The NGF has commenced another peer review process.
The Director General of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, Ashishana Okauru, has commended the Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wammako for increased funding for education in the state since assuming office in 2007.
Mr. Okauru, who spoke on Wednesday at the council chamber of the Sokoto State Government House, said the Wamakko administration declared a state of emergency on education, adding that “since then, approximately 27 per cent of its annual budget had gone into funding education”.
The director-general spoke at a meeting of the NGF’s team on State Peer Review with members of the Sokoto State Executive Council and other top government officials. He recalled that the state government had last month inaugurated the state university built by the Wammako administration.
Mr. Okauru also lauded the government on its achievement in the health sector, which he said included the construction of 120 Primary Health Care Centres, PHCs; upgrading of nine PHCs to General Hospitals; upgrading of 21 clinics to PHCs; and the procurement of 30 ambulances for a programme on rural medicare.
Mr. Okauru said his comments were based on the report of the NGF secretariat which embarked on a peer review of all the 36 states in Nigeria between 2009 and 2010. He said the team visited Sokoto State from April 31 to May 3, 2010.
The official said although the reviews were not based on any bench marking standards, they provided opportunity for the states to showcase their achievements as well as share their challenges with the NGF review team.
Mr. Okauru, however, said the peer review team had during their visit discovered that the budget process in Sokoto State was very weak, particularly in the area of project costing. He also added that his team had observed that the Sokoto State civil service was ageing; describing it as “a case of inverted pyramid,” in which people with experience do not appear to have capable hands to replace them due to the gap in employment processes.
He said the NGF in collaboration with the U.K. Department for International Development, DFID, in 2009 articulated and adopted a systematic and robust Peer Review Process that was launched in Abuja on May 18, 2011 by the Forum as part of the 2011 Induction Programme for new and returning governors.
“This is what is currently being implemented in states,” he said.
Mr. Okauru said the peer review, SPRM, was conceived by the NGF as an instrument to assist states in accelerating the pace of their development, through periodic reviews of progress in the implementation of their development policies, plans and programmes in a non-adversarial manner. He added that the objective is to help states share experiences among themselves.
The DG said the team was in Sokoto to commence the SPRM process in the state, adding that the meeting aimed at presenting to the gathering the tools and methodology of the peer review with a view to agreeing on a road map for moving forward.
“The SPRM is neither a finger pointing exercise nor scorecard, but an instrument for advancing development and knowledge sharing in states,” Mr. Okauru said.
In his short remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Sa’ad Gada, who represented Governor Wamakko at the meeting, said Sokoto welcomes the idea of states reviewing themselves and learning from one another so as to hasten development.
He informed the NGF team that since their last visit, a lot of infrastructural development have been achieved in the state.
According to him, the state had been welcoming visitors lately because of the high level of development being witnessed. He also announced that Sokoto will host a meeting of all governors under the aegis of the NGF on Friday.
“Sokoto is ready and we will make the governors’ stay memorable,” he said.
Mr. Gada, however, advised the NGF SPRM team to take note of the income disparity among states while doing their assessment.