Govs In Nigeria Are Like Emperors, Olusola-Eleka, Malaolu Blame Frequent Rifts With Deputies On Human Factor - EDU-BIZNEWS


Monday, January 15, 2024

Govs In Nigeria Are Like Emperors, Olusola-Eleka, Malaolu Blame Frequent Rifts With Deputies On Human Factor


The penchant by Governors in Nigeria to live large like Emperors has been adduced as main reason as to why many of the Deputy Governors in their respective states are reduced to spare tyre status, Prof Kolapo Olusola-Eleka, former Ekiti State number two helmsman under ex-Gov Ayo Fayose, and Media Icon, Dr Niran Malaolu have asserted.

Both Olusola-Eleka and Malaolu who was erstwhile Information Commissioner in Ogun State, said the blame for the glaring assault that places Deputy Governors perpetually under shadow and completely at the mercy of their Principals should not be blamed on any lacuna in the Constitution.

The two eminent personalities spoke at the monthly BOILING POINT ARENA interview discourse under a topic titled: “The Relationship Between Roles of Governors and their Deputies in Nigeria’s Constitution -Rethinking The Conundrum in The States“.

Sharing his experience, Olusola- Eleka stated : ”The Governor nominates the Deputy Governor which implies a joint ticket of working, together, reasoning together and harmonising thoughts. What this entails is mutual agreement to achieve the common purpose... Unfortunately when the governors get into power, they behave like Emperors.

"Loyalty should be towards serving the people for better results. Loyalty should not be to an individual. When a Deputy Governor follows the Governor sheepishly, it is not loyalty but sycophancy. Loyalty should be a continuous agreement towards delivering the mandates. I swore to an oath which means I purposed in my heart to follow the Constitution. There must be adequate loyalty to the constitution of Nigeria and when you are loyal to the constitution, you will be loyal to the people.

”It is important for the people in government to realise that they derive their power from the people as enshrined in the Constitution. Loyalty should not be around an individual."

Delving into the influence of third party, Olusola-Eleka Eleka fired : ”I recall a man who came to my office and was running down my principal. The man was from the same town with my principal, Governor Ayodele Fayose. I simply walked the man out of my office.

"There was no single day of acrimony throughout the four years I served under my boss, Fayose. This is based on my understanding of my constitutional role which is hinged on 'as directed'.

"I was able to manage my relationship with the former Governor. I became Deputy by God’s providence. Godliness and contentment serve as the fulcrum of my activities in office. These are virtues I have lived for years and cannot be sacrificed on the altar of politics. Secondly, I made up my mind not to focus on money. Whether I was paid what was due to me or not, whether I got what other Deputy Governors in other states got did not really matter to me. My focus was simply to deliver in every assignment and the records are there till tomorrow. Thirdly, I decided from day one not to allow third party to cause friction"

For his part, Dr Malaolu who operates Rockcity FM, Abeokuta, asserted : ”In Nigeria, the Governor is the Government. That is what people see. It is supposed to be a joint ticket though. However, we have challenges of personality clashes in Nigeria's political landscape.

On why Governors suspect their Deputies he said, ”It is a legitimate aspiration of any human being to be ambitious. If the Governor is not ambitious, he too would not be Governor”.

He continued: "The major challenge are those who surround the Governors and their Deputies apparently for pecuniary gains or political exigencies

”In every relationship there must be friction. Without friction there cannot be growth and development. We need opposing opinions and views to move forward. it is the responsibility of the leader to synthesise the ideas to move the state forward rather than casting aspersions. If they are serious with development issues , they would not have time for rancour. Unfortunately most of our Governors are like Emperors”

Contrary to wide speculations that a review of the constitution and assigning specific roles to the Deputy Governors would solve the repeated rifts between Governors and their Deputies, the discussants advocated a change of orientation rather than a review of the constitution.

Malaolu  submitted : ”Rewriting the constitution will not solve the problem but the human beings operating the constitution must have a changed orientation. When politicians think on how to entrench themselves in power, there will continue to be friction. There is a need for Governors to accommodate different opinions. There can be disagreements which must be presented in a civil manner and processed accordingly.

"We can write constitution from now to eternity and nothing will change. Creating a role for the Deputy Governors will not solve the problem. Elected officers need to be properly educated with a adequate orientation on the ingredients of governance before commencement of activities".

While delivering the keynote address, Oba (Prof) Saka Matemilola who is an eminent member of the platform,  had opined that issues around suspicion arising from not having a proper definition for the roles of the Deputy Governors constituted part of the challenges causing rift between the Governors and their Deputies.

BOILING POINT, a news and general interest platform, comprises an array of eminent personalities including over 300 professors, technocrats, industry leaders, High Court Justices, traditional rulers, security top shots, media professionals and several others.

The January 2024 online interview discourse which commanded large global audience is the 15th in the series since the current affairs programme started in November, 2022.

The current affairs programme with an incredibly large online followership, is the brainchild of the Initiator and Convener, Dr Ayo Arowojolu, a Media Professional with 34 years multi-varied work career spanning the media, banking and education sectors.

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