June 12, 2024

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Kalejaiye Canvasses Constitional Roles For Deputy Governors, Vice Chairmen

3 min read

Vincent John

High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye

Traditional ruler of Otumara community in Lagos State, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has lent his voice to the call for constitional roles for elected deputy governor and vice president.

Kalejaiye argued that since the governor and his deputy and the president and his vice president were elected on the same ticket, the constitution should have distinct roles for respective office to avoid incessant clash of interests.

Former president Goodluck Jonathan had called for the inclusion of roles of deputy governors in the Constitution to address incessant friction between governors and their deputies.

Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Jonathan, alongside other eminent Nigerian politicians made the call on Tuesday, at a book presentation, titled ‘Deputising and Governance in Nigeria’, authored by Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Lending his voice to the call, Kalejaiye said deputies are treated like second class citizens by their principals despite the fact that they are elected on a joint ticket.

According to him, the injustice cut across the three arms of government vis-a-vis the Federal, State and the Local.

He alleged that as deputy governors got entangle in the battle of relevance with their governors, he disclosed, so are vice chairmen with their chairmen at the local government level.

He said, “The constitution should have a clear cut responsibility for the deputies and their principals.

President Muhammadu Buhari

This will guarantee harmony and progress in the country and would bring to an end constant friction between the elected officers.

A good working relationship between the governor and his deputy and the country’s president and vice president, is vital to a functional democracy.

The situation whereby the governor can remove his deputy with the blink of an eye should be discouraged.

This state of affair does not only exist at the state and federal levels, it is more pronounced at the local government level where the council chairmen treat their deputies as irrelevant.

Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa

They exclude them from governmental duties despite the fact that they both have a joint mandate.

They determine the roles to be played by the deputy. This system of governance is alien to democracy. Its like militarising democracy and that should not be encouraged.”

Citing an example of the National Assembly, Kalejaiye said it is a perfect example of separation of powers.

The responsibilities of the upper chamber and its principal officers, he stressed, is separated from that of the lower chamber.

He said, “The frequent clashes between deputies and their principals are not experienced at the National Assembly. This is because either of the chamber has a clearly assigned role.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan

But this is not the case with the Executive. It is so bad that a deputy governor or vice chairman is only relevant at the mercy of his principal.

Their functionality depends on the grace of their principals. In some cases, it is so bad that if either governor or chairman is out of the state or country, they don’t delegate authority to their deputies.

Cases of such misuse of powers by local government chairmen abound.

Across Lagos government areas in Lagos state, chairmen wield excessive powers to the detriment of their deputies. In fact they could be likened to a totalitarian.

The Vice Chairmen has no say in the running of affairs at the council. They neither have a say nor input in who gets what contract at the council.

Rt Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of House of Representatives

Meanwhile the electorate expose to ridicule believing they have failed to deliver on their electoral promises after their tenure.

Also the supervising Ministry of Local Government Affairs and the Lagos State House of Assembly are not helping matters as well.

While the Ministry focus only on the chairmen to give account of their stewardship, the state Assembly has also failed to give necessary legislative backing to empower and assigned constitutional roles to vice chairmen.

As we approach election year, the State and National Assemblies should amend the constitution to balance the power and roles of the governors and their deputies and chairman and their vice chairman.

The relationship between the governors and their deputies and local government chairman a their vice should be complementary and not a kind of master-servant relationship as far as governance is concerned.”

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