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Don’t give governors kid glove treatment



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The position being advanced by governors that they should be treated with ‘dignity’ when under investigation or arrest is misguided.

Everyone is equal before the law. All suspected criminals must be treated equally irrespective of station in life.

The governors are no sacred cows. At any rate, they ought to understand that the public is disenchanted with them because of the mess they have created in the counties.

The level of corruption, pilferage, wastefulness and nepotism in the counties is alarming, making nonsense of the devolution dream.

Devolution was conceived as the antidote for skewed development under the previous centralised government.

That with devolution, resources and power would be dispersed to the people and, in turn, empower them to make decisions on what matters to them.

But governors have been busy killing that. The dream is getting lost as counties are turned into cash cows.

Governors splurge public money on themselves at the expense of the counties. Which is the reason why investigative agencies are on their case.

Parliament, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations have interrogated several governors in the recent past over malpractices.

A couple of them have been arrested and arraigned. Besides corruption and wastefulness, some have been implicated in other grave offences that demonstrate moral depravity.

So, when the chairman of the Council of Governors, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, faults the investigative agencies for the way they have been handling his members, he’s off the mark.

Here are people entrusted with public resources and enormous responsibilities. But most of them have betrayed that trust.

They cannot expect to be handled with kid gloves; it must be hard tackle. Every other citizen caught in a similar situation suffers the same fate. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Again, publicising the arrest of governors at their homes is not unprocedural. The method the agencies choose to use is their prerogative.

In fact, we insist that what the investigators must do is to gather concrete evidence to sustain convictions in court.

Anything to the contrary becomes aimless drama, does not serve the public interest and is likely to be counterproductive.

But if the governors are agitated because of the ruthlessness of the investigators, the point they should be making is that those agencies ought to devise better approaches of handling everyone suspected of criminal offence — not just the county chiefs.

Whatever the approach, all must be treated equally and fairly.

The onus is on the agencies to conduct proper investigations and gather sufficient evidence to nail down the suspects. Governors are no special creatures; treat them like any other citizen.

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