Last-minute Appointments: How Governors Set Booby Traps For Successors

Incoming governors in 2023 will have a lot of hurdles to cross as their predecessors have increased the cost of governance with permanent and non-permanent appointments as well as awarded contracts for projects with serious financial implications.

In some states, the governors have appointed between 200 and over 200,000 political aides whose remuneration runs into billions of naira.

In this category, three governors from the South-South geo-political zone top with special assistants and liaison officers, whose tasks are not clearly defined.

Last-minute Appointments


Although their sympathisers describe the measure as spreading prosperity among the people of the states, their critics have condemned the approach, saying it is wasteful and the height of political rascality.

On their part, the governors have stoutly defended the appointments, arguing that government is a continuum and that they are, therefore, constitutionally empowered to make such appointments even till their last day in office.

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike recently appointed a total of 200,359 political aides less than seven months to the end of his second and last tenure as governor of the state

While a total of 200,000 were appointed as special assistants on polling units, 359 others were appointed as constituency and local government liaison officers.

Last-minute Appointments


The appointment letters presented to some of the appointees indicated that while each of the special assistants will receive N30,000 as monthly stipends, each of the liaison officers will receive N50,000 every month.

This means that between November 2022 when they will start receiving their allowances and May 29, 2023 when Wike’s tenure will end, the state government will pay the appointees N42.127 billion.

Justifying the appointments, Wike said the special assistants on polling units were being engaged to help his administration finish well.

The governor said: “It is me who is appointing. It is me who wears the shoe that knows where it pinches. It is not you outside because you are not part of the government. I know what it takes and I know these people will help me. Now that I am finishing, I want to finish very well.”

But the opposition political parties in the state and civil society organisations seem not to be comfortable with the appointments which they see as a means of wasting the scarce resources of the state.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Darlington Nwauju, described the appointments as a ‘vote-buying technique’ ahead of the general elections.

Nwauju said: “On the appointment of 200,000 SAs by the state governor and his PDP administration, let me say that it is purely a vote-buying technique ahead of the elections, three months to the 2023 general elections and seven months to the expiration of Governor Wike’s tenure.

“Are you aware that appointments to the office of a special assistant requires that such a fellow should have to make public their assets through the Code of Conduct Bureau. Have you heard of any of these persons approaching the CCB office in Port Harcourt?

“Then again, this appointment is reserved just for members of the PDP as, like I have said before, it is purely targeted at vote buying, ballot snatching and intimidation of political opponents at the polling units. The list of SAs is populated by known roughnecks and certified cultists.

“Where in the state’s budget is the appropriation for this outlandish appointment?  Factually and legally, is it right for the governor of a state who has powers under Section 206 to make appointments of his personal staff to overstretch the obligations of the state just to massage his political ego?

“If the state were so rich as to cater conveniently to this latest obligation, how come the state still owes teachers of the state-owned Demonstration Secondary School? How come the state still owes for close to five years the salaries of RSSDA staff?”

Noting that no new government will contemplate retaining the appointees, he said, “These are bogus appointments that shall expire at the expiration of the tenure of the appointing authority.”

Also speaking with LEADERSHIP in Port, publicity secretary of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the state, Chief Luckyman Egila, said the governor’s appointment of more than 200,000 special assistants would not make any difference for the PDP in the 2023 elections.

Egila said: “The appointment of 100,000 special assistants on polling units is actually the height of political rascality, abuse of power, governance and public trust.

“Governor Nyesom Wike has less than 240 days in office and he is making these frivolous appointments which, of course, is a product of fear and a waste of Rivers’ resources meant for the development of other parts of Rivers State since a majority of his projects are centred in just two local government areas in a state that has 23 LGAs.

“As we all know, these are appointments that were made for the purpose of the forthcoming 2023 Elections, and I don’t think it will make any difference. If he likes he can appoint 500,000 special assistants, it won’t make any difference because Rivers’ people are wiser now and are prepared to come out and vote right, and because for the very first time in the history of our democracy, there is a glimpse of hope that the votes of Nigerians, especially Rivers’ people will count.”

RELATED: First Day In Office, Adeleke Takes Far-reaching Decisions

Also speaking with LEADERSHIP, chairman of the Rivers State Civil Society Organisation (RIVCSO), a coalition of civil society groups in the state, Enefaa Georgewill, described the appointments as “the governor’s ploy to buy votes for his party using the back door.”

Georgewill said: “RIVCSO views the appointment of 200,000 special assistants by the Rivers State governor as a ploy to buy votes for his party using the back door. For a government that has refused to build industries or invest in agriculture for over seven years to employ our army of unemployed youths, to appoint 200,000 aides without known portfolios just less than three months to election can’t convince reasonable people otherwise.

“The governor’s action is equally insensitive to calls of Nigerians and civic groups across the country for the government to reduce the cost of governance. Over-bloated government workforce has been identified as one of the reasons why the government has failed to fund critical infrastructure in the state and country.”

In Cross River State, Governor Ben Ayade has made over 1,000 fresh appointments which, he said, was for the good of the state given the fact that there is general economic hardship,

Apart from numerous appointments of special assistants to put food on the table of young men and women, who hitherto had nothing to eat, the critics of Ayade’s style of governance are of the opinion that such appointments were done at the expense of the state, because money that would have been used to fix the economy of the state is thrown into the garbage as beneficiaries of such appointments are not making contributions of any type to the economy of the state; instead they are a big burden and short-changing the state.

However, in his remarks, a PDP stalwart and one of the youth leaders in Cross River  Central Senatorial district of Cross River State, Mr. Martins Egbe, said although he is not contesting election to occupy any  of the elective offices in the state,  as one who is so concerned about the welfare and wellbeing of the state, he is sure that once the likes of Prof. Sandy Onor wins election to assume the seat of governor, most appointments, especially the ones that are not even necessary, would be reversed.

“Too many people cannot begin to lean on the state doing nothing. They should really work rather than earn money that they don’t work for.”

Another PDP stakeholder to comment on the issue is former Governor Donald Duke, chairman of the newly Inaugurated 1,080 members of the PDP Campaign Council and staunch supporter of the PDP governorship candidate, Senator Sandy Onor. Duke said the appointments were unnecessary.

But in reaction to allegations in some quarters that Governor Ben Ayade is among the state governors wasting the state’s lean resources with mass appointments less than seven months to exit from the seat of government and unnecessarily dabbling into construction of industries that hardly works, Ayade’s special adviser on media and publicity and chief press secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, stated he would not join issues with anyone, adding that “everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own fact”, as per Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

“To start with, the party’s claim that projects undertaken by the governor are bogus is laughable. It is mere political talk that reeks of infantile theatrics.

“If PDP has any modicum of integrity, it would have saved itself the embarrassment of eating its own words by not spewing inanities about the projects.

“Like a drowning man trying desperately to catch at a straw, it is quite convenient for the embattled faction of the PDP in Cross River to forget so soon that just a few months ago when the governor was still in the PDP, its leading lights were all over the place waxing effusively lyrical and heaping platitudes on the same projects they are now describing as bogus.”

Our correspondent was told that Cross River State monthly allocation from the federation account is comparable to states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Bayelsa Lagos and Kano, yet appointments are made almost on a daily basis, with the administration of Prof Ayade a few months to end.


Niger To Employ 3,000 Workers, Votes N3bn For Salary

In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello announced during the presentation of the 2023 budget to the state house of assembly the provision of N3 billion in the budget to recruit 3,000 new workers in the service.

He said the move was to help check unemployment and fill the gap created within the civil service.

LEADERSHIP observed that the state Civil Service Commission (CSC) had already opened its portal for applications to fill the vacant positions.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP on the rationale behind the appointments towards the exit point of the government, the secretary to the state government (SSG), Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, said the process had been on and was based on request from the state’s ministries department and agencies (MDAs) on the need to fill the gaps.

He said from 2017 to date many of the civil servants had retired or died, creating a lot of vacancies which was collated by the CSC to be filled, hence the approval to recruit 3000 new hands.

The SSG said those to be recruited are mostly in health and education sectors where a lot of vacancies exist, adding that there is obviously a shortage of medical doctors and other health officers in the state.

The chairman of the opposition PDP in Niger State, Barrister Tanko Beji, said anything that is not viable cannot be sustained. According to him, recruiting 3000 while those within the service are not well taken care of is not viable and cannot be sustained by the PDP.

Meanwhile, the APC governorship candidate, Hon Umar Mohammed Bago, said his plan was to move the state from a civil service state to a state where business thrives to create employment.


Gov Emmanuel Has 300 Special Aides

Except for about 35 casual workers at the state-run Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC), who were recently converted to full employees in the state civil service, Governor Udom Emmanuel has not made any official appointment of new aides as the lifespan of his administration nears its May 29, 2023 terminal point.

The commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong, who disclosed this yesterday, explained that the conversion of the casual workers to full-fledged civil servants was informed by the need to strengthen the workforce for greater efficiency in the system.

LEADERSHIP, however, gathered that Governor Emmanuel ranks amongst governors parading the highest number of personal assistants (PAs) and special assistants (SAs), who are mostly deployed to the Projects Monitoring Unit.

The information boss was quick to dismiss it as being a burden to the government, explaining that the state was not facing any stiff financial crises not to shoulder such responsibilities as a source of empowering the people.

He said: “If you check, while other states are downsizing their workforce because of lean resources, Akwa Ibom, despite economic downturn occasioned by high level inflation and the bouts of Covid-19 that slowed down most economies, Akwa Ibom has never failed in its obligation to pay salaries as and when due.”

One of the senior aides on media, who spoke to our correspondent, pegged the current number of PAs and SAs at “over 300 official ones and dozens of other unofficial appointees.”

On new contracts, the Commissioner for Works and Fire Service, Prof. Eno Ibanga, said the state government was still battling to complete some of the road works inherited from previous administrations, as well as the new ones initiated by the current administration since its inception in 2015.


Badaru Awards Contracts For Projects Beyond Tenure

Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State is still awarding contracts but most of the contracts can be completed before the end of his tenure.

The contracts he is awarding now are mostly construction and renovation of classrooms and roads, drilling of hand pumps/ conversion of diesel motorized boreholes to solar powered as well as completion and upgrading of some health facilities.

With regards to the appointments, the governor had been accused for not making so many important appointments in his government such as chief of staff, director of press, commissioners of health, agriculture and environment. Few months to his exit, there is no indication of willingness to do any other appointment

Governor Badaru who promised to leave a healthy treasury to his successor had equally admitted to not doing enough in terms of welfare and social assistance.

However, despite the huge gap of manpower in the state public sector, the governor appears unwilling to recruit new permanent workers; rather he recruited 5,000 temporary teachers to replace the over 8,000 permanent teachers  that left service, under a programme, J-Teach.

Ortom Commissions Over 1,500 Security Personnel

Less than six months to the end of the tenure of the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, the governor has inaugurated 1600 Community Volunteer Guards.

The governor, during the passing out parade of the guards in Makurdi, the state capital, said it had become necessary because of worsening insecurity in the country.

However, the APC, through its publicity secretary, Daniel Ihomun, in a statement said the party viewed with a lot of suspicion the sudden flaunting of a security outfit by Ortom at the twilight of his administration.

According to him, “Ortom in defiance to wise counsel by the APC in the state gambled with the lives of the people by assembling ill prepared and untrained outfits – first as State Vigilante, to Civilian Joint Task Force, and to the much-dreaded Livestock Guards – who rather than seek collaborations with other security agencies to bring peace to Benue State has further complicated the security situation in the state”

“With Ortom’s reputation for poor funding of state institutions, will the Community Volunteer Guards who are armed by the state government not turn these arms on the people for their personal survival? Why is this security outfit being established just a few months to the 2023 general elections?

The security adviser to the governor on security, Lt. Col. Paul Hembah, said the governor had also approved the establishment of the Marine Unit of BSCVGs who will be in charge of the state’s waterways.


Tambuwal Recruits 1,000 Workers, Appoints 20 New Perm Secs

In the twilight of his administration, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state has directed the state civil service to recruit one thousand graduates.

Similarly, he swore-in 20 newly appointed permanent secretaries penultimate week.

Justifying his decision, Governor Tambuwal said the directive is in order to address the dearth of qualified manpower and inject new blood into the system to boost service delivery to the people of the state.

Though, not totally against the decision to engage more teachers towards boosting education in the state, Honourable Sani Iliyasu, an APC stalwart in the state asked why was it coming at this dying minute of the administration?

“It is actually a booby trap designed to increase the salary bill for the next administration, so that there will be less money left to touch other areas after payment of salary and other overhead costs.

“No doubt, APC will scrutinise such last-minute appointments and if it is done in good faith, the appointees need not entertain any fear of discrimination as we intend to run a government with a humane face,” Hon. Iliyasu stated.

Oyetola’s Appoints 30 Perm Secs Days To Handover

The immediate past governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola approved the appointment of 30 Permanent Secretaries and also approved the recruitment of personnel into the teaching service and medical sector at the twilight of his administration despite the seemingly lean purse of the state.

However, the new governor, Ademola Adeleke, has announced the reversal of such late appointments by the outgone governor, saying they would be reviewed to gauge their correctness.

Governor Adeleke accused Oyetola of hatching a diabolical plan to create problems for his administration.

Adeleke said during his inauguration: “Since you elected me as your governor on the 16th of July 2022, which the INEC announced on July 17th 2022, the former Governor, Alhaji Isiaka Gboyega Oyetola maliciously started putting road blocks to make things difficult and almost impossible for the new administration to serve you.

“Mass employment were carried out without budgetary provisions for salary payments for the new employees, even when the state was struggling to pay salaries and deliver other services. Various hurried and criminally backdated contracts were awarded and again without budgetary provisions.

“Appointments of several Obas were hurriedly done without following due process, just to mention a few.

“Let me therefore announce an immediate return to status quo of all fresh appointments, placements and other major decisions taken by the immediate past administration with effect from the 17th of July, 2022.”


No New Appointments in Enugu

In Enugu, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has not embarked on massive appointments or awards of capital-intensive projects in recent times but our investigations revealed that the governor has almost completed the rural and urban projects he embarked upon earlier.

The only project embarked upon recently is filling of portholes in the different streets and roads in the capital. Our findings, however, revealed that he had almost completed the exercise.

The only notable appointment that Ugwuanyi made in recent times was the appointment of Professor James Ogbonnia as the Vice Chancellor of the Enugu State University of Medical and Applied Sciences (SUMAC).


Gov Sule Engages 700 Civil Servants

Barely six months to the end of Governor Abdullahi Sule’s tenure in Nasarawa State, no fewer than 700 casual civil servants are expected to be fully considered.

Giving the hint during a public function at the state capital, Governor Sule said only genuine casual staff will be accorded recognition in the exercise that will hold soon.

Sule had, during the presentation of 2023 budget, told the state assembly that his administration would as a matter of urgency convert all the casual workers in the state assembly to permanent staff.

Unconfirmed sources say in the House of Assembly, no fewer 138  are to be given fresh appointments in the state civil service, while at the Bureau for Information Communication Technology (BITC) there are up to 60 casual workers.

It was gathered that the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH) has 95 casual staff working there for the last seven years, while in the agriculture ministry, over 70 casual workers will benefit from the governor’s gesture, among others.


Abia Awards New Road Projects

LEADERSHIP’s investigation indicated that in the last three months, the Abia State government has awarded six road projects which, many believe, will not be completed before the end of the administration.

The roads are Amankalu-Alayi, Ugwueke-Ezeukwu, Igbere, Uzuakoli, Ozuitem and Itunmbauzor communities, all in Bende local government area.

Speaking on the timing of the award of the contracts, the lawmaker representing Aba South state constituency in the House, Hon Obinna Ichita, described them as phoney.

The All Progressives Grand Alliance member said the PDP administration had already earned for itself the unenviable status of awarding contracts without implementation.

Similarly, a civil society activist, Comrade Aloysius Udechukwu said the administration was playing to the gallery when it knew it would leave many projects abandoned.

But reacting to the lawmaker’s response, the chief press secretary to the governor, Barr Onyebuchi Ememanka, said Ichita was not fair to the administration.

“The lawmaker needs to take a second look at what the administration has done in his constituency since it assumed office to decide whether it had not superseded its predecessors,” he said.


Kwara Governor Initiates 2 New Projects, Makes 7 New Appointments

In Kwara State, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has initiated two new projects – an industrial hub to be sited at Amoyo-Idofian in Kwara south and an industrial park at Jimba- Oja, also in Kwara South.

The governor said the hub — comprising agroprocessing and service centres – would be included in the 2023 budget but will take a few years to be completed because of its large scope.

AbdulRazaq said the proposal to site an industrial park in Jimba –  Oja axis was mainly an economic decision to make sure those companies that are located there would have access to energy directly from the national grid.

However, AbdulRazaq is intensifying efforts at completing the legacy projects of his administration. The projects include Kwara Garment Factory, Gbugbu International Market, Oro General Hospital, Kwara ICT Innovation Hub, Kwara Visual Arts Centre and some road projects


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here