Zamfara: Matawalle’s Administration Impoverished The State, Says SSG

The Zamfara State government says it has embarked on some reforms to correct what it described as four years of mismanagement of the state’s resources by the immediate past administration.

Speaking at a press conference in Gusua on Tuesday, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Malam Abubakar Nakwada, said, “The purpose of this conference is to throw light on some of the activities of the immediate past administration of the former Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle, which greatly imperiled the state institutions, wreaked havoc on the state’s economy and rolled back some of the progress made since the creation of Zamfara State in 1996.”
The SSG announced the dissolution of new districts created in December 2022 and ordered the immediate suspension of the affected district and village heads.

The government also ordered a “return to status quo ante” even as it also directed the sack of permanent secretaries appointed after the last general elections.

The SSG said, “a well-articulated rationalization and harmonization of MDAs will be undertaken to reduce the cost of governance and improve efficiency, and details will be announced in due course.”

He regretted that the state was on the verge of collapse as at the time of the inauguration of the new government, with the state becoming incapable of fulfilling most of its responsibilities.

According to the SSG, “the purpose of this conference is to throw light on some of the activities of the immediate past administration of the former Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle, which greatly imperilled the state institutions, wreaked havoc on the state’s economy and rolled back some of the progress made since the creation of Zamfara State in 1996.

“This initiative is part of Governor Dauda Lawal’s administration’s commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in governance.

“As an administration that came to power through our people’s overwhelming and unprecedented support, we have a great responsibility to keep them informed about the true State of affairs.

“We are all living witnesses to how Zamfara State was run with reckless abandon by Bello Matawalle’s administration over the past four years.

“That administration indulged in excessive and wasteful spending as well as the rampant looting of government property.

“It is truly disheartening that while our peers have made significant progress in their respective states, we are still grappling with a myriad of issues caused by insatiable greed and the lack of patriotism exhibited by the immediate past administration.

“For the first time in the history of our State, workers were unable to receive their salaries for two consecutive months, despite the availability of ample resources during the twilight of the immediate past administration.

“This unfortunate situation has subjected our workforce to unimaginable hardship and hunger, which in turn has had a detrimental impact on numerous businesses around the state, which largely depend on patronage from workers “Gladly, our administration has successfully settled the outstanding salary arrears for the two months and is actively working to ensure the timely payment of June salaries.

“The former administration exhibited utter negligence towards the critical sectors of the state’s economy, and education was not spared.

“The sector has noticeably deteriorated, a fact that all citizens of Zamfara State can attest to.

“To compound matters, the time-honoured government intervention to ensure that all secondary school candidates sit for WAEC and NECO examinations was abandoned.

“If not for the decisive intervention of our administration, our secondary school children would have been denied the opportunity to take this year’s NECO SSCE.

“Furthermore, it is truly alarming that an astounding amount of over N50 billion was allocated to projects within the Government House that have little to no direct impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

“To make matters worse, many of these projects remain either incomplete or non-existent.

“Additionally, an astonishing sum of about N11.5 billion was expended on the construction of the Gusau Airport, yet there is no visible evidence of substantial progress or development.

“Similarly, an unjustifiable amount of 90 per cent payment has been made for the construction of extravagant Governor’s Lodges across the 14 Local Government Areas (LGAs), amounting to over N1 billion.

“Shockingly, there is a lack of concrete evidence to support the necessity of such expenditure, particularly when it comes to furnishing these lodges.

“Similarly, despite the previous administration’s expenditure of over N13 billion in the last four years for the procurement of utility vehicles, the present administration did not inherit any of these vehicles.

“We are resolute in our commitment to utilizing all legal avenues to recover these vehicles on behalf of the people of our beloved State and to prevent such incidents from occurring again in the future. “Furthermore, the Government will ensure that all individuals involved in this reprehensible act of vehicle theft are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Most of these instances of theft, impunity, and reckless abandon were facilitated by a pervasive lack of record-keeping culture deeply ingrained in the public service of Zamfara State Our initial experiences within close to a month of assuming office have revealed the prevalence of this culture of non-record keeping across numerous Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), and in many cases, it appears to be intentional.

“Accountability will be demanded, and the accounting officers will be held responsible for any breaches or failures in this regard. It is our firm stance that effective record-keeping is fundamental to transparent and efficient governance, and we are committed to instilling this principle across all levels of public service.

“The general public should be made aware that the judicial arm of the State is currently non-functional due to dilapidated structures and poor working conditions.

“As part of a comprehensive reform programme aimed at reversing the sordid condition of our dear state, the government will take several actions in the coming days.

“It is evident that we must work harder to expand our State’s revenue base and meet the aspirations of our large population for more effective and efficient service delivery.

“The government will explore all possible areas that can be leveraged to increase the revenue base in order to acquire more resources to address the development needs of our state and enhance the well-being of our people.”