Group known as Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Tuesday argued that Nigeria Governors, have the prerogative of disbursing security votes legitimately, noting that former Abia state governor Sen. T. A. Orji, is not an exception.
Disclosing this in a statement signed by the groups President General, Hon. Goodluck Egwu Ibem and Secretary General, Comrade Kanice Igwe, , COSEYL said: “Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, having objectively followed the story making rounds in the media and had observed that: “Governors elected by the people and duly sworn into office have the constitutional duty of ensuring statewide security of lives and properties of not only citizens within the state wherein elected but equally those of residents.
“To this end, the constitution was not pretentious to have designated them with the appellation “Chief security officers” of the states. So, the security votes which accrue to their offices monthly is to be used to this end.
“The first and underlying responsibility of state governments to the citizens of the states is security and securitization. Any governor that knows his onion must ensure that the people who elected him into office are well protected from any kind of harm – from within and without – at all times. Even though the constitution may not totally be expressly contemplative of the security votes, common sense entails that such funds are deployed to security services and logistics within the states and down to the grassroots therein.
“Though we do not support unaccountability in governance, it is behoveful to state that the question of security vote should not necessarily arise. Why? Because the said funds are disbursed to governors monthly from the federal government based on security challenges peculiar with a state. What, for example, a state like Rivers receives is different from what Abia receives because Rivers may have issues like pipeline vandalism, kidnap and hostage taking of expatriates, cultism or other sundry challenges while for Abia, it may vary or may be similar but with difference in degree.
“Also, a state like Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and even Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and so on have peculiarities in terms of security threats being experienced. While some have terrorism and displacement, others have banditry, kidnapping and herders attack. This way, no states receive basically same amount of money as security votes as security threats vary. The point here is that while past governors of the states mentioned who all received higher votes, in some cases, than Sen. T. A. Orji have not been summoned or quizzed to explain away how they mobilized state security service with votes so allocated.
“As a coalition, we wish to remind Abians and by extension Nigerians who may not be in the know that great strides were indeed recorded in terms of security during the eight-year tenure of Senator Theodore A. Orji. For the records, let all remember that Ukwa, Aba and other fringes of Abia were cesspool of crime as various kidnap cliques took over and made life nearly unlivable for citizens and residents until the timely intervention of Senator Orji as governor then.
“We wish to remind those who may hold doubt or view to the contrary as per this point in the governor’s scorecard to recall that Senator Orji, it is on record, won, for this reason, an award for securitization and combating of crime, the first among the class of 2007-2015 set of governors. Today, the Osisikanku (kidnap kingpin) Abia saw yesterday is neutralized, gone and no more.
“Why will Senator T. A. Orji not give a hoot on security when he himself escaped assassins’ bullet by a whisker in 2009? Let those who easily forget be reminded that while returning from Port Harcourt following his 2007 election petition matter of which was later decided in his favor, Sen. Theodore Orji’s convoy was attacked by some assassins notwithstanding that his security attachment has a combined team of various security agencies and so why will such a governor not take security seriously being himself was a victim of threat related to security?
“We state that in line with his security duties, oath of which he swore, Senator Theodore Orji mobilized grassroots levels even to traditional rulers since there is need for community security especially in a system where the call for community and rural policing has remained in the main, off-limits of sorts.
“To ensure that the security funds made available to him were properly utilized, Senator Orji, it should be recalled supplied vehicles and operational logistics to security agencies and various commands of same within the state to facilitate statewide patrol and operations.
“This, it should be recalled, is the duty of the federal government to whom all the security agencies even the paramilitary units are answerable and yet Sen. Orji who understands the need and constitutional duty vested in him to protect Abia and Abians undertook the venture for which today many investors and businessmen/women are still enjoying relative peace and calm, the security legacy of the former governor which made Abia the safest state within the federation.
“We do this not to praise the Senator but to remind our humanity what record is available regarding his efforts at security for which sake the said votes were disbursed.”