Wednesday, March 18, 2009
NIGERIA, A FEDERATION OR A UNITARY STATE?
The other day it was Plateau State that President Umaru Yar'Adua ordered not to swear in her elected local government officials. This time it is Ondo State that is being over-ruled when its dissolved council was asked to re-constitute on direct orders from Abuja? Icheoku asks, is Nigeria now in a unitary system of government or is it still practising elected democracy by federating states? It is abhorable that Abuja does not seem to get it, that there are three tiers of government both at the center as well as in the 36 respective states. Further, each of these are independent of one another and cannot be dictated to by any of them, including the one at the center in Abuja. Under the military dispensation, it is alright for the head of the junta at Abuja to tele-guide his appointed minions in their respective states; but a new sheriff is in town as the governor of Ondo State was not brought into office on the mercy of President Umaru Yar'Adua. The governor won an election on his own merit, having been adjudged as the superior candidate by the the people of Ondo State who chose him to represent them and carry out their will. In an elected democracy, where leaders are elected by the populace, it is an aberration for an elected president to order an equally elected governor around? Icheoku calls on the Olusegun Mimiko led government of Ondo State to take a cue from Plateau State and resist Umaru Yar'Adua'a current attempt to subvert and undermine democracy in Ondo State. Mimiko should not take orders from Abuja as both him and President Umaru Yar'Adua enjoy equal grundnorm, deriving directly from their respective electorates. It is therefore inconceivable that this mallam, King of kings in Abuja, is following the template of discredited past military administrations in Nigeria, in thinking that he has omnibus powers over the states. Icheoku says, we don't think so. Our advise to the governor of Ondo State, is to go to court to contest the constitutional validity of his over-ruled order, sacking the local government officials of his state. Whether he has the authority to do so should be the prayer before such a constitutional court and let other things fall as they may. Icheoku is not an apostle of excessive powers being concentrated in anyone "demi-god" and for President Umaru Yar'Adua to now think that he could tele-guide whatever happens in every part of the federation, is another example of what is wrong with the Abuja sicko? Nigeria is no longer under a military unitary rule so President Umaru Yar'Adua should get that fact right into his head. Olusegun Obasanjo got away with such barrack-mentality of a central command, and declared states of emergency all over the place; sending his army to commit genocides in Odi and Zaki Ibiam without the Bayelsa and Benue States asking for such his intervention, in what is purely their internal state matter. Umaru Yar'Adua must and should be stopped from following in the foot-steps of the discredited Otta idol, Olusegun Obasanjo. Icheoku wonders who the legal adviser of President Umaru Yar'Adua is or does that portfolio fall under Turai's too? It was Plateau yesterday, today it is Ondo, and who knows whose turn it shall be tomorrow to become the next guinea-pig state for thwarting and suppressing constitutional democracy in Nigeria?
How can an elected executive of a state be over-ruled by another executive of another state (though bigger state, Nigeria)? Icheoku says, such suggests that Nigeria is not a truly federating states but still yoked to a unitary form of government; with Abuja still micro-managing the entire geographical entity called Nigeria. It is a tragedy which must not be allowed to see the light of the day. Also, that the federally controlled police is being used to perpetuate this unconstitutional anarchy is a reason to re-visit the need for the states to control their own police and use it to secure their mandate whenever threatened by such an over-reaching act of the central government in Abuja. President Umaru Yar'Adua is asking for trouble by forcibly subjugating the government of Governor Olusegun Mimiko led Ondo State. Icheoku says, peradventure, Umaru is not a student of history, otherwise he would have advised himself of the consequences of the Shehu Shagari's NPN attempted perversion of the electoral will of the Ondo people during the 1983 Omoboriowo aborted imposition.
May be this latest face-off is a PDP's ploy to take through the back door what the electorates of Ondo State, as affirmed by the court, denied them? Better still, President Umaru Yar'Adua should have awaited for the outcome of the court action, instituted by the sacked council men and women against Governor Olusegun Mimiko for their sack, before stepping into the fray. Icheoku says, Ondo State belongs to the Ondo people and they should be allowed to internally resolve whatever differences they may have in an Ondo fashion. For Abuja to just jump into such a family dispute, uninvited, is a fragrant abuse of powers of the central government and should be resisted by all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria. Whether the former Ondo State PDP governor Olusegun Agagu was right to conduct the local government election in the state in total disregard to a subsisting court order restraining him otherwise; whether the current Governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, was right to dissolved the "illegitimate" councils; and whether any constitutional provision was violated in any way, is a question for court's determination. Since the parties are already sui-juris, the meddlesome interloping of Abuja was uncalled for and can only be interpreted one way only, POLITICS! Icheoku says, the present political manipulation by President Umaru Yar'Adua's led PDP government to weaken and undermine the newly restored government of Olusegun Mimiko, should not be allowed to succeed. It should and must be resisted by all, and using every means necessary is a good enough option! Ondo people, do not let President Umaru Yar'Adua treat your governor like a paid prostitute!