By John Moyibi Aomoda
THE governor elected as the ANPP governor and the 17 ANPP co-defectors have not conducted themselves as representatives of the ANPP faction of the Bauchi electorate, neither have the 9 PDP legislators conducted themselves as the elected representatives of the PDP factions of the Bauchi electorate.
Both the ANPP and the PDP legislators have acted as principals, not as agents elected to carry out the mandate of their principals, the electors.Â They have acted as is if sovereignty belongs to them as the elected and that the electors after casting their votes ceased to exist as electors.Â The Bauchi ANPP governor and the ANPP legislators have rejected Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution and see Mohammed Gadi boldly upholding of the Constitution as a betrayal of the governor.
Harsano Gayaba, representing Kirfi constituency said: â€œâ€¦That there was no state in Nigeria where the deputy and his boss belonged to different parties, adding that, â€œGadi should be a gentleman by either joining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or to be morally disgraced and/or politically rubbished.
According to him: â€œSection 187(1) is clear and implies that if the governor belongs to A party and moves to party B his deputy should follow him, and Sections 187 and 188 back it when you give them genuine interpretation under the removal of governor and deputy governor from officeâ€ (TELL).
More questions are raised by Guyabaâ€™s reading of the Constitution. What do the sections mentioned by him formally say?Â How should these sections be interpreted in terms of Sections 13 and 14 (1) and (2)?
The answers to these two questions begin with Section 186: â€œThere shall be for each State of the Federation a Deputy Governorâ€.
Why does the Constitution provide for that office?Â Section 181(1) answers that question:
â€œIf a person duly elected as governor dies before taking and subscribing the oath of allegiance and oath of office, or is unable for any reason whatsoever to be sworn in, the person elected with him as deputy governor shall be sworn in as governor and he shall nominate a new deputy-governor who shall be appointed by the governor with the approval of simple majority of the House of Assembly of the stateâ€.
The existence of the deputy governor therefore prevents a vacuum from being created by the death, impeachment or resignation of the governor.Â The deputy-governor is the governorâ€™s surrogate or alterego or the governing in-waiting.
All that is required is that there should be in waiting a deputy governor who can takeover the administration of the office of governor without any break.Â The deputy governor is not a subordinate of the governor but a governor-in-waiting; substitutable governor; A person who can deputise for the governor, that is govern in the place of the governor as occasions demand.
Functionally, a deputy governor should be of one mind with the governor for that office to be effective.Â How is the deputy governor of one mind with the governor?Â This is accomplished by both being elected for the purpose, namely to effectively execute the mandate of the electors. It is for that reason that the privilege is accorded to the candidate for the office of governor to nominate his or her deputy.Â This is the import of Section 187(1) which reads as follows:
â€œIn any election to which the foregoing provisions of this part of this chapter relate, a candidate for the office of governor of a state shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of governor, who is to occupy the office of deputy governor; and that candidate shall be deemed to have been duly elected to the office of deputy governor if the candidate who nominated him is duly elected as governor in accordance with the said provisions.
It is clear that there is only one election to validly confirm the gubernatorial candidate as governor, the election the candidate contests alongside the candidateâ€™s nominee as deputy governor.Â The deputy governor does not stand for an election; his or her election is an implication of the election of the gubernatorial candidate, just as his or her defeat at the polls is also an implication of the defeat of the gubernatorial candidate.
The Deputy governor is constitutionally the replacement for the governor.Â This is why the provisions that affect the governor equally applies to the deputy.Â Section 187(2) spells this out: â€œ(2) The provision of this part of this chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and oath of governor shall apply in relation to the office of deputy governor as if references to governor were references to deputy governorâ€.
Section 178(4) indicate that both the governor and the deputy governor represent the same constituency and have one mandate – the governorâ€™s mandate. â€œFor the purpose of an election under this section a State shall be regarded as one constituencyâ€.
For the office of the governor, the deputy is identically mandated by the state as is the governor.Â The constituency knows that there is always one with the same charge that is prepared to step into the shoes of the governor when he or she is unable to discharge the duties of the office.Â Â Such is the importance of continuity that the state constituency will not nominate a governor who cannot nominate a deputy, one who can step in and continue where the former is felled.