Governors Need More Powers to Secure States, Obi, Attah, Tambuwal Declare

Governors Need More Powers to Secure States, Obi, Attah, Tambuwal Declare

•Under Obasanjo, Yar’Adua governors were in charge of security, ex-Anambra governor discloses

•Buhari didn’t even consult me before closing borders in my state, former Sokoto governor laments

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Former governors of Anambra State, Akwa Ibom State, and Sokoto State, Peter Obi, Victor Attah, and Aminu Tambuwal, respectively, have called for more powers for the state chief executives to enable them tackle the security challenges in the territories.

 The ex-chief executives spoke at a panel discussion during the Annual Lecture and International Leadership Symposium of the Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL).

 A new book by founder of CVL, Professor Pat Utomi, titled, “Power, Politics, Public Policy Process and Performance,” was launched at the event.

 The programme, organised to mark Utomi’s 68th birthday, had the theme, “Democracy, Governance and National Performance: The Mutual Relationship.”

 Obi, a 2023 presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), while answering questions on the powers of governors in the current political dispensation, recalled that when he governed Anambra State, he enjoyed substantial measure of power to take some security decisions, to secure the people.

 He said during the time he served as governor, the president then authorised governors to act on some matters of security.

According to Obi, “There is always difference between one president and another. We cannot compare President Olusegun Obasanjo presidency, Umaru Yar’Adua presidency to what we have after.

“Under Obasanjo, the governors were in charge of security. I requested that every DPO (Divisional Police Officer) be removed and I had it.

“I took decisions on security with the authority of the president during the late President Umaru Yar’adua and every month, there was a conversation between the president and the governors.

“The governor has to be in charge of the state and be responsible. So, we need a president who is determined to give the governor authority to do something.”

Obi called on President Bola Tinubu to strengthen the war against insurgency and corruption in order to move the country forward.

On economy and inflation, Obi, who decried the dollarisation of local business transactions, said people guilty of this act of sabotage should be punished.

He said, “Nigerians should be proud of our currency. We must have a system that works. These are issues that we need to deal with.”

Tambuwal said governors were not always consulted lately when decisions concerning their states were being made by the president.

Citing the closure of three border areas linking Sokoto with three states in Niger Republic during President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Tambuwal said as governor of the state, he was not consulted or carried along.

The former governor said, “On matters of security, governors are supposed to be hands on because they are the ones dealing with issues of ensuring that people are secure.

“There is the need for us to restructure and devolve more powers to the governors so that they can work on issues of security.”

 On Western democracy and whether the presidential system of government was working in Nigeria, Tambuwal said the system appeared not to be working for the country.

He stated, “I believe that as someone who was in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015, and who was Speaker of that House, we have a lot of work to do to bring the realities of our situation to bear with the presidential system of government.

“We need to tinker and work the system and bring it closer home. I believe there is a lot more to do, be done in terms of working the system to conform to our own reality.”

Tambuwal stated that the country’s challenges were not all about the system alone, they also had to do with leadership and the drivers of democracy.

He said, “We need to change our ways, we as a people practising this democracy. We need to imbibe the values of those practising democracy in the United States of America.”

Contributing, too, Attah, who was the chairman of the occasion, said in a federation, the governors were supposed to be partners, not subordinates to the president.

He said he was frustrated at a point while executing his power project, when he was Akwa Ibom State governor, because of the nature of the federal system in place.

Attah called for constitutional review.

While supporting advocates of creation of state police, Attah added that the electoral body must also be put on trial on some of its activities, to move the country forward.

“We also need to develop the courage and ability to change our constitution and make it one written by Nigerians and for Nigerians, to make progress,” he said.

Utomi, on his part, said presidents were supposed to be good listeners, consulting with governors and taking counsel from them on matters of security

“We need people to go into leadership positions to learn to listen and consult. If you cannot listen, you cannot lead,” he said.

The keynote speaker, Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, who highlighted the link between democracy, governance and national performance, said the world was beckoning on Nigeria to take its rightful place in those three areas of societal existence.

Fomunyoh, a Senior Associate and Regional Director for the Central and West Africa Programme, said the continent was waiting for Nigeria to take the lead in human capital development, economic development, good governance, among other indices of development.

Related Articles