Today, the National Judicial Council, NJC, led by Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, began another landmark journey in an effort to rid Nigeria of the dangerous cankerworm that has been the bane of our national development with the inauguration of Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee. It is common knowledge that a committee of this nature is necessary in a clime where corruption has become the major albatross stunting our national development. And now that it is becoming almost obvious that perpetrators of the heinous crime have formed a cartel pillaging the progress of moves to fight the scourge of corruption, it will not be out of place for any determined government on the track of combating corruption to raise a monitoring committee, such as this, to ensure the success of the fight.
While we commend the effort of government and the leadership of the NJC for the laudable move, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, hereby admonishes the members of the new committee to by themselves undergo self-appraisal, task their consciences and honourably throw in the towel should they see any impediment that could impede the successful delivery of the task before them. We make bold to say this as we know it would be difficult for any lawyer or judge that is involved in any high profile corruption case, to deliver without bias in a committee as respectable and highly important as the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee.
For a lawyer who is holding brief in a high profile corruption case or a judge sitting in judgement over such cases to be in a committee as sensible as this, is in itself counterproductive and should be condemned and discouraged. We are of the opinion that the regime of serving the nation for the benefits attached to the office should stop while a new dawn of selfless service for the general upliftment and glory of our nation and humanity should take over if we must wriggle out of our present Egypt to the Promised Land, where equity, fair play and justice reign.
It is on this note that CACOL advocates that seeing appointment such as this as a call for service entails that any judge that has direct dealing with a corruption case, should be honourable enough to bow out of the budding committee. We also view that any lawyer that is defence counsel to any allegedly corrupt public office holder need not be in the esteemed committee because such presence automatically takes away the credibility of the committee.
Nigeria is blessed with an array of intellectuals cutting across all segments of human endeavours. It will then be no excuse to complain of dearth of credible people with unblemished records and who can serve without bias in a committee as sensitive as this and which duty is of dire importance to our nation at this point.
It is also in this spirit that we call upon the Federal Government to be circumspect in its recent bid to enlarge its cabinet with the appointment of more ministers.
To us in CACOL, the problem with the nation is not with the number of the ministers we have but in ensuring that the right people are recruited to do the right job. It has been our position that the current cabinet, as constituted, comprises some round pegs in square holes, the reason for the lingering lull in the speed of development in so many sectors of our economy and the attendant heavy tolls on the masses of this country.
The idea of recruiting rookies to government as compensation for loyalty without recourse to fitness and mastery of the portfolio such person is saddled with, must stop. For the umpteenth time, we are calling for the dropping of the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde RajiFashola, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Malami Abubakar, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, among others .
These ministers have displayed gross incompetence in their various ministries as their impacts are scarcely felt by Nigerians. The earlier they are replaced with competent citizens taking over their portfolios, the better for all of us and the nation at large.
We also canvass that the President relieves himself of the position of the Minister of Petroleum. It is an anomaly in governance that must be speedily corrected.
Lastly, CACOL congratulates the new Chairman of the Corruption and Financial Crime Cases Trial Monitoring Committee, Justice SulaimanGaladima. Galadima replaced former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami who was earlier nominated to lead the team butrejected the offer.
We wish the committee members good luck and success in the execution of the enormous job placed in their hands as Nigerians look forward to a society free of corruption and sundry iniquities.