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Re: Inaccessible democratic dividends and sins of state governors, by Prof M.K. Othman

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Re: Inaccessible democratic dividends and sins of state governors, by Prof M.K. Othman

Deep Thought with Othman 

Still, on the considerable investment to become a governor, I have to quote the words of Dr. Abba Sayyadi Ruma of blessed memory, who said, “You need a minimum of N2 billion for the primary election and another N2 billion for the general campaign. Those giving you financial support attach a string to it for debt payment and a large profit margin (after winning the election), so why should I invest over N2 billion to become a governor?”. One illustrious political scientist of international repute, who has seen it all from the days of erudite social crusader Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman to date, told me that a governor confessed that he spent about eight billion Naira to win his governorship election. So why should some Nigerians invest a staggering quantum of resources – finance, human, time, and energy to “serve” people as their Governor? Yet, the Nigerians’ living conditions continue to deteriorate in alarming proportion yearly. Are they serving the people, serving themselves, or kleptomaniacally pillaging the limited resources to recoup their investment? It is not only recouping the investment but also acquiring unwieldy power to make and unmake in the political scene of their states with overbearing influence at the local and federal levels. I was happy when President Tinubu tried to clip their wings by acquiring the financial autonomy of the local governments.

Tinubu is seeking the economic independence of the 774 LGAs in Nigeria from the Supreme Court, which has reserved judgment for a later date. Local government’s financial autonomy entails the freedom to impose local taxation, generate revenue within its assigned sources, allocate its economic and material resources, and determine and authorize its annual budgets without external interference. It will make LGA Chairmen accountable to people and make them responsible for their successes or failures.

Readers of my article on the above subject lay credence to the unwieldy political power and several sins of state governors that have robbed people of the dividends of democracy since the commencement of the current political dispensation 25 years ago. Happy reading.

READ ALSO: Inaccessible Democratic Dividends: Unwieldy power and sins of State Governors, by Prof M.K. Othman

Well done, Prof. Othman, for bringing to light most of the hidden problems in our political system. As you rightly pointed out, most of the system’s atrocities are committed by state governors, who control the state and local government resources. They use these resources to influence all local and national elective positions and place their stooges in state and national chambers. We need to educate our people and guide ourselves on how to succeed in electing people who can serve and deliver. We dearly crave democratic dividends to alleviate the economic hardship affecting the people.
Dr Aminu Umar Yakubu

This article has aptly captured the ‘sins’ of the governors in Nigeria. Concerning the role of state governors in undermining the local government system, which is the third tier of government, I commend the efforts of Mr President, who aimed to save the local government ( LG) system. I still recall with childhood nostalgia (1983–1992) when the LG system was working. Some former Chairmen who left positive and memorable footprints through their performance were Hon. Tyoule Akende, Hon. Agbuur Kachi, Hon. Adzer Ukende, Hon. Engr. Dennis Dzeka; Hon. Akombor Ande Akombor etc. Rural roads were graded to connect the hard-to-reach parts of my LGA to the famous Adikpo London. Streets were opened up in Adikpo township ( Kwande LGA, Benue State); standard box/ring culverts were constructed to enhance drainage and free flow of water. The electricity supply to the entire Adikpo town was from a giant diesel-powered generator courtesy of the local government authorities. Smooth and efficient financial transactions took place in major markets across the LG. I can go on and on. Unfortunately, the trend suddenly underwent a drastic negative change characterized by a precipitous greed of the political class of the 21st century. Visiting any LG secretariat will trigger emotions, as one hardly finds the staff at work. Caretaker Chairmen are appointed to those who are at the beck and call of the Governor. I believe the high incidence and severity index of poverty in rural areas, coupled with insecurity, is not unconnected with the bastardization of the LG system. I pray the Supreme Court listens to the prayers of Mr President to save the third tier of government, which is very close to the grassroots.
Dr. IYONGO Terungwa Titus

Prof. MK Othman, I salute your courage and wisdom in speaking truth to power and knowledge in dissecting Nigeria’s political predicament beyond your area of academic specialty. Bravo. The article is down-to-earth, inspiring, and reveals the monetizations cum bastardization of our politics at all levels. Hoping the system will develop a mechanism to insulate our polity from cash and carry made by the highest bidders.
Thank you immensely for such a thought-provoking article.
Dr Musa Ajiya

The only proactive Prof.  I have known! I wish for a day when a commoner realizes the engineers of this political and administrative decadence in our governance system.
State governors were so surrounded by authority and audacity of power that not even the Grand Commander in Chief of the Federation’s Armed Forces dared raise a single finger at them. Those in charge of checkmating their activities, members of the legislative arm of government, are being silenced and pocketed by take-home entitlements/gifts from the people’s treasury.
Our state political system of governance lacks credibility and sanity; state governors do whatever they feel like wanting to do without anyone or body, not even the propelling body of law and order, to talkless of the lawmakers who dare challenge their actions. They are like demi-gods. May Almighty Allah end hitherto unending, artificially engineered hardships and sufferings—a big thanks to our brilliant, personified academic Professor for this submission, Mohammed Khalid Othman.
Ctzn Adam Usman Bindawa

Amen to all your prayers, Prof. Othman. May God continue to rectify our affairs, unite us, and promote sustainable development in Nigeria. More golden inks to your golden pen, Prof. Othman. Two quotes from Plato: “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” And “Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.”
Abdullahi Abubakar 

Excellent, as usual. Prof. Othman, your problem, if any, is calling a spade a spade. This is unacceptable to the Nigerian legislatures because of their deep-rooted corruption. I do not think up to 5% of the elected leaders at all levels have Nigerian masses and Nigeria at large in their scheme of work as elected leaders. The President proposed the purchase of a fleet of vehicles for himself and his immediate family and covered it with surplus and senseless provisions for the legislature and the judiciary to purchase their own. This was done after throwing the country into a deep problem by removing a subsidy that was artificial, thereby exploiting the masses without anything to show on the proceeds being forcefully collected daily. Senselessly, the value of the Naira is dastardly destroyed without any sense of direction. The Nigerian masses are docile, peaceful, and patient, thanks to Almighty God. If that is broken, I seriously fear for our unity and peaceful coexistence.
Best regards and wishes, my respected Professor.
Engr Hassan Bawa

Professor Othman is the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.

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