‘Governors are Barriers to Restructuring’

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 restructuring of the Nigeria’s federation through the proposed amendments of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.   

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

Okechukwu said: “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?”

“Simply put, is financial independence of the state judiciary and the state legislatures, not deepening of our democracy and fundamental restructuring?” 

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, who was 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 that decentralises 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, but 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.” 

Okechukwu agreed that much is expected of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a progressive, but reminded those who haul blame game at Tinubu’s 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 them are pessimistic and cynical of devolving more powers to governors who ape emperors with their authoritarian antics.”

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