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Shauibu: CHRICED cautions govs against humiliating their deputies

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), has cautioned state governors to desist from humiliating their deputies.

This is coming on the heels of the faceoff between Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shuaibu.

Shuaibu had alleged that he was recently locked out and prevented from entering his office in Benin, Edo State.

CHRICED Executive Director Ibrahim ZIkirullahi, in a statement yesterday, told governors to stop behaving like emperors because of their transient position.

Zikirullahi called on the Edo State House of Assembly to summon the courage to address the situation, adding that ugly situation was denigrating the state.

He said: “CHRICED unequivocally condemns the humiliation and denigration of the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shuaibu through actions, which are antithetical to the rule of law, natural justice and the tenets of democratic governance.

“From the details in a recent viral video, which showed how the Deputy Governor was locked out, and prevented from accessing his office, it is clear that whatever disagreement he is having with his principal, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, is being taken to a ridiculous level by the Governor’s camp.

“While political disagreements and face offs are common in a democracy, which gives room for plurality of perspectives, what is not acceptable is the denigration and reduction of the importance of an office, which is a creation of the constitution.

“Illegal and extra-judicial actions like preventing an elected official from accessing his office space undermines the constitution, the rule of law and the principles of natural justice.

“Those who authorized such illegalities may be targeting Comrade Philip Shuaibu as a person; however, what they don’t seem to understand is that beyond the person occupying the office, they have actually rubbished the office itself, which is the collective heritage of the good people of Edo State.

“For avoidance of doubt, the Deputy Governor is not an employee or an errand boy of the Governor.

“Their quarrel notwithstanding, the feuding duo are actually partners in a joint ticket, which was endorsed by voters in Edo State at an election.

“Of course, there can be no gainsaying that the Governor as the principal on the ticket takes precedence as the leader and chief executive of the State.

“However, that does not give him (the governor) the license to treat his deputy in a shoddy and unacceptable manner akin to the show of shame going on in the Edo State Government House.

“It is similarly trite to assert that if the Deputy Governor has acted contrary to any law or administrative procedure, there are laid down procedures to hold him accountable.

“To however denigrate and humiliate him without consideration for the office he occupies and the joint mandate received alongside his principal from the voters in Edo State, is to engage in lawlessness and extreme executive brigandage.

“CHRICED therefore calls on the Edo State House of Assembly to summon the courage to address the situation.

“However, if the State Assembly has become too toothless, compromised and lacks the capacity to carry out its constitutional function of oversighting the executive, the national legislature and relevant law enforcement institutions need to step in and do the needful.

“Similarly, it is imperative to admonish power-drunk State governors to learn how to exercise their powers responsibly and in the collective interest of citizens.

“CHRICED hereby warns that impunity and abuse of political power are among the factors causing disenchantment and alienation of citizens from the democratic and governance processes.

“One such awful example is the case in Ogun State, where the Governor is hounding and harassing the Chairman of a Local Government Area (LGA), who had the courage to make it clear that it was inappropriate to divert allocations meant for the LGAs.

“As it stands, no institution of the state has stood up in defense of the affected LGA Chairman, and the Governor has succeeded in kicking him out of office. Such misuse of power will surely not augur well for democracy at all levels, including at the grassroots.

“CHRICED therefore calls on citizens, activists, and human rights defenders to put these issues at the forefront of their advocacy in order to salvage whatever is left in Nigeria’s dwindling democracy.”

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