Leadership (Abuja)

28 November 2012

Nigeria: How Not to Be Governors

editorial

Citizens Moses Osigwe and Abass Ahmed Faggo have one thing in common - the violation of their fundamental rights by supposed governors elected through a democratic process. Osigwe is the Business Manager of the Gwiwa Business Unit of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in Sokoto State while Faggo was, until recently, a civil servant in Bauchi State.

Osigwe allegedly suffered untold brutality in the hands of Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko whose wrath he incurred on account of power outage in the governor's village. According to reports, the governor had summoned Osigwe to Government House to explain this situation that is not peculiar to his village, Wamakko, anyway.

What was meant to be 'consultation' degenerated to corporal punishment for the PHCN staff. The governor and his aides deny the incident ever happened. But the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) thinks otherwise even as it is demanding an unreserved apology from the Government House. The labour union is threatening industrial action should the apology fail to come. Already, the NLC President Abdulwaheed Omar has directed all unions in the state to commence mobilisation against what he described as "this barbaric act by the governor."

In the case of Faggo, a civil servant in the Bauchi State Ministry of Finance, his appointment was unjustifiedly terminated one month after posting, on facebook, comments that questioned the source of funding of Governor Yuguda's son's lavish wedding. To compound his problems, the Bauchi State Commissioner of Justice, Barrister Almustapha Suleiman Hassan, dragged him before a magistrate court, accusing him of using his mobile telephone number to post a message on his facebook page alleging that the state had paid for the wedding which took place in the Azare area last September. Civil society groups and the Nigerian Bar Association rose in defence of Mr Faggo and he was eventually discharged.

We point out that these two cases were instances of untoward behaviour as well as evidences of intolerance on the part of some elected governors. Even if both Osigwe and Faggo were in the wrong, the civilised thing the governors should have done would have been to seek redress through the courts. Nothing in the Nigerian constitution or other statute books empowers governors to trample on the fundamental rights of citizens. The actions of Governors Wamakko and Yuguda smack of arrogant misuse and abuse of power. We also remind them that there are many worthwhile efforts they could channel their energies to. In case they don't know, we expect them to find solutions to the myriad socio-economic problems confronting their respective states. What the country needs at this time are strong institutions under the rule of law and not some self-righteous tyrants who go about bullying their citizens.

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