VON DG warns against conceding more powers to governors

Posted by News Express | 14 May 2021 | 371 times

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•VON DG Okechukwu




The Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has cautioned against conceding more powers to the governors as it would put the country’s democracy in grave danger.

Okechukwu issued the warning in a statement made available to newsmen in Enugu on Thursday while reacting to the outcome of the recently held Southern Governors Summit.

He called on Nigerians to look beyond the frenzy of restructuring as canvassed by the Southern Governors’ Summit in Asaba, Delta State.

He advised Nigerians to tread carefully and not to see socio-economic and security challenges facing the country as a reason to give more powers to governors who are already mismanaging their powers as ‘Emperors’. 

According to him, giving more powers to governors will by omission or commission create Frankenstein Monsters which will put our democracy in harm’s way.

The VON boss recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 endorsed the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, granting financial autonomy to the State Judiciary and State Legislatures, as foundation for real restructuring.

“But, painfully, two years down the line, the governors have refused to implement it,” he said.

Okechukwu maintained that Nigerians cannot expect good governance when the governors acting as `Emperors’ had locked up all democratic institutions in the state.

He said: “Whereas one endorsed the Southern Governors communiqué that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps should be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation.

“Thus, leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.

“One is, however, of the candid view that we need Dual-Restructuring. First, we need Dual-Restructuring to restructure democratic state institutions so as to unlock state judiciary, state legislatures and Local Government Councils.

“It will be paradoxical for us to expect good governance at the sub-national level when the governors have locked up democratic institutions.

“Secondly, we need to devolve relevant powers from the Exclusive and Legislative Lists to states and local government councils. Let us introspect and come to the reality that all is not well at the grassroots.

“For instance in 2018, the President endorsed the amendment of the 1999 Constitution, where the State Judiciary and State Legislatures were granted financial autonomy, as foundation for real restructuring. Two years down the line the governors breached this amendment by refusing to implement Section 121(3).

“By this flagrant infraction of our Constitution the governors painfully demonstrated their phobia to independent judiciary and legislative oversight functions – planks which good governance is rested on in all successful liberal democracies.

“To give life to Section 121(3) two years down the line the President signed Executive Order 10 in 2020 and the governors in uncommon bi-partisanship headed to the Supreme Court to block the Executive Order 10. The outcome is the paralysis of activities at the judiciary nationwide by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

“Earlier on, parliamentary workers nationwide were on strike, at huge collateral damage to national development. The question is why didn’t the governors implement the amendment of the Section 121(3)?”

Okechukwu said that there are doubts if the rights of the citizenry can be guaranteed if State Police is enacted under ‘Emperor’ governors without independent judiciary and legislative oversight functions.

He said: “What happens to the people in the opposition under State Police with His Excellencies? This is without being immodest or personal.

“Can transparency and accountability be guaranteed when more money is devolved to states with ‘Rubber Stamp’ legislatures?”’

Okechukwu maintained that “for our collective good and prosperity of the greatest number of our people, we should shine our eyes and use the golden opportunity presented by adversity to embark on Dual-Restructuring.”

He added: “Luckily the President Buhari has commenced this patriotic and democratic journey.”

Source: News Express

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