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Nigerian Governors and Matters Arising

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What Nigerians have an unarguable consensus is that state leadership in most states in the country has fallen on wrong people. The actions and utterances of most state Governors have persistently validated their ignorance about the briefs of the executive offices they occupy and a clear lack of capacity to govern a state.

But is not surprising because most of them sought the mandate of such exalted offices by the attraction of the perks of office, the paraphernalia, prestige, or panache it confers on the holder. Unfortunately, the people were misled into entrusting them with such tasking mandates.

Such Governors are devoid of a mindset fixated on service delivery to the people to etch their names on the sandstone of leadership. By their mere utterances’, it is easy to decipher that some states are in pathetic and serious danger, with such leaders, who are more like foes to the people they govern.

So, there is the conspicuous absence of vision and mission to accomplish. They have no agenda, no focus or development blueprint, but just govern on impulse and instincts. But good leadership transcends such localized idiosyncrasies’. It is not happenstance, but a function of clearly articulated vision and sustained by positive action.

The Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state led Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) went with a delegation of his colleagues to Jos to commiserate with Plateau Governor Simon Lalong over the recent killings in the state. It was easy to establish through their comments that some of these Governors are probably don’t understand what happened to their states.

From this parade of Governors, Nigerians know those who are complicit on insecurity in their states. Yet, they had the effrontery to tongue-lash our patriotic and selfless Service Chiefs and to call for their sack.

So, the Governors self-righteously mulled with the idea of compelling President Muhammadu Buhari to sack all the Service Chiefs for the flimsy reason that killings have continued in Nigeria. But they argued that they would first have an interface with the Security Chiefs.

Some of these Governors were part of the last administration, which allowed the entrenchment of violent criminality and armed local conflicts in the system because of its inaction and complacency. Yet, they are still blind and hypocritical to the observable difference on security now under President Buhari and the current Service Chiefs.

To underscore this, Yari said; “We are going to, very soon as we have agreed collectively, have a one-day interface with the security chiefs, to ensure that they understand where we are and how this thing is depleting the relationship between the citizens and as a nation the threat that we are under, as we are under a time bomb as leaders.”

Put differently, the congregation of Governors were demanding accountability from Service Chiefs , something clearly beyond their purview of official responsibilities. It is farcical for the NGF, a body which has no constitutional backing to seek accountability from government functionaries recognized by law. Must these Governors be told that the Service Chiefs are only answerable to the Commander –in-Chief?

Yari laughably said; “They (security chiefs) should do their jobs perfectly or else, we have no option than to ask the President to relieve them, that’s the only point.”

Unexpectedly, the Governors outbursts exposed them as leaders least aware of the severity of the insecurity problems in their state, and have slumbered on it. It advertised them as leaders who would never have bothered about the security of lives and property of the citizenry in their states, had they not been threatened by the prospects of becoming direct victims of the killings. Ironically, the Service Chiefs have ever been concerned.

Hear Yari; “We must do something as leaders now; if not, the killers will soon come after us the leaders of the people.” That’s the level of unawareness in the supposed leaders of the states. And they feel the only way to exercise the leadership vacuum they epitomize is to bamboozle and intimidate Service Chiefs with their flimflam public verbal engagement to sermonize on the necessity of sacking the Security Chiefs.

Nigerians have suffered a lot of injustices and neglect by these leaders. And national parliamentarians have done a painful injustice to the country by failing to enact laws which make security votes accountable.

The absence of the law has given some Governors liberty to feel security votes, which are in hundreds of millions of naira and monthly released to them are the personal funds of the Governors. As State Chief Security Officers they are pained to commit the funds to potential security threats to nip crisis in the bud or render logistics support in crisis situations.

In most states, not just security votes that develop wings upon its receipt from the federation account. Even salary allocations and intervention funds for development suffer similar blight. They are rather seeking to absolve themselves of the glaring blame and hunting for scapegoats to hang for their leadership lapses.

They prefer not to know that they have failed the people by reneging on the security responsibilities in their states, as against Security Chiefs who are committed to their jobs and daily work endlessly to enthrone peace and security. Even at that some of these Governors go behind the scenes to frustrate the efforts of the military in the performance of these special assignments.

These Governors should know it is not just enough to mouth about the “failure” of Security Chiefs. It is illusory to feel the failures of the Governors on security would translate into the sacking of the Service Chiefs. If the insecurity in their states is truly bad as they have painted, it means they have failed too, because it is their first cardinal obligation to the citizenry. And they ought to show patriotism, as reflected in the clue offered in the contemplation of by Gov.Yari.

Ibekwe, a public affairs writes commentator wrote from Enugu State.

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