The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Abdullahi Ganduje on Monday said deputy governors are seen as spare tyres in Nigeria’s political setting.
The former Kano State Governor made the observation on Monday when he hosted a forum of ex-deputy governors who served their respective states on the platform of the party.
Ganduje, however added that the beauty of spare tyres is that they can’t be neglected forever as they are always needed at one point or the other.
It was gathered that the former deputy governors were on a solidarity visit to Ganduje at the APC national secretariat in Abuja and complained about being sidelined in the scheme of leadership within the party.
They asked for an amendment of the party constitution so their members can also attend National Executive Committee (NEC) meetings just like former speakers and deputy speakers that are currently eligible to attend such meetings.
While addressing journalists in Abuja after their visit, the 60-member delegation represented by their chairman, a former Imo State deputy governor, Chris Alozie Akomas argued that deputy governors are known to have a massive following in Nigerian politics.
He added that the expertise and experience they have gathered after years of service cannot be wished away.
In his words,
“Our own interest should be protected. If there is a political party to which you have made contributions you should be carried along when the body takes critical decisions.
“We still repeat that we take it (former deputy governors’ exclusion) as an omission. You captured Speakers and Deputy Speakers but leave out people that served and represented the whole state; people who carry structures of a state.
“It is not good neither for the Forum of Former Deputy Governors of Nigeria nor for the political party or effective governance. This is because the effectiveness of governance has to do with bringing in cross-fertilisation of ideas. As we said, within the forum of deputy governors, there are expertise, experience, knowledge, and professionalism. That has to be done across boards.
Reacting to their concerns and demands, Ganduje promised that his administration would look into their grievances, adding that he understands their plight having served as a deputy governor himself.
The APC national chairman said, “The position of a deputy governor is a controversial one in governance. That’s why God has no deputy. APC as a political party is interested in what happens in government.
“It’s a two-way thing. We get information from govt and pass it to the people, just as we receive complaints from the people and pass it to the government.
“Everybody is a servant. It is a no-go area. Deputy governors are being seen as spare tyres. And we all know the importance of a spare tyre. If you don’t need it when you are normal, you will need it when you are in trouble.
“Another problem deputy governors will have to contend with is the issue of sycophancy. When you are walking with a governor and walk side by side to hear him when he talks, sycophants will say you are rubbish and all that.
“If you respect your principal by walking behind, sycophants will say you are developing a lukewarm attitude. Therefore you are retreating.
“Now, tell me which position will you take? It is difficult.”