Life Outside Power Is Challenging, Igbinedion, Saraki Tell Outgoing Governors

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Life Outside Power Is Challenging, Igbinedion, Saraki Tell Outgoing Governors

Life Outside Power Is Challenging, Igbinedion, Saraki Tell Outgoing Governors
May 16
08:18 2023

Incoming and outgoing governors were reminded yesterday that power is transient.

They were asked to stay humble while getting ready for life after office, which has its challenges.

Former Senate President and Kwara Governor, Bukola Saraki, and former Edo State Governor, Lucky Igbinedion, shared their experiences about life after public office.

Their Niger and Gombe counterparts, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and Ibrahim Dankwambo, said with adequate planning, those out of the office can always get by.

They urged people in public office to always plan their exit from the outset in order not to be caught unprepared when their tenure ends.

The former governors spoke on Sunday night at a farewell dinner held in Abuja by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for outgoing governors.

Saraki, who was a two-term governor and ex-Chairman of the NGF, reminded the outgoing governors that things will not remain as they were and cautioned them against interfering in the affairs of the successor uninvited.

He said: “Governors, please, note that from June, you are no longer governors. Please, leave your successors to do the work that they have to do. They will come to ask you for advice, please give them the device.

“As you exit as governors, you should brace up for the challenges ahead. It is a challenge when you actually exit the office.

“Spend more time with your family. Prepare yourself. Give more time to catch your flight, because no one is going to wait for you if you are late. The plane will go.

“Save more money for more hampers because the number will come down. Save money for ram because you will now have to buy for yourself, unlike before,” he said.

Saraki advised the incoming governors to avoid confrontation with their predecessors.

Igbinedion, who was the NGF Chairman between 2006 and 2007, advised governors to always “be prepared mentally for your exit from the very first day you are sworn in because the job necessarily takes all of your time”.

He added: “You hardly can find time to focus on the planning for life after office. From the moment you are sworn in, the countdown begins.

“When you bow out, do not look back. I know it is not easy to transition from being the number one citizen in the state to becoming just another citizen.

“There is always the temptation to always want to remain in control of things that you have left behind or left in the office.

“Please, and I repeat, do not let the bug bite you. It leads to an unavoidable conflict with your successor and creates needless tension in the system.

“Let your successor seek your counsel. If he seeks your counsel, you should be gracious enough to offer advice. If he does not, then let him be. That way, you keep your self-respect and you are free to focus on the next stage of life’s journey.

“In or out of office, the core essence of one’s personality never really changes. I am an ardent believer that power does not change people it only reveals who they truly are.

“From personal experience, I can assure you that friends of the office are always birds of passage. The day you leave office is the terminal date of their fellowship with you.

“Those who used to call you five times a day will not even bother to take your call not to mention calling you back. Believe me, it happens.”

Aliyu advised the incoming governors on the need to be focused on delivering good governance by making good appointments and effectively utilising the civil service.

The ex-Niger governor said: “As a human being, always bear in mind that whatever mode and style of leadership you adopt, you shall not be loved, praised and respected by all, you shall always have detractors and some who may never see any good in what you do.

“So bear in mind, the opposition, those power mongers, influence peddlers, corruption influencers and those who use one item (like religion, tribalism, ethnicity) to gain favour these would enjoy the benefit of your office but later turn to crucify you too many betrayals around the corner.

“I am sure many of you have seen the trend where the people who pretended they could not live without you, avoiding and shying away from you as the days of your departure draw near and they gravitate towards the person taking over from you.

“As a result of such people, I advise that you do not try to outshine the new person coming and to attempt to run the state by proxy.

“Indeed, even if your son succeeds you, be careful how you handle your relationship with him as a governor because if you are sure of yourself, you may not be too sure of (his mother, your wife and his siblings).

“So far, the majority of governors who tried to impose their successors have tended to disagree with them within a short time.

“Nevertheless, whether you prove to be good or bad, you must know like death, you must leave that office. Please prepare to leave without too much baggage, no regret only nostalgia for the good things you have done,” Aliyu said.

Dankwambo urged both the incoming and outgoing governors to “ensure meticulous record keeping of major decisions and policies especially proceedings of the Executive Council.

“Be prepared to face any challenges from national institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), etc who may have questions that require answers.

“Be realistic. The endless gifts (rams, cows etc.) were being given with ulterior motives and will dry up… As much as possible, avoid meddling in the affairs of the new government.

“Know that if you entrust large sums of money to your friends or business partners for safekeeping, retrieving it when you are out of office could be tricky as they are likely to betray you. So look before you leap.

“Be prepared and expect backbiting and criticism from virtually all segments of society by persons whose expectations and desires have not been met during your tenure. Avoid a sense of ‘entitlement’ in your relationship with people generally,” Dankwambo said.

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