We’ll continue to watch closely.