Thanks for your response Mr. Shehu Balogun. I like going to a debate armed with facts, and I see no hard facts in your reply. When you say "look at the resources available to those thieves", you do not specify exactly how much. How can you call someone a thief, when you cannot even say how much he has access to. Secondly, you imply that there are no roads, hospitals, electricity, water etc in Kwara State. Well, I live in Kwara State, and I know that there are roads, electricity and other social ammenities as any visitor to Kwara State will attest. Case in point, Ilesha Baruba - Kosubosu Chikanda road Section II and III were completed in 2009. KWARMA rehabilitated 60 roads across the state in 2009. A flyover has been constructed at the Post Office axis of Ilorin to ease traffic congestion. The Ganmo stepdown substation was commissioned in 2009 with a subsequent improvement in electricity within and beyond Ilorin metropolis. There is a strong rural electrification effort that is visible for all to see.
But over and beyond this, you cannot judge Dr. Bukola Saraki on the basis of the amenities which are being provided in Lagos state, since the need of Lagos and Kwara State are different. If Fashola was in Kwara State his priorities in governance would be different. Bear in mind that Kwara State had a budget of 72 billion in 2009 while Lagos state had a budget of 405 billion to list just one area of difference. Dr. Bukola Saraki decided to make the focus of his administration economic prosperity and progress centered around diversification of the economy and creating a business friendly environment, because he believed it to be in the best interest of the state. Thus he has had to prioritize spending, delaying instant gratification for long term benefits. If we are to debate, would you say that he should have allocated the resources of the state to creating social amenities that the economy of the state cannot support on the long run, or he should have curbed spending on social infrastructure to invest for the future. As an aside, I have not seen a long list of abandoned projects under Dr. Bukola Saraki's administration. I have rarely seen a project that was started by his administration and abandoned halfway. He always insists on starting projects which are sustainable and which will be completed.
@Bridget: In saying that Dr. Bukola Saraki is the best governor in Nigeria, I am not only taking into consideration his achievements, but also the resources at his disposal. In 8 years of his administration he has succeeded in putting together an impressive portfolio of economic assets for Kwara State, which have set it irreversibly on the path to economic growth. Bear in mind that when Dr. Bukola Saraki assumed office, Kwara State was heavily indebted, and almost entirely dependent on federal government allocations. In fact, Kwara State was spending 65% of its financial resources on recurrent expenditure. You are comparing Lagos with Kwara, but bear in mind that in 2010, Lagos State has a budget of 429.56 billion, while Kwara State has a budget of 69.4 billion. Very few men could have recorded the achievement of Dr. Bukola Saraki on such slim financial resources. This is the reason I consider him to be the best governor in Nigeria.
This is a very interesting discussion, please allow me to contribute my bit. In my opinion, I think Dr. Bukola Saraki is a first rate governor. Certainly, his contemporaries are not the likes of Akala. I think that Dr. Bukola Saraki has been done a disservice by a lack of persistent and overwhelming presentation of his ideas and accomplishments in the mass media. I believe that this partly accounts for the fact that he does not get the credit that is his due, though he has been honored severally by credible organizations which have taken the time to examine his accomplishments objectively and critically.
It may be news to you, but I know for a fact that Kwara has the third smallest federal allocation in the country. The economy of Lagos State is in fact the biggest in the country, with well established private sector participation. When Dr. Bukola Saraki took office, Kwara State was almost entirely dependent on federal allocation. Certainly one would expect a good leader to focus on growing the economy of such a financially weak state. The focus of Lagos state has been the mega-city project. Dr. Bukola Saraki had to set different priorities for Kwara state, which was nowhere near Lagos in terms of economic development. He inevitably had to start his administration by creating conducive conditions for private investment as well as diversifying the economic base. With very good reason he chose agriculture as the cornerstone of his strategy. Please see his excellent paper "BEYOND NATURAL RESOURCES" - http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=192819640507 for his rationalization of this decision. Out of deference to space, let me pose this last question - is the worth of a man determined by the circumstances, which it is not his good fortune to enjoy, or what he has been able to make of the circumstances in which he finds himself. Any fair minded person will judge any other person based on what he or she has been able to do with the circumstances in which he or she finds himself. That said, judged on his own merit, I concur with the assertion that Dr. Bukola Saraki is a first rate governor, and arguably the best governor in Nigeria. Thank you.
Thank you Mr. Balogun for the depth of learning you bring to this discussion. The issue of "budget against execution" is a very valid point, not only in this instance, but in measuring the performance of anyone in public office. However, I would like to bring some other pertinent facts to the table. I did some research, and I discovered that Lagos State has an area of about 3,475 km2 and a GDP(2007) of $33.68billion, on the other hand Kwara State has the third lowest federal allocation in the country, an area of 36,285 km2, and a GDP of $3.84billion. In short Kwara State has more than ten times the land mass of Lagos state, and Lagos has more than 10 times the GDP. Imagine the visual impact if all the projects undertaken by Dr. Bukola Saraki were concentrated into an area as small as Lagos state. Manchester, which you use as an example is only 115km2. It is unlikely that in your visits home you got to Chikanda, Tsonga, Afon, Kosubosu, Omu-Aran, and many other areas in rural Kwara experiencing the impact of rural electrification, road maintenance and construction, water provision, health insurance. As a project manager, I believe that there is room for factoring in the two parameters I mentioned (land mass, GDP) in evaluating performance. Inasmuch as I do not have the figures for a budget/execution analysis I still salute the difficult juggling act that Dr. Bukola Saraki has had to manage - continued provision of basic infrastructure, meeting recurrent expenses, while broadening the economic base of the state, with massive capital projects. I will still address the issues you raised, but I had to raise these additional issues. I await any insight you may provide based on your background as a project manager.