Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said abolition of security votes would breed chaos in polity rather than curbing corruption as being advocated for in the country.
Fayemi was quoted making the expressions while presenting a keynote at the quarterly policy dialogue on accountability for security votes on Wednesday in Abuja.
Fayemi in a statement issued by Abdulrazaque Bello-barkindo, NGF Head, Media and Public Affairs, said that there was no development without security.
Fayemi’s topic for the Keynote address was Security Votes: Are they necessary? Are they legitimate?
The NGF chairman argued that security votes had existed even before the coming of the military to power in Nigeria.
Fayemi said that doing away with security votes would instead of addressing corruption, hinder development and security in the country.
He said that on whether security votes were necessary was an emphatic yes, citing copious anecdotes from the United States Congress, several publications and examples.
Fayemi maintained that the abolition of security votes would bring down development, increase insecurity and also slow down the various states’ response to emergencies.
He said that security votes were not only legal but have been in existence since the colonial era.
“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.”
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.
He said that in his state, Ekiti, every transaction involving security votes was very well documented.
Fayemi, however, said nevertheless, unless something was done to ameliorate the malaise abuse of security votes in the country it would continue to be rife.
The NGF Chairman described the creation of State Police as the antidote to the expenditure being incurred by governors in the types of assistance they rendered to the Nigeria Police Force.
He said that when state police was allowed to be, it would diminish the complaints that abound.
The Chairman advocated a partnership between the NGF and the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) to work out modalities that would lift the issue of security votes and its accounting processes to meet global best practices.
He said that this would help to douse the hew and cry that accompanied the matter over time.
Earlier, the Provost of the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, Prof. Sola Akinrinade also said that removing security votes would be counter-productive.