The High Court ruling that holders of key public offices can face criminal and civil cases while in office is a major triumph for justice. These includes governors, MPs and senior civil servants.
The Council of Governors had sought to shield holders of that key office from prosecution should they break the law. Indeed, the requirement that governors charged with corruption stay away from their offices until they are cleared has boosted the fight against the scourge. If allowed to go to their offices, they could interfere with or even destroy evidence against them.
While the President is exempt from prosecution while in office, the same should not apply to the 47 governors. After all, the President is not just the Head of State, but is also a symbol of national sovereignty. The holder of the highest office in the land must exhibit exemplary conduct and should never indulge in criminal conduct.
Previously, governors charged with crimes had unfettered access to their offices and some of the cases took much longer to conclude. The Supreme Court also ruled that being denied access does not amount to removal from office.
So far, six governors have been barred from accessing their offices after they were charged with criminal offences related to corruption and other economic crimes since 2018. This rule also applies to all public officers charged with criminal offences.
Governors must lead the fight against graft because they are the custodians of public assets, and ensure that those who betray that trust must be prosecuted.
This ruling which applies also to all public officers, is a win towards the fight against corruption, hence ensuring public assets are utilized for the country’s development and service delivery to the citizens.