Senate as retirement home for governors
There is an interesting development, which ordinarily should be good for Nigeria’s political evolution, happening in the country; that is the Senate as the final political destination of most governors completing their second term in office.
As at the last count, there are about 15 former governors and deputy governors in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.
There are Senate President and a former Kwara state governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki; former Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso; former Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio; former Plateau State governor, Jonah Jang; former Zamfara State governor, Ahmed Yerima; and a former Kebbi State governor, Adamu Aliero.
There are also a number of former deputy governors in the Red Chamber, including Mrs Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti) and Enyinaya Abaribe (Abia).
As Nigeria prepares for a general election in 2019, no fewer than 10 governors, on their way out as their states chief executives, have indicated interest to head to the senate.
While it is a given that it is within their constitutional right to seek for any elective office other than that of governor, it is ironic that most of these governors have failed woefully in delivering democratic dividends to their respective states.
Most of the states are short on policy, while these same individuals seeking to be at the apex of the lawmaking organ of the country hold their state assemblies in utter contempt and treat the legislature as an appendage of their cabinets.
The business of lawmaking is serious and not for people who have scant regard for service other than self-preservation.
Most of these governors headed to the Red Chamber will be leaving unpaid salaries, huge pension gratuities hanging, over bloated debts and not clarity on policy. Does it not amount to a scandal that these governors will be making laws for good governance?
While some of them are off to the senate for self-preservation and some sort of refuge, they should be reminded that the National Assembly has no immunity, therefore, they are not immune from prosecution when the time comes, if there was any doubt, they should ask their former colleague, Joshua Dariye of Plateau state who is serving jail time.
A look at those governors desiring to take their seats at the Senate is worrying owing to their poor records of service across board. Imagine Rochas Okorocha of Imo state, Rauf Aregbesola of Osun, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo as well as Yari of Zamfara state.
These are the best of the worst and they will be expected to make laws for good governance?
We tend to align with the Executive Director of Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre, Prof. (Mrs.) Patricia Donli, who said: “This phenomenon is not good for our democracy. Some of the governors already spent eight years in their states, so what’s the point of going to the National Assembly again?
“That’s why our democracy is not growing. Most of these governors, just like most of our political leaders, always think of themselves, not of the people.
“Some of them didn’t do well as governors, so how can we expect such people to deliver for the nation at the National Assembly? If you couldn’t develop your state as a governor, how would you develop the nation?
“Some of the governors just go to the National Assembly to rest. Some of them have never sponsored any progressive bill. When the camera is on them, you’ll see them sleeping while deliberations are going on. They have turned it to a place of retirement.
“I pray these people would just retire quietly in their luxurious mansions, which they have used public funds to build if they have any conscience at all.”