The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, on Thursday, in New Delhi, India, stunned different chief executives of Indian manufacturing companies when he reportedly turned down requests for fresh supply contracts that may take more than two months to execute.
Governor Shettima, who was on an official shopping spree for advanced medical equipment for the new hospitals built and renovated at the twilight of his administration, said he would sign contracts “if only they can deliver before he leaves office on May 29.”
His eight years stint as governor comes to a constitutional end in the next 54 days.
Mr Shettima, now a Senator-elect, said going into any long term agreement with any contractor would amount to assuming the powers of the incoming governor. The governor elect is Babagana Umara.
At a business meeting in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, Governor Shettima met with executives of Indian firms.
He had earlier informed local media in Maiduguri that his trip to Asian country was to meet medical equipment manufacturers to negotiate discounts and take immediate delivery of hundreds of light weight diagnostic equipment.
The equipment are needed as daily components of high tech medical equipment that have already been imported and being installed in 18 renovated General Hospitals.
The state commissioner of health, Dr Salisu Kwayabura, had informed PREMIUM TIMES that 11 hospitals have so far been “overhauled, expanded and upgraded, alongside seven newly built General Hospitals”.
What transpired in India- Aide
According to a statement issued via an email at 5.30 a.m. by Governor Shettima’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, who is part of the trip, the governor granted audience to different company delegations “who used diplomatic contacts and existing relationships to request audience”.
“Majority of the companies sought to be given contracts to make multi-sectoral supplies or carry out projects concerning education, agriculture, healthcare and vocational skills acquisition amongst others, most of which will take at least the next six months to take course,” Mr Gusau said.
The governor met them at a meeting room in Leelah hotel located at the Diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, “where he turned down all requests for him to sign contracts that goes beyond six months”, the aide added.
“To be frank with you all, I do not intend to award any contract or enter into any new agreement that will extend my remaining two months in office,” Mr Shettima said in a quote sent in by his spokesman.
“I am leaving office insha’Allah on May 29, 2019. To me, entering a new contract knowing fully well that such contracts cannot be completed in the next two months will amount to disrespecting and perhaps even trapping the incoming governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
“He is my brother and friend but part of my resolution is that there can’t be two captains in a ship. I will not trap him with any company. He has been part of most of my international trips. He is broad minded and has contacts, I will want him to make his own decisions because he is the one that will work with any supplier or contractor for anything I sign with any of you. It will be very unfair. I am sorry.
“I am mainly here to give executive orders when my commissioner of health who is consultant physician and a grounded administrator of hospitals, identifies light weight medical equipment that are the things we need. We have taken delivery of many high tech and bigger size medical equipment and we dealt directly with the manufacturers to negotiate good discounts for the state.
“These equipment are already installed and being put to use. However, there are many other light weight equipment for diagnosis that we need. The Commissioner knows them but because we need them urgently, I decided to come with him since he alone can’t give executive orders. He would keep referring to me if I don’t come and that will create delays.
“So, I will suggest that any company looking for new imports that will extend May 29 to get done, should please wait for the incoming Governor. I will not impose any contractor on him,” he said.
India is one of the few developing countries that have achieved versatile manufacturing potential in the pharmaceutical industry.
Mr Shettima is expected to return to Nigeria at the weekend.