Elder statesman, Edwin Clark
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Austin Opara, has joined the class of eminent Nigerians decrying the overbearing influences of the 36 state governors’, especially those elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Elder statesman, Edwin Clark and former Minister of Education, Prof. Jubrin Aminu, had recently condemned what they described as the over bearing influence of the governors, explaining that if left unchecked could undermine the country’s nascent democratic journey.
In an interview with THISDAY, Opara, who was deputy speaker between 2003 to 2007, said: “What is most worrisome is that almost all the time, the governors are in Abuja and not attending to issues of governance in their respective states.”
He reminded the governors that what is being practiced in the country remains a “presidential system of government and not a gubernatorial system”, wondering why the governors country would be rushing to pay courtesy visit to the newly-elected President of Ghana, Mr. John Mahama.
“Look at what happened when the Ghanaian President was sworn in, the governors from Nigeria were falling over each other to pay courtesy visit to him, while President Goodluck Jonathan was there.
The President represents the Federal Republic of Nigeria and by his presence in Ghana, he is representing Nigeria. What are the governors doing there,” he asked.
The former deputy speaker condemned the PDP governors’ intervention in Adamawa state leadership crisis, explaining further, “the crisis in Adamawa state PDP is different from the crisis of the party in other states. The question is therefore why the intervention of the PDP governors without hearing from both sides of the crisis.
“What they are doing is to try to intimidate the national secretariat of the party, so that when there is trouble, the party will not be in a better position to mediate into the crisis. The PDP governors should allow the party in the state decide who their leaders should be and not the governors intimidating the party. This is not democracy, but interference and intimidation,” he said.
Opara lamented how the governors have pocketed the affairs of local governments in their respective states, stating that this was why there are generally no elected democratically elected local governments in the states.
According to him, “most of the local governments are administered through caretaker committees. No democratic elections in the affairs of the local governments”, stressing that where there is a symbol of local government election, “the governors ensure that only their stooges are elected.”