A legislative advocacy group, Friends in the Gap Advocacy Initiative (FGAI), has criticised the continued influx of former governors to the Senate, describing the trend as unhealthy for the nation’s democracy.
The group, in a statement signed by its executive director, George Oji, expressed concern that most of the former governors, who allegedly perpetrated bad governance in their various states retire to the Senate as a resting place as well as to continue to seek political relevance.
It disclosed that in 2007 six former governors were elected to the Senate, and that in 2011, the number almost doubled to 11, while an analysis of the outcome of the 2015 National Assembly election shows that the number has jumped to 16.
The group said it was worried that these ex-governors end up in the Senate to seek political cover from prosecution from their alleged criminal deeds.
According to it, 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 ambitions.
It stated: “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 these invading governors and David Mark will end up being the last presiding officer from outside of the stock of former governors that the Senate may produce in a long time to come.
“We in addition worry that if this ugly trend is not checked, in no distant future, these ex-governors will form a serious power bloc in the Senate and the country may begin to witness the formation of another strong cartel in the form of “Ex-governors Forum,” a powerful political group akin to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), that will continue to perpetrate the interest of the former governors in the parliament to the detriment of their legislative functions..”