The political melodrama going on presently inside Dennis Osadebe House in Edo State has left many students of politics with no doubt as to how endangered democracy is becoming by the day. Political watchers are at a loss as to how the office of the deputy governor is being violated by the governor, to the extent that a governor is locking out his deputy from office over the perceived political ambition of the latter.
It is important to note that the governor’s action is not an isolated case as there are several instances of governors in Nigeria treating their deputies unfairly. This trend is worrisome and goes against the spirit of democracy as deputy governors, like every other citizen, are entitled to their fundamental human rights, including the right to political participation.
Governor Obaseki’s undemocratic attitude towards his deputy is presently heating the polity in Edo State and is already causing further division and disunity in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the state.
Unfortunately, the people elected both the governor and his deputy to work harmoniously for the progress and development of the state, however, the governor’s actions of abandoning governance for personal fights with his deputy are presently creating tension among residents and this is beginning to affect the governance of the state. The reputation of the state is at stake, and the governor’s actions are not setting a good example for future leaders.
The governor’s insistence on preventing his deputy from having political ambition is undeniably, an infringement on his deputy’s fundamental human rights as every individual has the right to aspire for any political office, they deem fit if they meet the requirements stipulated in the constitution. To say it is undemocratic and unlawful for anyone to prevent another from exercising their constitutional rights is to state the obvious. The locked-out was simply an erosion of constitutional order.
Mr Obaseki must be reminded that the office of the deputy governor is a creation of the constitution; it does not exist or function at the discretion of the governor. The governor’s action must be condemned by all believers in constitutional democracy. The governor’s undemocratic attitude towards his deputy has caused division and disunity in the state.
Governor Godwin Obaseki’s actions are tantamount to dictatorship and a complete disregard for constitutional democracy and are an indication that the governor is unfit to hold any public office, as he has shown that he cannot uphold the constitution of Nigeria. This is worrisome because the position of the governor is a vital one, and the governor should be an example of good governance.
The actions of Governor Obaseki could lead to a political crisis in the state and must be avoided. The mandate given to him by the people is to serve them and not to lord over them. The governor must put the interest of the state and the people he governs above his interest.
The governor must realize that he is a public servant, and as such, he is accountable to the people and must respect the oath of office he took and the constitution of Nigeria, which is the supreme law of the land. The governor should realize that democracy thrives on respect for the rule of law, transparency, and accountability.
Some analysts have questioned the governor’s understanding of democracy as democracy is not just about winning elections but also about respecting the rule of law and protecting the rights of all citizens. Trying to prevent his deputy from pursuing his political ambition is an assault on political legitimacy, the governor is acting in an undemocratic manner and eroding the gains of democracy in the state.
The actions of the governor bring to the fore, the need to review the nation’s democratic system, by structuring it in a way that prevents tyrannical leaders from emerging or thriving. The political system should be designed to promote equity, fairness, and justice, and prevent individuals from using their positions to stifle the rights of others.
The undemocratic attitude of the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, against his deputy, Rt. Hon. Comrade. Philip Shaibu is a cause for concern. The governor’s actions are a violation of his oath of office and a complete disregard for constitutional democracy.
The governor must be reminded that he is a public servant, and he is accountable to the people. The people of Edo State should rise and demand accountability from their leaders. The future of their state and the nation at large depends on it.
Dr. Denis Osanmuyi
Writes from Benin