The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to stop using governors as “punching bags’’.
The call was made by Head, Media and Public Affairs at NGF Secretariat, Abulrazque Barkindo, in Abuja on Thursday.
He said that the governors were signatories to an initiative, Open Governance Partnership (OGP), aimed at improving governance and promoting transparency in governance.
Barkindo lamented the “incessant attacks on state governors’’ by Dogara.
He recalled that Dogara recently tackled the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, where he challenged the governor to make public his salary and security votes “to which the governor obliged.’’
He added, “The governor had earlier demanded that the Speaker should come clean on the expenditures of the National Assembly but instead Dogara published N346.57 as his January take-home.
Of course, governors are human and can therefore not be adjudged to be all perfect, but the governorship institution is an integral part of this democracy, just as the House of Representatives
If the Speaker continues in this path of disparaging governors, he may ultimately endanger this same democratic process that brought him national prominence.
It may interest the speaker to note that at the last Governors Forum meeting of April 17, governors agreed to sign into the Open Governance Partnership (OGP).’’
The key indices of the agreement include fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, access to information and citizen engagement,’’ he said.
Kaduna state has also signed and many more governors, including Mohammed Ibrahim, are positively disposed to it.
This in summary means that the era of using governors as punching bags to score cheap political points is over.’’
He stated that the problem of non-payment of salaries was not peculiar to states, saying that it was everywhere, from the private sector to the public, including the National Assembly.
Barkindo advised Dogara not use salary payment to play to the gallery in his attempt to bring down political opponents but should concentrate on works to be done in the House of Representatives.
He added that the world was still waiting for satisfactory explanation on how the national assembly utilized over N1 trillion of public resources through the years, and its N115 billion annual budget.