Govs are Barriers to Restructuring, Says Okechukwu 

By Tony Icheku in Owerri

Amidst proposals for restructuring of the country in the ongoing amendments to the 1999 Constitution,  state governors have been described as stumbling blocks to the successful realisation of  amendments that would usher in restructuring.

Describing the governors as authoritarian and emperor-like in disposition, a foundation member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Osita Okechukwu, queried the state governors over the non implementation of the 4th and 5th amendments to the 1999 Constitution.

“If restructuring is for prosperous society and the good of the greatest number of Nigerians, do governors need restructuring before implementing the 4th and 5th amendments of the country’s constitution?” Okechukwu asked  during an interactive session with journalists on Sunday 

“Simply put, is financial independence of the State Judiciary and the State Legislature, not deepening of our democracy and fundamental restructuring?” he queried 

THISDAY reports that several governors have been foot-dragging towards the full implementation of financial autonomy for the State Houses of Assembly and the Judiciary, which is the 4th Amendment.

Okechukwu,  the immediate past Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON  argued that the governors in bi-partisan unholy alliance serially voted against first line charge of funding to local councils, made a mess of State Independent Electoral Commissions and blatantly refused to implement the first line charge funding of State judiciary and State legislatures which is the 4th amendment.

“And since the 5th Amendment (This amendment decentralizes the regulation of electricity in Nigeria by allowing States to legislate on the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity within their territories) we are yet to see visible cooperation of State governments from any of the would be regional bloc or geopolitical zone embarking on regional electricity chain or railways project?” he submitted

Okechukwu maintained that though he was not against restructuring, if restructuring is patriotic search for prosperous society and the good of greatest number of Nigerians, he  cautioned that “the lukewarm attitude of majority of the governors to adherence to the rule of law, welfare and security of our citizenry; dampens our zeal to advocate for concession of more powers to Governors cum Emperors.”

Reminded that  the reason agitation for restructuring gained momentum and President Tinubu’s attention was being drawn to it is because he was an advocate and apostle of restructuring before he assumed presidential powers; and therefore to much  is expected of him.

Okechukwu agreed that much was expected of President Tinubu as a progressive, but he reminded those engaged in blame game at his doorstep that “sincerely under our rigid constitution, Mr President should be given benefit of doubt, for he cannot restructure single handedly, he has the National and State Assemblies to contend with and some of them are pessimistic and cynical of devolving more powers to governors who are emperors with their authoritarian antics.”

The APC chieftain disagreed with such a puerile assumption, recalling that the governors had in the last 24 years entrenched and consolidated authoritarianism. “May the question be asked – did we forget why issues like region failed in all the constitutional conferences – 1978/9, 1988/9, 1995/6, 2005 and 2014? Reason in a nutshell – phobia of local hegemony.

“And where were the guardrails, guardians or muscle men who would flush out governors cum emperors when they were trampling on our civil liberties, squandering our commonwealth and violently breaching all the extant provisions of the constitution highlighted above.

“Or are we going to go to heaven after restructuring to plead fervently with Almighty God for secondment of our holy ones from heaven?” Okechukwu quipped.

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