Ordinarily, they are supposed to be partners in progress in the service of their states. But in most cases, the relationship between state governors in the country and federal legislators from their respective states have been everything but cordial.
From Bauchi to Kano, Kaduna to Ogun, the situation remains the same. The only difference is perhaps the reason and nature of the struggle for supremacy between the governors and the Federal lawmakers. While in some states, governors are quietly waging a cold war against the lawmakers, in others it is full blown political hostilities.
Although several reasons have been adduced for the no-love-lost relationship between state executives and their federal lawmakers, Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar, who himself is at loggerhead with federal legislators in his state sums up the cause of the problem with one word: “Ambition.”
Analysts say the frosty relationship between legislators and governors in the country is largely as a result of the proclivity of the governors to want to micromanage the politics of their state.
Since the advent of the present political dispensation, state governors had carried on as the lord of the manor.
The governors, especially those in their second term, see themselves as the emperor who should dictate who gets what in the politics of their states – starting from the choice of who gets the ticket of their respective parties to contest election into the National Assembly. After the elections, the governors, with eyes set on who succeeds them in office, most times expect the federal lawmakers to be their “yes men” or at least be on the same page with them politically.
For the first term governors, although they may not have had a say in the emergence of the federal legislators from their states, once they were swore-in, they would want the federal legislators to kowtow to them politically.
In situations where the governors fail to get the anticipated “loyalty” from the lawmakers, a clash becomes inevitable. That is actuallly the situation in the states where there are conflicts between state governors and their federal legislators.
In Bauchi State, majority of the federal lawmakers from the state led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara are up in arms against the governor.
The Speaker in several instances had stated that himself and the other lawmakers were opposed to Governor Abubakar because he was not delivering the much talked about dividends of democracy to the people of the state. Dogara noted in a recent interview that: “Even though I will never engage in confrontation towards the governor; I will never support a situation where we are not delivering the goods.”
However, in a recent interview with journalists, the Bauchi governor said Dogara’s claim is not correct.
He said the Speaker and others opposed to the state government are doing so because they want his seat.
“Every state in Nigeria has members of House of Reps, Senators but none of them are misbehaving the way our own are misbehaving; so it is essentially ambition”, Governor Abubakar noted.
The political hostility between Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso is public knowledge. The bone of contention is the control of the politics of the state ahead of the 2019 general election.
The conflict has divided federal legislators from the state, with some backing the governor, while others have cast their lots with Kwankwaso.
Recently, the rift between the Kano governor and some federal legislators from the state reveberated on the floor of the House as lawmakers from the state went for each others jugular.
A legislator from the state, Hon Aliyu Madaki in a motion alerted the House to an imminent breakdown of law and order in Kano, owing to prevailing political situation in the North West.
Madaki, who represents Dala Federal Constituency of the state, in his motion said the state police commissioner was allowing himself to be used to harass supporters of Senator Kwankwaso.
He explained that the police commissioner invited Kwankwaso’s supporters for interrogation after they attended a political meeting in Katsina State.
Madaki said: “The manner in which the CP descended into the arena over issues that are purely political, such that many in Kano now regard him as the de facto factional chairman of the APC.”
Like in Kano, the political atmosphere in Kaduna State is charged. This is as a result of the battle of supremacy between Governor Nasir El-rufai and Senator Shehu Sani.
The duo are daggers drawn over the 2019 governorship election in the state.
Sani, who had wanted to contest the last governorship election in 2015, told an online news porter recently that the problem between him and his governor “is not personal, but more ideological, particularly the way our people are treated and governance is going on.”
On his part, the Kaduna governor said Senator Sani, who is said to nursing governorship ambition in the 2019 polls, is angry with him for not appointing his nominees as commissioners.
“I don’t think he is a threat to me politically or in any way. In 2018, when the whistle is blown we will see who has support on the ground in Kaduna,” the governor declared recently.
In Kogi State, a cold war is raging between the Governor, Yahaya Bello and two prominent National Assembly members from the state: Senator Dino Melaye and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Abiodun Faleke. The bone of contention is the governorship seat in the state.
Faleke, who was the APC deputy governorship candidate to late Abubakar Audu, had challenged the emergence Bello as governor of the state. However, the Court eventually affirmed the election of Bello.
On the hand, Melaye, who supports Faleke is also at loggerheads with Bello
Friction between governors and their federal legislators, who are most often dubbed “Abuja politicians” did not start with the present crop of governors.
It has actually been a regular phenomenon in the polity since 1999. In the conflicts between the governors and the federal lawmakers, many of the affected legislators are known to have kissed the dust. However, only very few governors are known to have been bruised in the supremacy battle.
Some of the notable conflicts were the ones between former Ebonyi State governor, Sam Egwu and then Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim and the tussle for the control of Enugu politics that raged between then governor Chimaroke Nnamani and his godfather turned foe, Senator Jim Nwobodo.
At the end of the day, both Anyim and Nwobodo lost out as they could not return to the National Assembly.
Also, prior to the 2015 general elections, former Enugu State governor, Sullivan Chime battled Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Senator Ayogu Eze over the choice of his successor. At the end of the day, Chime had the upper hand in the tussle.
Ekweremadu, who quickly realigned with the former governor got the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) ticket to return to the National Assembly. Eze, who fought to the end lost out on all fronts.
As the 2019 general election draws near, there are clear indications that the “war” between governors and their federal lawmakers may get more intense, especially regarding who gets the nomination of their respective parties for whichever position they may be eyeing in 2019. Even those states where all seem to be well at the moment may erupt.