The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode John Fayemi said removing of security votes as being advocated for would be inimical to nation’s development.
The NGF Chairman stated this on Wednesday while addressing discussants at the quarterly policy dialogue on accountability for security votes, organized by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria ACAN in Abuja.
According to press release from Director, Media and public affairs, NGF, Abdulrazaque-Bello Barkindo in Abuja, Governor Fayemi noted that removing security votes would breed chaos in the polity instead of curbing corruption as is being widely believed saying there is no development without security.
He added that the abolition of security votes will bring down development, increase insecurity and also slow down the various states’ response to emergencies.
Responding to the question as to whether security votes are necessary, Gov Kayode Fayemi in his emphatic “Yes” buttressed his arguments with copious anecdotes from the United States Congress, several publications and examples.
Dr Fayemi said that the abolition of security votes will bring down development, increase insecurity and also slow down the various states’ response to emergencies.
In his argument against those calling for abolition of security votes, NGF chairman quoted the constitution and other relevant authorities to emphasize the fact that security votes are not only legal but have been in existence since the colonial era.
He said “Governments all over the world have security votes but they may not call it the same name as ours because for obvious reasons, government business may not necessarily be all in the public glare.”
Gov. Fayemi attributed the Iran Contra affair and other government action in South America as products of the use of security votes which those governments conveniently put away from the eyes of their citizens.
NGF Chairman however, tstated that in his state of Ekiti every transaction involving security votes are very well documented and receipted but nevertheless argued that unless something is done to ameliorate the malaise abuse of security votes in the country would continue to be rife.
Gov Fayemi further adduced his argument to the creation of State Police which he prescribed as the antidote to the expenditure being incurred by governors in the types of assistance that governors render to the Nigeria Police Force, which according to him when allowed to be would diminish the complaints that abound.
On his part, the Provost of the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, Professor Sola Akinrinade while welcoming the Guest Speaker also noted that removing security votes would be counter-productive but cleared the grounds to hear the submissions of the Governor.
While addressing the forum, the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye who was marvelled by the allocation of a paltry N3600 as security votes to an MDA sought explanation which the governor said could not have been intended to mean that the amount was for such expenditure but might have been so called for want of nomenclature.
In Conclusion, Chairman of the NGF, Kayode Fayemi advocated a partnership between the NGF and the ACAN to work out modalities that would lift the issue of security votes and its accounting processes to meet global best practices, in order to finally put an end to the controversy that the matter has generated over time.