30th June, 2011
The illegal association formed by the Nigerian Governors (otherwise known as Governorsâ€™ Forum) was in the news last week. They sought to intimidate or blackmail or used President Goodluck Jonathan as a cannon folder for their indifference and complicity against the payment of N18,000 minimum wage; the Bill of which Mr. President has signed into law.
They advised Mr. President to withdraw fuel subsidy as the only condition for them to pick the bill as part of their recurrent expenditure. The Governors were also reported to have threatened to reduce the work force in their states as the only alternative open to them.
For all intent and purposes, this pieces of advice coming from a group of people who are supposedly exercising peopleâ€™s mandate, leaves a sour taste in the mouth as it smacks of their insensitivity to the plight of the average Nigerian and the electorate who toiled and laboured during the last general elections to get the governors elected.
It is my settled opinion that with a friend like the Governors Forum, Mr. President needs no more enemies because they ought to know better that removal of fuel subsidy is a security matter in this country because it would never go without public resistance because of it economic implications on the impoverished Nigerians.
Therefore, it would be suicidal for the corporate existence of this nation for anybody to treat this issue with such levity as the Governors Forum did, which amounts to compounding the security problems when the federal government is trying to curb the menace of the Bokko Haram, Niger Delta militants and kidnappers across the country.
For Godâ€™s sake! Why has the Governorsâ€™ Forum failed to counsel its members on these issues:
â€¢ Need to surrender billions of naira they collect monthly as security vote, which invariably is larcenous on the public treasury.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has set a good example in this respect.
â€¢Scrapping the offices of their first ladies that is not known to the constitution of the Federal Republic (as amended).
â€¢Surrender the billions of naira, which most of them deducted from the monthly allocation to the local government councils in their states.
â€¢Reduce their monthly overseas tours
â€¢Reduce the retinue of personal staff
â€¢Cut down on the fleet of cars in their convoy
â€¢Most of them need to be transparent and follow due diligence in the award of contracts in their states.
Finally, members of the Governorsâ€™ Forum should be warned not to push Nigerians beyond the absorption point because of our peaceful disposition to public issues. They should learn from the wave of revolutions that have crashed many dictators across the Arab nation, which started like a childâ€™s play from Tunisia.
â€¢Abdul-Rahoof Adebayo Bello teaches Political Science at National Open University of Nigeria.