Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution creates emperors as President, Governors- Dickson

Senator Seriake Dickson representing Bayelsa West in the Senate has said that insufficient mechanism for accountability by leaders must be addressed in the 1999 Constitution.

The lawmaker, who has been in the Senate since 2020, was a guest on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, a socio-political programme which was aired on a national television. 

According to Dickson, the 1999 Constitution created emperors as President and governors because the drafters of the document omitted accountability in terms of the use of power by public office holders.

Asked why some governors have been obstructing financial autonomy for local governments, the ex-Bayelsa governor said, “If you look at the framework of our constitution, the biggest emperor that the Nigerian Constitution has created is the President, that’s the biggest emperor but there are also 36 and now 37 (a Minister of the FCT).

“There are 37 emperors because of the insufficient mechanism for accountability built into the constitution which is what we must address. Accountability in terms of the use of power.”

Dickson, who was Bayelsa State governor from February 2012 to February 2020, said he never tampered with local government (LG) funds as governor for eight years.

“For eight years as governor, I never tampered with one naira of local government fund. I was rather giving them a percentage of IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) to support them but I am told that there are state governors who literally commandeer all their (LG) allocations and even given them piece of paper to sign,” he said.

“I now introduced a transparency law by which as governor I gave myself legal obligation to announce what was coming to the state and how it was spent every month. That same law directed the local government chairmen to do the same in their local governments. And I said the punishment for not doing that consecutively amounts to gross misconduct”, said Dickson. 

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