The recession announced by the government since August is biting hard, government runnng cost is very high. The citizens are paying hard for the cash crunch that had befallen the country since the Buhari administration took over.
Prompted by these concerns, NAN conducted a survey which revealed that governors in each state of the federation have an average of 100 political appointees, including commissioners, totalling 3,600 aides for all the governors, at the average.
In the North-Central zone, it was discovered that the governor of Niger, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, has 317 aides, aside from 14 commissioners. His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Jide Orintusi, told newsmen that the governor appointed that number of aides “to ensure efficient services”.
He said that there were 15 Special Advisers and 274 Special Assistants appointed from the 274 wards in the state by the governor. In addition, Oruntusi said that the governor had 25 Senior Special Assistants and three Zonal Special Advisers representing the three senatorial districts in the state.
He explained that the daily responsibility of the aides was to tackle issues bordering on politics, economy and security. In Plateau, that Gov. Simon Lalong has no fewer than 60 aides, including four Special Advisers and 21 Liaison Officers – one for the National Assembly, three for House of Assembly and one each for the 17 local government areas in the state.
A reliable source at the Office of Secretary to the State Government said that the governor would have appointed more aides “but for lack of resources”. In Niger and Plateau, it was difficult to ascertain the remuneration of the aides as the sources declined comments on it and no one in the SSG’s office was forthcoming with the information.
But in Taraba, it was revealed that the 10 Special Advisers to Gov. Darius Ishaku earn about N400, 000 monthly, while the 100 Senior Special Assistants and 100 Special Assistants engaged by him take home N200, 000 and N100, 000 each monthly respectively.
In all, the governor has 210 aides, in addition to 20 commissioners. A competent source said in Jalingo that appointment of aides was ongoing “as the governor said he would be appointing them as the need arises”.
“The number will rise in the days ahead because even last week, someone showed me his appointment letter as a Special Assistant,” the source said. He disclosed that about 90 per cent of the governor’s aides had neither portfolios nor schedules of duty.
In Nasarawa state, Gov. Umaru Al-Makura has appointed 66 aides since the inception of his second term, according to Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Suleiman Azores. Azores said in Lafia that the aides comprised 30 Special Assistants, 20 Senior Special Assistants and 16 Special Advisers. He declined comment on the salary of the aides, but said that they had been living up to their responsibilities “by helping the governor to deliver good governance’’.
On his part, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has appointed 47 aides since his assumption of office on Jan. 27, 2016. His Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Alhaji Abdulkarim Abdulmalik, confirmed this to pressmen in Lokoja.
He said that the number of aides comprised the Chief of Staff to the Governor and Deputy Chief of Staff, deployed to serve the Deputy Governor; 15 Commissioners, 21 Special Advisers and 10 Senior Special Assistants.
Abdulmalik said that the governor would appoint more senior special assistants soon, adding that the number of aides so far appointed was few when compared with what obtained in the last administration.
In Benue, report gathered show that Gov. Samuel Ortom has no fewer than 70 political appointees, including 13 commissioners and 20 special advisers.
In Akwa Ibom, it was revealed that besides 20 commissioners, Gov. Udom Emmanuel has 145 aides comprised of six special advisers, 84 special assistants, 43 personal assistants and 12 protocol assistants.
The remuneration of these aides, pressmen gathered, ranged from N70, 000 per month for personal assistants to 250, 000 monthly for special assistants. And, in Cross River, from 25 commissioners in the last administration of Liyel Imoke, the governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, increased the number by three, to 28 commissioners currently, and attributed it to his “vision on governance’’.
Apart from the Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff, the governor, who doubles as Tourism and Culture Commissioner, also has no fewer than 84 other aides made up of 33 special advisers and 51 special assistants.
According to Ita, the salaries of the aides were paid according to the structure that was domesticated by the State House of Assembly. “A commissioner earns about N400, 000, special adviser takes home N300, 000 and special assistant, about N150, 000 monthly.
The survey in Edo showed that a total of 1,093 persons were currently working with Gov. Adams Oshiomhole as aides. The figure comprised commissioners, special advisers, executive directors, senior special assistants and special assistants. The survey also revealed that salaries of the aides, aside from commissioners and directors, range from N120,000 for special assistants to N350,000 for special advisers.
In Bayelsa, it was revealed that the governor has over 45 political aides. An official in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, who preferred anonymity, confirmed this and said that the appointees, who excluded 21 commissioners, earned about N180, 000 monthly. However, Mr Moses Odo, a former Special Assistant to Gov. Seriake Dickson on Student Affairs, said that political appointees were paid N500, 000 monthly during the governor’s first term.
In the South-West, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state has 23 commissioners and 14 special advisers. Aside from the commissioners, chief of staff and secretary to the state government, other appointees, it was revealed, receive salary and allowances that range from N100, 000 to N500, 000. A source said that all the aides of the governor had responsibilities that they carried out daily, and that he appointed them to support him in administering the state.