After the PDP primaries in Rivers State early last month, I asked how a Jonah Jang, a former governor of Plateau state, a current Senator from his senatorial district in a state that has seen more bloodshed, arson, and indigene/Settlers conflicts than any other part of the country (asides the Boko Haram mayhem in the North East) had the conviction that he would be a very good President of Nigeria. He had contested for the party’s ticket but lost along with others to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.

Then his ‘admirers’ came for me, they reminded me he was a good man, was an excellent Air force officer, and he was constitutionally qualified to be president. I was not ignorant of these tags and titles that trailed the former governor for EIGHT years and now a somewhat sleepy Senator in the Upper chamber of Nigeria’s national assembly. He is entitled to make choices, to choose to be anything in his country.

Senator Sam Egbu

But I wanted to draw attention to his performance as a governor. How well did he handle the bloodshed in his state, how did he account for the citizens of his state. How is it that blood still flows from the Plateau up till today? Understandably, the issues in the Jos conflict over the years might have gone beyond what a state governor can handle singly. But how far did his outrage go? What dignity did he request for his citizens living and dead? What has he done as a Senator of the federal republic to address the issues in his domain? How good has he been, how did he graduate from governor to a Senator?

But then, before I could get answers, reports came that a former governor of the same Plateau state, Joshua Dariye, who is serving a 14 year jail term in a Jos prison had allegedly indicated interest to seek RE-ELECTION to the Senate. Yes, he too is a Senator of the federal Republic of Nigeria.

Senator Buka IBRAHIM

And so, these two former governors, now Senators are metaphors for how governors who often have nothing to show for the one of two terms they occupied their states as governors (not served) wangle their ways into the Senate. Here is a list of the sixteen out of 109 Senators who were ex-governors; Senate President, Bukola Saraki (Kwara),  Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), Aliyu Wammako (Sokoto), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), George Akume (Benue), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Theodore Orji (Abia), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Jonah Jang (Plateau). Joshua Dariye serving a jail term now was also a former governor of Pateau state and had issues of impropriety leveled against him when he served as governor.

Senator George Akume

So, it is not surprising that Nigeria seems to be all motion and no movement. Governors who defy all the democratic tenets in theory and practice, abuse the processes of Primary elections and find themselves in the Legislative body meant to act as a check on the Executive as former executives in a country where individuals rather than the system wield powers to function.

Most states in Nigeria are on all fours due to bad governance, the same individuals who presided over dysfunctional states go into the Senate to occupy space and the executive take advantage and often act with impunity and blackmail.

Those who fashioned the democratic system like the iconic Baron de Montesquieu knew the propensity of the human person to be corrupted by power and fashioned the three arms of government, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary for optimal checks and balances. What they did not envisage however is the deliberate weakening of systems by the operators in politics especially of the Nigerian hue to be corrupted by power and their capacity to abuse the power given by the people.

The governors across the Nigerian states act with imperial bravado so they intimidate their houses of assembly that ought to check their excesses. The State Assembly members often surreptitiously sell their independence when they fall for the carrots and power play with the executives. Bottom-line, we have weak houses of Assembly that give the governors the opportunity to operate with impunity. At the end of their tenures as governors, through their abuse of power, they still get to get themselves the party tickets to go to the Senate. Given most of their performances, none of their senatorial members can put a vote to send them to the Senate. But the Nigerian political turf is seemingly a jungle where the kings of the forest prey endlessly on their victims and the cycle seem endless.

Why is Nigeria at this cross roads? Because very often the most incompetent and inhumane access power and use it for their selfish political growth and their victims are often their greatest supporters. Sad!


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