The Senate on Wednesday condemned the withdrawal of the security aides attached to the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
The senators asked the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to direct the reinstatement of the aides without further delay.
Moving a motion under order 41, Emmanual Bwacha, Taraba-PDP, faulted the explanation offered by the police chief for the withdrawal of the security aides.
“I woke up to my shock to listen to an explanation offered by the Inspector General of police in respect of the withdrawal of security aides of the governor of Anambra State,” Mr. Bwacha said.
“Mr. President, this matter is bi-partisan. The explanation offered went to the extent to mean that because there is a need for a level playground for all the aspirants in the Anambra governorship election, so, the governor who is a sitting governor should lose his security aides. Mr. President, I was in a state of shock when I received this explanation."
“The governor has lost his immunity on an election that everybody is allowed to participate. If a precedent is being set, we want clarification. In 2019, if the president will contest, the president will lose all his security aides because we want a level playground. I am not a member of APGA but I know that injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”
After gaining the leave of Senate to grant an exception to discuss the issue, the lawmakers resolved that the aides of the governor should be returned.
Biodun Olujimi, Ekiti-PDP, said Nigeria would become a ‘banana nation’ if such issues are not properly checked.
“It is the role of the IG in taking over the aides of a sitting governor, it means that even the Senate President would lose all his aide because of one man."
“The IG is looking for everything in the book to substantiate that he withdrew the security aides from a sitting governor to provide a level playing field. I want to say this is unbecoming and a very bad thing for our democracy."
“As a sitting governor, every governor regardless of their political party is entitled to security. It is unimaginable for the IGP to say because he wants to provide a level playing field because there is an election; he would now withdraw his aides so that he goes without the retinue of aides."
“2019 is close by. We are approaching election, this is an ominous stand of what is to come after now means that in 2019 that most people, including the Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, including the president of the nation would have all their aides withdrawn and everyone would be open to the vagaries of whatever happens to them."
“It calls to the fact that someone is not in charge; because at every time, people should be able to checkmate certain heads and excesses of people in a position of authority. The IGP has messed it up right. We need to tell him he has not done well. The aides must be returned to the governor."
“The aides must be returned. Nothing like this should ever happen again.”
In his contribution, Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, dissuaded the senators from making a fuss over the situation, saying the decision was entirely that of the police.
“President Muhammadu Buhari on so many occasions said no security officials should be used for elections to the advantage of the party he belongs to. If something like that happened, that was an entire police affair."
“I support the position taken here that we need to provide a level playing field. It shows how democratic we are. The serving governor deserves his aide. I don’t want anyone to think this is a trend. We shouldn’t allow this to stand in this position.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urged the lawmakers to erase insinuations that the police chief acted on the order of leaders of the federal government in taking the decision.
“What is wrong is wrong and should not be misinterpreted that whatever actions of the IG of the police is a directive of the government. The IG needs to do the right thing to protect this democracy,” he noted.
The Senate after deliberations resolved that the security aides of the governor should be returned and that nothing of such should happen again.
Specifically, the lawmakers directed the chairman of the Police Affair Committee to ensure the restoration of the governor’s aides by Thursday and report back to the Senate.
The Senate, however, rejected an additional prayer by Ovie Omo-Agege, that all aspirants for the Anambra gubernatorial election be assigned an equal number of security aides.