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Advocacy group wary of recycling of lawmakers

27 April 2015, 18:36

Abuja - Friends in the Gap Advocacy Initiative (FGAI), a legislative advocacy and strategy group, has expressed concern over the increasing numbers of former governors that retire to the senate after their tenures.

The group’s Executive Director, George Oji, said while from 2007 where there were only six of such former governors, the number  almost  doubled to 11 in 2011.

He added that analysis of the outcome of the 2015 National Assembly election had shown that the ex governors had continued to grow in leaps and bounds in the senate to 16.

“In 2007, the ex governors who found their ways to the senate were Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna State), George Akume (Benue State), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State), Ahmed Sani (Zamfara State), Kabiru Gaya (Kano State) and Abba Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe State),” said Oji.

“In 2011, the former governors who were elected to the senate included, Bukola Saraki (Kwara State), George Akume (Benue State), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna State), Chris Ngige (Anambra State), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa State), Danjuma Goje (Gombe State), Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara State), Joshua Dariye (Plateau State), Kabiru Gaya (Kano State), Abba Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe State) and Ahmed Sani (Zamfara).”

“This time around, the result of the 2015 polls has shown that 16 former governors will again, be finding their ways to the senate. They are Theodore Orji (Abia), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi State), Bukola Saraki (Kwara State), George Akume (Benue State) and Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara State).

The rest are, Jonah Jang (Plateau State), Joshua Dariye (Plateau State), Kabiru Gaya (Kano State), Abba Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe State), Danjuma Goje (Gombe State), Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa State), Ahmed Sani (Zamfara State), Adamu Aliero (Bauchi State), Isiaka Adeleke (Osun State) and Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto State),” said Oji.

He said experience showed that, once in the Senate, instead of settling down to serious legislative work, the ex governors would be busy with the politics of the leadership of the institution.

“We are concerned that most of these former governors, who perpetrated bad governance in their states, retire to the senate as a resting place as well as to continue to seek political relevance. Our worry also is that these ex governors end up in the senate to seek political cover from prosecution from their criminal deeds.”

The official also expressed concerned that the invasion of the senate by these ex governors has led to the loss of quality representation in the red chambers because the in-coming governors have to edged out some of the very experienced and articulate lawmakers in order to attain their  individual selfish political ambitions.

He said rather than providing quality legislation in the senate, the former governors see the red chamber as a platform to play all manners of ethnic and regional politics.

“We are seriously concerned that if the growing trend of the invasion of the senate by ex governors is not immediately halted, the leadership of the senate may be finally hijacked by these invading governors.

"David Mark will end up being the last Presiding Officer from outside of the stock of former governors that the senate may produce in a long time to come.

“We in addition worry that if this ugly trend is not checked, in no distant future, these ex governors will form a serious power block in the senate and the country may begin to witness the formation of another strong cartel in the form of “Ex Governors Forum,” a powerful political group akin to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), that will continue to perpetrate the interest of the former governors in the parliament to the detriment of their legislative functions,” Oji said.

He urged all Nigerians to henceforth be circumspect in electing such past leaders to the Parliament because of the dangers they posed to the growth of the democratic system.

- CAJ News

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