Friday, February 14, 2014

Liaison offices: Of abandoned, decaying property of northern states

Seated on the famous Ahmadu Bello way in the highbrow city of Victoria Island in Lagos are many northern states Liaison offices, which  have been either abandoned or neglected by their various  State governments. The Liaison offices are under the purview of the various secretaries to the State Governments who, our correspondent gathered, have been starved of funds despite money allocated every year in the states budget for the maintenance of the liaison offices.

Our correspondent reported that little or no activities are taking place in those offices with workers abandoning their duties. The liaison offices visited include that of Adamawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Yobe, Nasarawa and Taraba states. Peoples Daily Weekend gathered that they have been underfunded or not at all in the last three years.

An official who spoke on condition of anonymity at the Adamawa Liaison office said the office had not received imprest to run its activities in the last two years.

The official who our correspondent met  while they were playing games with other workers, said the state government is aware of the bad state of its Liaison office and had promised to renovate it since the last five years.

"When our governor came into office, he visited this place and he promised to renovate it but we have not seen anything.

"You know every state has its own priorities and I am sure when they remember us they would come and repair the place."

The official claimed that the office has never received the total amount budgeted and approved by their state House of Assembly.

Another official said just like most other states, the governors have abandoned the liaison offices and have allegedly diverted money meant for maintenancefor their personal use.

"We know what is provided for us in the state budget every year, but we don't see the money? Does this place look like where money has been spent on in the last five years. We only get to read about the money in the papers but we don't know where they are spent.

"Our living condition in Lagos is very terrible, most of the offices you see here do not have water. We are owing PHCN bills, and you can come here during rainy season and see how our rooms are flooded due to leaking roof but the suffering becomes more painful when you know the money for renovating the place is being stolen by one big man in government."

Kaduna state Liaison office is converted to a single room apartment of a two story building shared with residential occupants, a local yam seller and a dry-cleaning service.

The building, a source said, had been leased out by the state government to a private developer.

A middle aged lady told our reporter that the State Liaison Officer has travelled to Kaduna and would return in three months.

"Please if you have any message, drop it but if you want to see our oga (sic), come back in three months time because he has travelled to Kaduna."

The lady however refused to answer to any enquiry.

Our correspondent however observed that apart from the sign post which indicates the presence of an office, the environment however looked dirty, while local trading activities took centre stage.

At Taraba Liaison office, the story is not too different. Officials refused to speak to our correspondent, but a source said the building has been neglected by the state government.

He said though political office holders from the state have abandoned the office which also houses the state governor's lodge , only a few activities take place at the building.

"Our  major problem is vehicles, because political officials do not use this place, government has abandoned it forgetting that civil servants do come here but we don't have operational cars to move around Lagos."

He said the building has not been properly maintained because the state government  " just abandoned us here."

The official said the state lodge which also doubles as the state liaison office has been receiving funding but not regularly. "We do have funding every month to take care of this place but it has not been regular. Last time we received funding  was in November last year."

Asked when last a serving governor lodged at the state house annex in Lagos, the source said  " No governor has ever slept here in recent time. The last governor that slept here was Jolly Nayme during his first tenure. Tthe governors do cite security reasons but you know most of them prefer to stay  in hotels but senior civil servants like directors, permanent   still use this place  even in its dilapidated condition"

The official was quick to note that the major work they do is to receive government officials from airport. " like recently the First Lady, Mrs Suntai who was returning from Dubia, we were on hand to receive her at the international airport and drive her to the local airport where she joined another flight going to Yola. Also, we received letters on behalf of our state government and we deliver them promptly, we also offer in formation about our state to the public."

The official denied knowledge that miscreants have taken over the building. "We have never seen any non official of our state government using this facility. It might be applicable in other states lodge but not that of Taraba."  However, Borno and Kogi states offices are currently undergoing renovation.

Residents of the area who spoke to Peoples Daily Weekend correspondent expressed concern on the influx of northerners living in most of the laision offices.

Akinwale Olarenwaju said " we always see people from the north here, most of them are homeless so they live here, if you come here in the night you will see many of them sleeping outside, Lagos State officials often come to raid them because they are  are seen as security treats."
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Shocking!5 APC governors eyeing Labour Party

Shocking! APC governors eyeing Labour Party

Five Governors are secretly making subterranean moves to dump the All progressive Congress (APC) for the Labour Party on May 1, Workers Day, 2014, as a result heavy handedness of party leadership.

Our sources, who craved anonymity, disclosed that Governors Okorocha, Amosun, Amaechi, Kwankwanso and Oshiomhole are among the first batch of decampers which would swell up the rank of Labour Party and make the party a major opposition party in Nigeria, reducing the iron-clad influence of Tinubu. El-Rufai, Tambuwal, Ribadu, Fashola, even Shekarau are said to prefer the Labour Party option.

"This will surely burst the bubble off Tinubu who now dictates to all the governors, legislators and aspirants in APC without regard for the principles of democracy or consensus", a source who would not be named said. "Tinubu is now like a god of APC and it is unacceptable. He almost always unilaterally dictates all policy and decisions of the APC from his Bourdillion Palace. This must be resisted, whether you call it betrayal, instability,or what have you. It is politics and in politics interests govern!", a political aide to one of the southern governors who craved anonymity said.

It is perceived that the aggrieved governors believe that their individual ambitions are fatally threatened within the APC, especially with the disturbing influx of strange characters from the old brigade of PDP, people with competing and insatiable political ambitions. Politicians from the CPC and ANPP are somewhat confused on what remedial steps to take after they realize lately the handwriting on the wall and perceived that they may have been used to achieve a self-serving ambition of the mystery Tinubu.

They reckon that their merged parties are legally dead, and it shameful to return to the PDP. Shekarau is said to have first moved this position but because he was probably misunderstood and apparently victimized for that by the taking of the Kano state structure from him by the APC, he was left with the option of migrating to the PDP. It is believed that he would return if this plan sail through.

In this Labour Party plot, it is believed that Adams Oshiomhole is to be presented as Presidential Candidate because of his general acceptability to north and south and also because he's from the south-south where the President is from. By the permutation, either El-Rufai, Lamido or Tambuwal would be Vice Presidential candidate while Fashola would be prepared to lead the Senate and Okorocha the House of Representatives and Buhari, if he moves in, would be leader of the party." a reliable source disclosed.

It is also rumoured that Buhari may lead the next batch of other APC decampees to Labour Party immediately after the APC Primaries, depending on the outcome. This plan was allegedly hatched in Benin during the smokescreen Youth Carnival where Fashola came to endorse Oshiomhole in Benin, whch seriously offended Tinubu.

According to another source in Sokoto, the main reason for the reexodus and realignment of forces into the Labour Party is "to extricate the true progressives from the current outlook of the APC which is now perceived among Nigerians as the Old PDP with the deregulated influx of everyone in the old PDP that ruined Nigeria".

It is however also believed that this plan is a ploy to preserve the political ambition of the new breeds like Oshiomhole, El-Rufai, Lamido and Tambuwal from political emasculation and annihilation by the schemings of the Tinubu Cabal which many believe is only using unsuspecting governors and legislators to build his APC and corner power for himself or his stooges.
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