Open Letter To Hon Festus Olanrewaju Akingbaso, MHR Idanre Ifedore Federal Constituency
Need To Set In Motion A Constitutional Amendment In Respect Of Time Frame Within Which A Governor Should Absent Himself From Duty.
Compliments of the season sir.
I am writing to you, as a citizen of Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency which you honourably represent at the Hallowed Chambers of the Federal House of Representatives Abuja, to humbly request your honour to immediately commence and set in motion, legislative machinery for constitutional amendment that will determine the specific period of time for which a president or vice president, governor or deputy governor can absent himself/herself from his/her official duty post after which he/she can be declared incapacitated or incapable of discharging the functions of his/her office.
Your honour, will kindly recollect the nauseating and traumatizing experience of the good people of Ondo State during the time that the late governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu was clearly incapacitated and unavailable to attend to the arduous functions of his office and the consequent shenanigans of the cabals aimed at subverting and crumbling governance in Ondo State. It was, indeed, a moment where patriotism was seamlessly sacrificed on the altar of loyalty; a moment when hypocrisy and sycophancy reached its ignominious peak. It was, as you know, a horrible and harrowing experience that no one must pray to witness as we advance the course of constitutional democracy in our dear nation.
I respectfully invite your honour to note that this recent unpalatable experience had once raised its ugly head in the days of late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua in 2010 when certain cabal seized the control of government in a manner akin to military take-over due to the President’s ill-health. It took the bravery and courage of the then Nigerian Senate under the presidency of Senator David Mark, as well as men and women of goodwill before the then Vice President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan could be declared an Acting President using the Principle of The Doctrine of Necessity.
Your honour would also vividly remember that similar odious scenario occured in Taraba State when the then Governor Danbaba Suntai became incapable of administering the state due to air mishap he had on Oct 25, 2012 when he was by himself piloting a small plane cessna 208 and crashed himself near a Yola airport, Adamawa while on final approach. For about ten months, the cabal took Taraba State by the jugular and began to ditch out orders in a commando-like fashion until help came the way of the Tarabans who were sweating profusely under the burdens of the hirelings who found themselves in the corridor of power.
Recently, and lamentably too, it became the turn of the great people of Ondo State to taste, swallow and digest forcefully, the bitter pill of misgovernance under the merciless intruders, invaders and marauders who took undue advantage of the absence of ailing governor Rotimi Akeredolu to feed fat and live large on the people of Ondo State! The situation in Ondo State was particularly obscene and improperly coordinated, almost leading to the desecration of the exalted office and de-mystification of the holder of the office that is usually regarded as superhuman. (In those days, people thought that a governor is not capable of excreting or urinating because of his perceived special configuration)!
The wife of the late governor, Betty Akeredolu created the obscene aspect of the ignominy. She was and is still seen occupying the social media platform, throwing tantrums, harassing and battering anyone she could see on the way, even after her governor-husband surrendered to the cold hands of death! Such misdemeanor of hers, is now trending and tending towards creating mutual suspicion and friction between Yoruba value of sobriety at such a critical time and that of Igbo culture and belief that the dead, no matter his age or status, is greater and older than the living, and thus the living must be allowed to enjoy life to the fullest.
Dear Honourable sir, a constitutional lacuna of this nature has continued to wreck havoc and deadly blow against our already fragile national cohesion. It is not only creating difficulty in governance and unnecessary hardship on the governed but also avoidably, causing a bile, digging a hole, puncturing and piercing our unity in diversity and ultimately harming our peaceful co-existence.
Must we then inadvertently allow the insidious gap to become fully nurtured to a hydra-headed monster that can later truncate our hard-earned democracy of the last twenty five years? The answer should be capital NO!
The current arrangement whereby the body of commissioners is the one constitutionally recognized to pass a resolution to determine whether a governor is incapable of discharging his/her functions, before a State Assembly can begin to raise a medical panel, cannot take our fledgling democracy to the promised land. While the body was expected to patriotically pass such a resolution, they were busy passing extraneous and unsolicited vote of confidence!
How can appointees of a governor in an African setting, proudly rise to declare that their benefactor is incapacitated or incapable of discharging his/her duties even when they also know that their positions are not that guaranteed under the leadership of a consequential holder of such office?
The ridiculous public charade and facade which the present body of commissioners in Ondo State led itself into, the severe anguish and national embarrassment which the people of Ondo State suffered due to the unfortunate ill-health of the late governor, could have been avoided if a time frame for such absence had been unambiguously provided for, in the constitution. At the expiration of such time, the appropriate organ will, without under sentiment, activate the relevant section of the constitution to ease the governor out of office without any difficulty.
Let me state here that some of the challenges we are facing today as a nation, started on an unnoticed form and then, unattended to, until they fester to become seemingly or clearly insurmountable as we grapple with them today.
It is therefore on this patriot note that I am requesting your honour to make it a priority as you resume your legislative duty, the assignment of initiating before the Hallowed Chambers, legislative process of making appropriate
constitutional amendment that will specifically fix a time frame within which a president or governor can absent himself/herself from his/her official duty post after which he/she can be assumed incapacitated to perform the functions of his/her office.
It is my fervent hope, dear Honourable sir, that you will give this patriotic demand, your full legislative attention and the expeditious action it deserves.
Leye Igbabo writes from Ifedore Local Govt Area of Ondo State.
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