A group under the aegis of Friends in the Gap Advocacy Initiative, has expressed worry over the increasing number of former state chief executives, who have turned the Senate to their retirement ground after their tenure as governors.
The Executive Director of the group, Mr. George Oji, who stated this in a statement issued in Abuja, on Sunday, said the trend, if not put under control, would lead to the complete hijack of the upper chamber by the former state chief executives.
The group noted that the number of ex-governors rose from six in 2007 to 11 in 2011 while the recently concluded National Assembly poll had shot the figure to 16.
The ex-governors, who would be inaugurated in the 8th Senate on June 4, according to Oji, included, Theodore Orji (Abia); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi State); Jonah Jang (Plateau State); Adamu Aliero (Bauchi State); Isiaka Adeleke (Osun State); and Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto State).
Others are, Joshua Dariye (Plateau State); Kabiru Gaya (Kano State); Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe State); Danjuma Goje (Gombe State); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa State); Ahmed Sani (Zamfara State); Bukola Saraki (Kwara State); George Akume (Benue State); and Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara State).
Oji noted that experience had shown that, “once in the Senate, instead of settling down to serious legislative work, the ex-governors busy themselves from day one with the politics of the leadership of the institution”.
He said, “We are concerned that most of these former governors retire to the Senate as a resting place as well as to continue to seek political relevance.
“We are also concerned that the invasion of the Senate by these ex-governors has led to the loss of quality representation in the red chambers as the in-coming governors have had to retire some of the very experienced and articulate lawmakers in order to attain their individual political ambitions.
“It is our further concern that rather than provide quality legislation in the Senate, the former governors see the red chamber as a platform to play all manners of ethnic and regional politics.
“We are seriously concerned that if the growing trend of the invasion of the Senate by ex-governors is not immediately halted, the leadership of the Senate may be finally hijacked by them”.
Oji argued that if the trend was not checked, “the ex-governors will form a serious power block in the Senate and the country may begin to witness the formation of another strong cartel that will continue to perpetrate their interest at the detriment of legislative functions”.
He added, “The parliamentary institution is the most critical of the three tripods that sustain every democratic jurisdiction and should not be left to the manipulations of those who are ignorant of its key functions”.