Thursday, 26 June 2014

Governors and security votes

                        Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan
With the upsurge of crimes across the country the monthly security votes being allocated to the governors should be scraped because the governors are not applying the funds for security purposes but divert such funds to personal use while the country groans in violence! Any time there is crisis in the states, the governors who are the chief security officers in their states do not offer any help to salvage the unpalatable situation but cry to the Federal Government for help. The question is, what is the purpose for allocating the security votes to the governors? What do the state governors use the security votes for? The inability of the state governors to contribute proportionately to the management of security in their various states have showed that they are not employing the huge security votes they get every month for the purpose for which they are given. This is obvious from the fact that each time there is outbreak of violence in the states the governors become helpless and cry to the federal government for assistance! The events unfolding in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States where there is state of emergency have clearly revealed the non-applicability of the security votes by the governors to combat the security challenges in those belligerent states! 
Security votes are fashioned after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of America. CIA funds are deployed to espionage and other covert operations so its funds are not usually accounted for openly. So, the members of the CIA only brief a select committee of Congressmen whose members is sworn to secrecy. This is why the CIA is very effective because it renders account of its stewardship but in the case of Nigeria the governors do not give account of how they spend the security votes but give excuses for their failures to achieve the security objectives in their states. One major excuse the governors have always given is that they are toothless bull dogs that cannot bite because according to them, they are mere chief security officers in their states without control over the police. They therefore called for the establishment of state police which they could control and use at their whims and caprices. They also said that the people that would be recruited into the state police will be indigenes of the communities and would be capable of policing such communities effectively.
However, the excuse of the governors is untenable and they are not being honest with Nigerians for saying they do not have control over the police in their states. By this assertion the governors are only misinforming Nigerians because the governors actually have control over the Federal Police and do control them! Do the governors not use the police in their states as security aides to themselves, wives, children and wards? The governors go everywhere with policemen as their bodyguards, assign them to their wives who sometimes become their bellboys and open car doors for them yet the governors say they do not have control over them. The children of governors are not spared from the bandwagon of the abuse and misuse of the police in the various states of the federation. They go to and fro school each day in police escort! How else do the governors want to control the police?
Moreover, for the governors to say they do not control the police is mischievous and a great disservice to the Nigerian State because apart from the fact that the governors use the police as security aides to themselves and their nuclear families, we have had situations where the state governors had also used the police to rigged elections in their favour. From all the aforementioned, how else do the governors want to control the police? It is evident that the governors only say they do not have control over the police when there is violence in their states because they do not want to spend their security votes to checkmate such violent outbreaks. Pointedly, the governors have failed woefully to judiciously put to use the huge security votes they derive from the federal government monthly. This is why the country is prevalent with violent crimes while the governors look helpless. It is not because the governors do not have the capacity to stamp out violent crimes from their states but have refused to apply the huge security votes to the police for intelligence gathering which is one of the most valuable ingredients in crime control all over the world.
It is on record that some governors receive as much as N2billion or more monthly as security votes depending on the federal allocation to the states concerned. With such huge security votes, Nigerians expect the governors to circumspectly deploy such funds into security matters that could guarantee peace nay, the governors prefer to employ the security votes on materialism rather than fund the police adequately so they can function optimally in order to provide security for the masses.
On Nov. 12, 2007, a popular newspaper reported a plea by former Gov. Ladoja Rasidi of Oyo State that the Federal Government should abolish allocation of security votes to governors so as to “reduce corruption”. His feud with his “godfather” late Lamidi Adedibu was his claim on part of the security funds. Late Adedibu once accused Gov. Ladoja, “He is too greedy”. He further said, “He was collecting N65 million as security vote every month. You know that governors don’t account for security votes. He was to give me N15million of that every month. He reneged. Later, it was reduced to N10million, yet he did not give me”.  Governors, most of who did not actually win elections, spend such funds on electoral cases! This is why it is very cumbersome to remove a sitting governor from office because they spend their security votes to purchase favourable judgments for themselves. Other areas governors spend their security votes are religious pilgrimage and the sponsors of thugs who  snatch ballot boxes and help them rig elections in their favour.
It was therefore not strange when in 2012, Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwaso, said that state governors were using security votes to sponsor religious pilgrimages as a smokescreen to steal public funds. Mr. Kwakwaso had only stated the obvious as many Nigerians know the governors do not spend their security votes on security matters. This is why there are so much violent crimes across the nation. It is inconceivable that with the precarious security situation in the three States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, the governors are yet receiving security votes monthly for doing nothing towards salvaging the savage situation. This is indeed disturbing and should not be allowed to continue. Since the declaration of state of emergency in the three states mentioned above, what have the governors been doing with their security votes? Evidently, the federal government bears the cost of managing the security challenges in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States yet the governors continue to receive security votes.
Moreover, it is disheartening that with the commitment of President Jonathan in confronting the daunting security challenges he is being castigated and maligned by his political detractors as if he is not doing enough to remedy the regrettable happenings. This is rather unfortunate! A review of the security challenges and management in the country shows that it is only the federal government that expends its security votes on security matters but nobody queries the governors on how they spend their security votes! The federal government under the leadership of President Jonathan should be commended rather than condemnation on its role in combating violent crimes across the country.
It is glaring that the monthly security votes being allocated to the state governors are not being deployed to security purposes rather the governors expend the funds on gratuitous things such as religious pilgrimages, security aides to their nuclear families, electoral tribunals and the maintenance of thugs! In addition, the governors do not render account of how they spend their security votes, a situation which gives apple opportunity for thievery and corruption. The security votes at the state level should therefore be scrapped since the governors do not expend their security votes on security management.

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