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Sunday, May 19, 2024

We Don’t Need Strong Men In Edo State

It appears that the Nigeria Constitution, as currently being practised, has created emperors instead of Governors. This is why a State Governor can brazenly lock out his Deputy Governor from office.

By Ohiogwehei Momodu Candy

It was the First U.S. Vice-President, John Adams who said, “the position of the Vice-President is the most insignificant invention ever contrived by lay man.” Ditto, for the office of the Deputy Governor.

Nigerian Constitution does not quite agree with the above assertion. Thus, The office of the Deputy Governor is created by section 186 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). His removal from office is also provided for under section 188 of the same Constitution.

So, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, South South Nigeria, Philip Shuaibu’s occupation of that office is, therefore, temporary and not permanent. Even at that, the office should be given its due respect, honour, and dignity.

Eminent thinker and statesman, Barrack Obama once said, “We are just temporary occupants of this office and that makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions such as, rule of law, separation of powers, equal rights and civil liberties…” These are enshrined in Nigeria Constitution. Do we realise this in the country?

It appears that the Nigeria Constitution, as currently being practised, has created emperors instead of Governors. This is why a State Governor can brazenly lock out his Deputy Governor from office.

It was a pitiable spectacle when we saw the Edo state Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, moving up and down in front of his office like a bleating ram.

The Deputy Governor is not an employee of the Governor neither is he his appointee. No. They both derived their mandates from the people of Edo State. This was explained by the Supreme Court in the case of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, when he was the Vice President to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

But why was Shaibu subjected to this humiliating experience? The feelers we heard were that he indicated interest to be Governor of Edo State after the tenure of his “Boss and Elder Brother”. When has that become a crime?

Section 178 of the Nigeria Constitution is clear on who can become a Governor of a state. Edo State will flourish and develop when it is governed according to laws rather than by the whims and caprices of one man.

We do not need strong men in Edo State; we do not need pugilists in Edo State; we do not need mercutios in Edo State but, we need strong and enduring institutions and legacies that will be of benefit to all and posterity. That attitude of “I am the State and the State is me” of the famous King of France, Loius XVI (1754 – 1793) should stop.

Well, it has come to our notice that Philip Shaibu has apologised to Obaseki. I do not just understand. Apologise for what? For indicating interest to be a Governor in Edo State?

To some of us, the Governor and his Deputy have not only embarrassed the State, but they have also brought that office into disrepute. We are surprised by the silence, if not connivance by the Edo State House of Assembly.

The House, perhaps, is an accomplice having unwittingly chosen the side of the offender i .e the Governor. Our institutions including the office of the Deputy should be respected and protected.

It is not just Shaibu now but the office – that office should be respected and protected.

Ohiogwehei Momodu Candy is a Lawyer based in Benin, the Edo State Capital.

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