…Lawyers, Activists Condemn Action of Outgoing Governors
Incoming state governors are now worried that they might meet empty treasuries, following last-minute contracts and loans being taken out by outgoing Governors.
In States like Imo, Bauchi, Adamawa, and Oyo states, where the incumbent Governors or their parties lost during the last governorship elections, the outgoing governors have been engaged in massive recruitment, while some of their aides corner public properties.
In Bauchi, Governor Mohammed Abubakar has been accused of planning to award spurious contracts worth N4 billion, and recruit 8,000 teachers before leaving office on May 29th.
In Imo state, Rochas Okorocha has been accused by the Governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha, of withdrawing
the sum of N17 billion belonging to the state government from the
Bank, and auctioning some official vehicles.
Meanwhile, a group of Lawyers and Activists have come together to condemn what they described as “greed, impunity, and subterfuge” on the part of “outgoing Governors giving out last minute contracts”.
While condemning Governors who engage in this act, they also warned beneficiaries of these contracts to avoid such risky venture, as the incoming Governor may choose to review and revoke such.
Contributing to the discourse, Abuja-based lawyer, Barrister Esther Uzoma said: “The habit of outgoing Governors giving last-minute contracts is very curious, it appears to be a desperate attempt to tie incoming governments in legal quagmire. Ordinarily Government should be a continuum but we have seen in Nigeria that the protocol for handing over to a new government is very nebulous.”
Ezenwa Nwagwu, convener of the ‘Say No Campaign Nigeria’, says the attitude of Governors awarding contracts at the expiration of their term in office is “a mix of greed, impunity, and subterfuge.”
According to him, some of the Governors only use other persons as fronts to get these contracts for themselves.
In his words: “In many cases, they are the beneficiaries of the contracts using fronts. The jobs are used as dubious settlement and patronage for cronies, but more deleterious is the challenge of burdening the new government with debt and discrediting it should they sack those who have been engaged.”
Also speaking on the matter, Barrister Alasa Ismaila, senior legal practitioner based in Abuja and Katsina state, said: “Although government is one and continuum, it’s pre-emptive and smacks of fraudulence to be issuing contracts while at the verge of a Governor’s end of tenure.
“Both the issuer and beneficiary are wrong and at risk. The succeeding Governor is at liberty to cancel or review such contracts of dubious origin and intention, and no law is violated.”
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