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Departing governors should wind up

PREDICTABLY, there have been some rumblings between governors-elect and departing governors over alleged last-minute financial dealings barely seven weeks to the handover date of May 29, 2019.

Usually during this twilight period between tenure-end and handover, a lot of suspicion exists between departing governors and their prospective successors, especially where there are hostile changes of government.

Hostility often arises when incumbent governors fail to secure a second term (as in the cases of Lagos, Adamawa and Bauchi states) or a departing governor fails to replace himself with a hand-picked successor (Imo and Ogun states) or an opposition political party is coming to power (Imo, Bauchi, Kwara and Adamawa states).

Already, there have been open exchanges between the All Progressives Congress, APC’s outgoing Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, whom the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s incoming Emeka Ihedioha had warned to desist from allegedly borrowing and diverting billions of naira from banks.

The same is true of Bauchi where PDP’s incoming Senator Bala Mohammed has accused the outgoing incumbent, APC’s Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar of plans to employ 8,000 teachers and award the N30,000 minimum wage to workers, which has since been denied.

We wish to advise the outgoing governors that this is not the right time to dabble into any new projects or award new contracts for any reason, whether political, populist or malicious. With only under two months to vacate the seat of power, all outgoing governors should devote the remaining time to finish strong by pursuing the completion of ongoing projects already paid for by the state.

This is the time for winding up and getting the handover records ready to make it easy for newcomers to take off smoothly.

They should bear in mind that the end of their period of immunity is at hand, and any undue financial splurge will result in a spate of prolonged discomfort for them shortly after handing over. The moment of truth and reckoning is around the corner.

On the other hand, the incoming chief executives should be patient, yet vigilant. The tenures of the incumbents are still running. They still have full executive powers until the midnight of May 28, 2019.

They should be allowed to complete their official tenures with dignity and honour. The time to inquire into financial dealings is also in sight. Happily, with the expiration of immunity, the governors will easily be available to answer to any issues concerning their stewardship.

We call on the incoming governors, members of the various state Houses of Assembly, the citizens of the various states and the law enforcement agencies to join hands and ensure that those who engage in the last-minute abuse of their offices are comprehensively brought to account.

Last-minute looting must not be condoned.

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