Veteran trade unionist, Peter Esele, has said that corruption was endemic at the state level and governors were getting away with it because Nigerians put so much attention on the president.
Esele said this while reacting to a suggestion by governors that the Federal Government should offer federal civil servants who are above 50 years a one-off retirement package to exit the service.
He noted that the biggest problem in the country was governors dictating to the president or The Presidency whereas they (governors) were the major problems in the country.
According to him, it is uncalled for for governors to suggest or advise the Federal Government to retire civil servants above 50 years.
“They should face their states and allow the Federal Government to come up with such decision on its own.
“After all, what have they done in the areas of primary and secondary education which falls under their purview, even in the area of primary health care delivery?“ he asked.
Esele, a former president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), noted that all the governors had done was to borrow so much and try to avoid repayment.
“The governors are not telling us what they did with the money.
“I don’t know how many states in Nigeria you can put side-by-side with the amount they have borrowed from the Federal Government and also from the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“Our attention has been on the president and that is why the governors are getting away with corruption because if we dig deep, corruption at the state level is unprecedented”, he said.
The veteran unionist, while noting that there was no money going to the local councils any more, said that this was at variance with the country’s constitution.
According to him, the governors do whatever they like, including wanting to decide who becomes the country’s president and what happens in the country, stressing that such should never be allowed.
“In the country today, you can have a disagreement between the Federal Government and the National Assembly, but there is no single state in Nigeria where you have a disagreement between the state legislators and state executive.
“Whenever the legislators and executive are in bed, know that the citizens are suffering or will suffer for it later.
“That is what has been happening across the 36 states of the federation,” he said.
Esele noted that members of the state assemblies who were expected to carry out checks on the executive were not doing so.
He noted that even in terms of budget screening, state assemblies were complacent as the budget brought in were hastily passed in two days.
“In all, the governors are our major problems in the country and cannot proffer solution to what they are the root cause or what they have not been able to tackle in their states,” he said.