By Sunny Igboanugo:
• They Responded To Mood Of The Nation –Abaribe
Former Anambra State Governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife and his Edo counterpart, John Odigie Oyegun, are peeved at the 36 state Governors, for assuming larger than life position in national affairs, powers they have employed without recourse to the feelings of Nigerians.
They are extremely scandalised at the turn of events in the country at the moment, especially what they saw as undue politicisation of issues arising from President Umaru Yar’Adua’s health.
Both governors of then Social Democratic Party (SDP), during President Ibrahim Babangida’s ill-fated transition programme and now elder statesmen, expressed deep worries that things are getting out of hands due to the sworn attitude of stakeholders not to play by the rules.
They particularly carpeted the Governors, who declared that the resignation of the President on account of deteriorating health was a no-go area for now, despite the groundswell of opinions in certain quarters that it was in the current circumstances.
The state chief executives, on the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, had in a meeting with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan after a series of meetings, involving, first the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governors and an enlarged body that included their counterparts from the other political parties, made a point of showing solidarity with the ailing President, himself a former member.
But Oyegun and Ezeife saw the trend as dangerous, not only because it goes against democratic practices for the Governors, whose operations should be limited to the states to be deciding critical national issues, but because their decisions were totally at variance with the thinking of Nigerians.
Oyegun, who traced the current trend to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said it was one of the unfortunate and dangerous legacies he left in the country due to his selfish desires for power.
“It was during the time of Obasanjo that the Governors acquired these undue powers. You remember that it was during the time that he asked the Governors to go and select one of their own to be President. That was the beginning of the dangerous trend. From that time they have hijacked major decisions in the country believing that they have the powers to do so. But we should start seeing the danger in the tail wagging the dog. If actually they use this power in taking decisions that are consistent with the thinking of the people, the outcome would not be as worrisome. But look through all their decisions and you will see the trend that they have been unpopular.
“I can only admonish them to be more modest. They should restrain themselves from allowing individual interests override that of the nation. They should not impose their views on the nation. For instance, we have been on this Yar’Adua issue now for so long. But look at their decision and compare it with the views of Nigerians and you will see that it is totally at variance. Their decision is based probably on sentiments. Yar’Adua was a former Governor. But we are talking about a nation not an individual. Therefore, sentiments, passions and emotions, are not part of it. That Yar’Adua is one of them should not be the reason to put the country in a situation where its life and its 150 million people are threatened,” he said.
Ezeife, regretting that the issue surrounding the President was being over-politicised, said it gave course for worry about the unity of Nigeria as a country.
“This is going beyond the ordinary. It is no longer easy to understand. One Nigeria is in the best long-term interest of every group in Nigeria.
“The governors’ position apparently dominated by myopic tribalism neglects this fact. It is inconsistent with the Constitution and does violence to common sense,” he said.
But Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Inter-parliamentary Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe differed, saying the governors should not be crucified for reading the mood of the nation correctly and acting accordingly.
“His words: I think the Governors are aware of the feelings of Nigerians regarding the mishandling of affairs regarding the President. I think that because we have not faced this situation before, everybody is being careful and deliberate. I believe we have entered the post Yar’Adua era.”
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