Governor Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko of Sokoto State has unarguably joined the rank of the infamous by his recent flogging of an official of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in his personal residence.
Report has it that Wamakko did the unthinkable on October 20, 2012 when he whipped silly the PHCN Business Manager in charge of Giwa Business Unit, Sokoto State, Mr. Moses Osigwe, with horsewhip (koboko) on account of not supplying power to his village, Wamakko.
Besides flogging Osigwe like a school pupil, the governor ordered his two security details to beat up the victim until he became unconscious. The governor’s grouse, according to his media aide, Mallam Sani Umar, was that despite doling out N17 million to PHCN to install a new transformer in order to restore power to his village, there was nothing to show for it.
He accused PHCN staff of deliberate ploy to deny his community electricity. Not even an explanation by Osigwe could placate the incensed governor. No matter what transpired between Wamakko, Osigwe and PHCN, the governor has no right whatsoever to take the law into his hands or resort to jungle justice and primitive display.
Wamakko should have followed the path of sanity and civility to settle whatever grievances he has with PHCN instead of resorting to abusive self-help. By throwing caution to the wind, Wamakko has desecrated the hallowed office of the governor and abused it with impunity. Following the misdemeanour, the Sokoto State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has threatened industrial action. We condemn this shameful attitude of the Governor.
We cannot understand why a governor should descend so low to inflict physical pains and injury on a senior official of PHCN as if the latter is his houseboy. It is quite disgusting that a governor should go to this extent to settle scores with a public servant.
Where has the dignity of the office of the governor gone to? For whatever reasons, Wamakko’s action is embarrassing, uncouth, and ungubernatorial. The governor overreacted by letting his emotion control him in this extant matter. Somebody occupying the office of a governor should not be irascible. He should be somebody that should react to issues with great sense of maturity. Unfortunately, these traits are in short supply among our political elites.
This is not the first time a state chief executive has been involved in this type of executive lawlessness. What marks that of Wamakko out is the magnitude of the humiliation of the victim and the reason given by the governor’s aide for the unruly action. It is therefore little wonder that the Governor’s action has received widespread condemnation.
We urge the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) to call Wamakko to order. Let his colleagues tutor him on how to behave as a governor. They should tell him what he should not do as a governor. Those in government should be able to control their temperament. Beating up a citizen for no just cause is definitely one of those things a governor should not do.
He should render an unreserved apology to Osigwe and the PHCN. The governor should also pay the medical expenses Osigwe incurred as a result of the assault. Governors should see their office as a call to service and not one to be above the law.
The governor and the governed are joint stakeholders in the affairs of Nigeria. None should treat the other as a junior partner. The master-servant relationship exhibited by Wamakko in this case is untenable and should be condemned.
We had thought that the era of governors manhandling public servants has gone with military rule. It is, therefore, unthinkable that such jungle mentality still persists in 21st Century Nigeria. We call on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to order the trial of the two policemen that beat Osigwe to stupor. They should be punished for their ignoble role in the Osigwe saga.