Governors’ Power Lust: Lessons from Delta and Enugu

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The desperation to cling to power at all costs and by all means is, more often than not, at the root of the politically motivated violence witnessed every now and then across Nigeria. Political office holders (particularly state governors and president) usually brook no opposition in their desperation to either cling to power or install their self-anointed candidates’ power in one office or the other, irrespective of the electorate’s wish.

One of the most sickening variants of this ungodly desperation could be seen in the conduct of some state governors who, after serving their two terms are hell bent on proceeding to the Nation Assembly – specifically the Senate – by all means. So desperate are such out-going governors that they would contemptibly disregard the fact that their performances during their eight- year stint are nothing to write home about. Not even the fact that the people they supposedly want to go and “serve” in the Senate either do not want them, or prefer someone else.

Proceeding with the lamentable notion that it’s their birthright to decide who gets what in their respective fiefdom (sorry, state), such power – drunk governors would deliberately subvert every due process and also use harassment, intimidation, thuggery and violence in their bid to grab power by all means. The result is that not only would the polity remain unnecessarily heated up long after the electoral process would have been concluded; the collateral damage and sundry other wounds inflicted on our collective psyche would endure indefinitely.

Against this background, the recent examples shown by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State and Sulvian Chime of Enugu State, are as refreshingly different as they are worthy of emulation. Like many of their colleagues whose second terms are coming to an end, the duo had yearned to contest the next Senatorial poll. But when it became evident that their ambitions were heating up the polity beyond tolerance, they heeded the voice of wisdom and sacrificed their aspirations.

By doing so, Uduaghan and Chime have shown that altruism and selflessness rather than inordinate ambition, should be the overriding motivation behind every quest for political power. Instead of seeing themselves as lords of the manor, they put their respective state’s interests above their personal interest. They resisted the temptation to use the incumbency factor as a means of ramming their wish down the throat of the electorate.

Ahead of the forthcoming Febuary 2015 general elections, the need to imbibe the spirit of give-and-take demonstrated by the Delta and Enugu helmsmen cannot be overemphasized. Too often many a political leader perceives themselves as bigger than the state and the people combined. Hence, they cannot resist the temptation to ride roughshod over those they are supposedly serving.

State governors in particular need to disabuse their minds of the notion that the senate is the only place suitable for them after serving chief executive of a state. Such power-drunk politicians should borrow a leaf from the erstwhile deputy governor of Benue State, Ogiri Ajene. On leaving office at the end of his second term in 2007, Ajene condescended to run for a councillorship post in his home town, serving his people with due humility and patriotism. He never felt demeaned by such uncommon service to the people he never insisted that he must be at the National Assembly or even State House of Assembly by all means.

This admonition, needless to say, also applies to politicians in all other positions of authority. If, as they want us to believe, their quest for power is to serve the people, such service must not be a do-or-die affair, nor must it be restricted to a particular position. No matter how important or competent an individual may rate himself, he needs to bear in mind the immortal axiom that “the graveyards are full of so-called indispensable men”.

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