As the year 2012 comes to a close, a lot of mishaps and misfortunes happening to top Nigerians have come in fast: two months ago, the Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai was seriously injured when the plane he was piloting crashed just outside Yola airport; on December 15th, Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa and former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi and four others were killed in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State; the Kogi State Governor Idris Wada was injured in a car crash involving his convoy on Thursday in which his aide-de-camp lost his life. Also, the governors of Enugu and Cross River States, Sullivan Chime and Liyel Imoke are said to be seriously sick in hospitals abroad.
While a lot of these incidents have generated varying degrees of sympathy mostly depending on the persons involved, it has also showed how futile life is, for both the governed and those governing. It has showed that death does not respect who is in power neither does it spare who is in poverty. It is hoped that these incidents show all those in power that life is transient and it would put in them the desire to work to improve people’s lives rather than make themselves demi-gods.
But even beyond that, it has gone to prove the importance of having competent running mates in governorship elections who would become deputy governors. Most times, deputy governors are picked simply to balance ethnic/regional/religious political equations. Those who get picked are rarely those who have distinguished themselves or have the ability to be their own men.
In most cases, the deputy governors find themselves in a catch-22 situation: when they work too hard, they are tagged ‘too ambitious and a threat to the governor’; when they are sluggish, they are called lazy and eased out. They rarely have any influence on government policy and are reduced to mere errand boys. An excellent example can be found in the words of the new Governor of Kaduna State, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero during the valedictory session of the State Executive Council for the late Patrick Yakowa, where he accused the commissioners of abandoning him and working to see him removed.
It is about time that governors and governorship candidates stop seeing deputy governors as spare tyres. Instead, they should see them as governors-in-waiting in the event that a vacuum is created at the top.
We do not pray for more governors to die or be injured, but we have to plan for such eventuality as so is life.
If plans are not made, we run the risk of having people who are neither qualified nor ready find themselves in office beyond their capability which would in turn create bad governance for the people.
May 2013 be a year without calamities, executive and non-executive.