BY TUNDE AKINLADE
During the pre-independence era of self government in the defunct Western Region, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo could not use much of the government house, but his house at Oke-Bola, Ibadan.
Awolowo then had a Governor. He was only Head of Government Business. Chief Adegoke Akintola stayed in Government House, Agodi, Ibadan. During the Second Republic, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande was the Governor of Lagos State, and he stayed in his private house at Ilupeju, Lagos.
Alhaji Jakande rode his personal car with his personal driver, but didn’t move the Governor’s Office and House to his private residence. In fact, he built the present Lagos State Secretariat and the Governor’s Office. But for the Fourth Republic governors to convert their hometowns and their private properties such like houses to Seat of Government and Government House, respectively is a gross violation of our constitution.
The Seat of Government is the State capital and government business must be seen to be conducted from there. Why should a Governor convey statutory meetings of his State like SEC, Tender Board etc and even received government friends, visitors and well-wishers outside the state capital, but in a private property?
Why should a Governor choose to take custody of government properties meant for government use, outside the state capital except where there is express provision(s) of law or directive? Governorship position is a creation of law and can only function within the confines of law. It is nothing but absolute corruption and wastage of government resources needlessly.
Some governors have turned their liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos to their personal property and as such abdicate their offices and abandoned their state capitals to occupy Abuja, Lagos and at times, their private homes outside their States from where they now conducting government businesses which is outside their State’s jurisdiction while it wasn’t a bilateral or multilateral business?
Also, its unfortunately to note that, our Governors and their deputies have turned themselves into demigods and as such become lawless. With impunity they distort their State political arrangements and create more confusion therein.
Essentially, our political leaders are misinterpreting the immunity clause in our Constitution to mean absolute lawlessness and total power for them forgetting that it is the height of insult for any Governor to have his action(s) contested in the law court and have same nullified based on his faulty procedure or lack of jurisdictional base.
Governors or their deputies don’t have the legal right to abandon their state capitals and to disrupt the functions of local government and senatorial headquarters in their States in whatever guise. Methinks where we fail to recognise and follow orderliness, we will welcome confusion and anarchy as byproducts.
*Mr. Tunde Akinlade is a University Administrator and writes from Ogbomoso, Oyo State.