DailyPost is in possession of a leaked chat between former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode and Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu on the state of emergency rule imposed on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday night made the pronouncement in an emergency nationwide broadcast.
Fani-Kayode and Momodu were however sharply divided in the conversation which they had on a Blackberry Messenger group. While the former was against Jonathan’s decision, the latter supported it.
Fani-Kayode in his argument, said that the declaration came too late and that having the State Governors and all political appointees retain their position, portrays the President as a weakling. But Momodu maintained that because Fani-Kayode’s political godfather and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo dethroned a duly elected governor during his tenure does not mean that such act was legal.
Fani-Kayode – “I am impressed and encouraged by the tough talk that our President indulged in tonight but I have never heard of a State of Emergency where the governors and other political office holders in the affected states are given the opportunity to “remain in office”. This has never happened before in the history of Nigeria. As far as I am concerned President Jonathan’s declaration of a State of Emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states is too little and too late. The governors and ALL political office holders in the affected states should have been completely removed and the whole state should have been run by a Federal Government appointed civilian Administrator who would then have the full backing of the military. That is what is meant to happen when a State of Emergency is declared. Sadly Jonathan did not have the guts to go all the way and to remove the governors and this half-measure that he has put in place will not have the desired effect. This is another lost opportunity. What a pity.”
Dele Momodu – “I wish to disagree with Chief Femi Fani-Kayode on his position against the decision of President Ebele Jonathan not to sack the State governments of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa after declaring a State of Emergency! The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not empower The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to arbitrarily sack a duly and constitutionally elected government in the States. The fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo did it with impunity and got away with it because we had gutless Governors does not make it right. This culture of rambunctious rascality and rabid vindictiveness cannot be allowed to continue. On this one I support President Goodluck Jonathan and salute him for not terminating the lives of elected Governments in Federalism. It is not the fault of those State Governments that Boko Haram has ravaged their States. In reality, how many States are truly immune from wanton destruction of lives and properties? Security agents were killed like rats in Bayelsa the other day. Many lives have been wasted in Plateau State. The mother of Coordinating Minister of the Economy was kidnapped and only escaped by the whiskers and after serious deals. Dead bodies were seen floating in Anambra State. The general malaise has spread even to Lagos. To sack those Governors is to also indict the Federal Government for its inability to crush the viral rebellion with all its Federal might! It is to sack the entire Nigerian State for failing to secure the lives and properties of citizens. The solution lies not in the over-militarisation of North-East Nigeria or Nigeria in general. It is for our leaders to terminate the culture of Poverty they have instituted through their reckless profligacy. The all-pervading state of insecurity in Nigeria is symptomatic of a brewing Revolution of cataclysmic proportions. Guns can never chase away hunger but politicians CAN if they are serious, sincere and determined!”
Fani-Kayode – “Which court said that the constitution does not empower the President to suspend state governors? Which court declared OBJ’s actions illegal? OBJ got the necessary approvals for his actions from the Nat. Ass. Will someone ask those that say that OBJ’s actions were not constitutional whether OBJ was there when all serving political office holders were removed in the Western Region when a state of emergency was declared there in 1962.At the end of the day only one thing matters and it is not my interpretation of the constitution or anyone else’s. What matters is whether this hitherto untested system of having a serving governor who has not been able to maintain law and order in his state still running it when emergency laws are in place. It will lead to chaos, abuse of power, the persecution of political enemies, confusion and more atrocities. It will not succeed in stopping BH but it will strengthen it and cause it to spread. The logic of allowing those that have failed to protect their people to continue for the prescribed period of six months and avoid suspension is beyond me. The fear of a state of emergency by the governors and political office holders is what makes them sit up and do their best to avoid it. It is a very heavy hammer and once wielded the consequences must be felt by all including those that have failed in their duties in the state. Once they are assured that they will be allowed to continue in office even after that hammer is wielded the deterrent is removed and there is no longer any incentive for them to ensure that there is peace in their states. In fact some of them would even want a state of emergency because it would give them awesome powers to deal with their enemies and commit all manner of human rights abuses and atrocities. There is nowhere in the constitution that says that a governor cannot be removed in a state of emergency and until a court declares it otherwise I shall deem it lawful, necessary and expedient”
Dele Momodu – “I insist that the bullying of State Governors under President Olusegun Obasanjo was unconstitutional, all gas and of no substance or significant consequence. It was this chicanery that produced the mess that we’ve all found ourselves in today. Femi should kindly tell us what Obasanjo’s sledge-hammer had achieved in the long-run. It is that realisation of monumental failure that has turned President Obasanjo to the most vociferous critic of Jonathan today. Femi should also educate us if any Governor in Nigeria has a State Police to contain insecurity. If President Jonathan can’t do it with all the soldiers, Airforce, Navy, SSS, etc, at his beck and call it would be callous to hold Governors responsible for our collective failure. Finally, may we find the courage to resist Jonathan whenever he graduates to the full-blown dictatorship of the Obasanjo era. I stand with President G. E. Jonathan on this one occasion for not sacking any Governor to serve a bloated ego”
Fani-Kayode – “A last word for Dele Momodu: The governors are described as the Chief Security Officers of their respective states in the constitution and they are charged by that same constitution and by oath before God and the people to provide security for the state. Yes we all know that the security agencies are Federal institutions and it could be better but nevertheless that is their duty and charge. I am not aware of one case where the Commissioner of Police, the Director of SSS or the Brigade Commander in any state has refused to follow the governor’s orders in his state. If a governor cannot handle security in his state with all the soldiers, SSS officers and mobile policemen at his disposal then he should resign from his position and re-apply to become governor again after the constitution allows him to have a state police force as opposed to a Federal one. Our governors surely cannot abdicate the responsibility for security for their respective states to the President alone. They also have a key role to play because they are physically present in those states and they are on the ground. The truth is that in reality the governors are like little emperors in their respective domains. They are exceptionally powerful and the power that they wield is awesome and often unchallenged. Surely even Dele Momodu knows this. If they really put their mind to it they can do far better than most of them have been doing. Over and out!”