Thursday, December 1, 2022

EX-CJN RESIGNATION OVER ILL HEALTH: CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS LEVELED AGAINST HIMMUST BE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED – CACOL

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has reacted to the recent resignation of Chief Justice of Nigeria,Justice Tanko Muhammad over ill health.

 

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, TolaOresanwo, on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The recent report about the resignation of the 17thChief Justice of Nigeria,Justice Tanko Muhammad is very laudable. First and foremost, we would like to commend the courage of the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria for taking a bold step that is not too common in this part of the world. Although he resigned due to ill health, we hope other public office holders will take a cue from this action of the Ex CJN by quitting at the right time, especially when they have been alleged to commit some official infractions or what is popularly referred to as gross misconduct”.

 

It should be recalled that, Muhammad’s resignation followed quickly on the heels of the allegations of mismanagement of funds leveled against him by 14 justices of the Supreme Court. It was reported that the justices of the apex court, in a joint petition, accused the Ex CJN of poor welfare, among other ill-treatment being meted out to them. In the leaked petition, the 14 justices accused the CJN of abandoning his responsibilities and diverting funds meant for the running of the Supreme Court.This is an unprecedented development in Nigeria’s judicial history and it will go down in history as one of the highlights of the tenure of the outgone CJN. But the man in the eye of the storm Justice Muhammadin a statement by his aide, titled, ‘Re: State Of Affairs In The Supreme Court And Demand By Justices Of The Supreme Court’, denied the allegations.

 

“We at CACOL would like to state expressly that all the allegations leveled against the outgone CJN should be thoroughly investigated by the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC), the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the various anti-corruption agencies in the country, swift prosecution should as well follow and he should be punished if found guilty of any of the allegations so as to deter others”.

 

The CACOL Boss added, “We would also like to congratulate Justice OlukayodeAriwoolaon his appointment as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. We urge him to live above board and write his name in gold by carrying out extensive reforms in the judiciary that will facilitate speedy dispensation of justice like we have in other climes while carrying along other supreme court Justices”.

 

 

CACOL ON ICPC’s RAID OF ABUJA PROPERTY BELONGING TO MILITARY CONTRACTOR

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has reacted to the recent raid of an Abuja property belonging to a military contractor for alleged money laundering by officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

 

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, TolaOresanwo, on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The recent report about the raid on an Abuja property, is one that is bound to generate a measure of public comments and interests, due primarily to the kind of society we have inadvertently turned Nigeria into overtime and because it is coming at a time like this when the game of politics is being played all over the country.

 

However, crime has no other name, especially when it bothers on financial impropriety which we all agree is single handedly responsible for the downward socioeconomic situation of things we are facing today, as a country. This is why we need to commend, the sense of responsibility, promptness and due diligence with which the ICPCresponded to this case.

 

Although the Commission has come out to say the investigation is still ongoing, facts available for the time being indicate that the property is owned by the owner of K Salam Construction Company, a military contractor. From the raid, the Commission recovered money and other items from the property namely: N175,706,500; $220,965; G-Wagon; 2022 editions of BMW and Mercedes Benz cars; customized mobile phones; several designer wrist watches, including three Rolexes, and some property documents. Operatives of the Commission also arrested the Managing Director of K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. KabiruSallau.

 

 

“We at CACOL would like to implore the anti-graft agency to intensify its investigation into the case involving this military contractor and come out to tell the Nigerian populace the gospel truth about it.We would like to know if truly the company is associated with anyone currently serving or who has served in government. It is a known fact that impunity and the ability to engage in crime without being punished arelargely responsible for the current sorry state the nation has found itself.  We believe that it is the moral duty of all Nigerians to be well informed and acquainted in cases such as this. We have always posited that the issue of corruption is too weighty to be swept under the carpet, irrespective of whose ox is gored”.

 

OWO MASSACRE:  CACOL CONDEMN ATTACK OF INNOCENT AND UNARMED CITIZENS

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday the 5th of June, 2022.

In a release signed by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran he noted that “It would be recalled that some gunmen attacked worshippers of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday maiming and killing scores of them in the process.”

The attack of these innocent worshippers is senseless, barbaric, condemnable, unacceptable and uncalled for. It is another sad tale of the security situation in the country.  It is so unfortunate that the security situation in the country has degenerated to an abysmal low level making all efforts aimed at restoring the lost glory of the security situation to be counterproductive.

“We were particularly saddened by the report that the two Police Divisions in Owo town and Area Command have no official patrol van to get to the scene of the crime despite having almost 50 men standby at the ACPOL, Owo. This is very sad going by the annual budgetary allocation to Security year in year out.”

“We at CACOL would like to call on the government to find a lasting solution to the menace of insecurity in the country by having a proactive approach which will prevent further atrocities of this nature.  Since the security of lives and properties is the responsibility of the government, the government of the day should also look into the possibility of completely overhauling the security architecture of the country. We would also use this medium to call on the security agencies to use all legal means to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to book”.

We also express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, the government and the people of Ondo State over the incident.

 

Supreme Court crisis: NBA wants ex-CJN probed, Ariwoola sworn in, workers demand autonomy

The Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, also stated that the former CJN should be probed.

“It is a good thing he honourably resigned and didn’t allow himself to be thrown out like Onnoghen but then, apart from the NJC, the Body of Bencher, the anti-graft agencies should do their separate jobs on him and at the end of the day, he should be given adequate punishment, if found guilty. This is necessary to serve as deterrence for others,” he submitted.

In her reaction, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Mrs Idayat Hassan, said the centre would go beyond calling for just probes.

She said the situation demanded an in-depth look into the implications on the judiciary and above all, on the democracy in Nigeria.

She further added that while the resignation of the former Chief Justice was honourable, it was worrisome that it was happening close to the 2023 elections.

The Convener, Human Right Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, noted that no Nigerian should be above the law and hence, the allegations against the former CJN should not be swept under the carpet.

The Chairman, Transparency International, Nigeria, Musa Rafsanjani, said the development presented an opportunity to remove the secrecy in the judiciary “because there’s too much secrecy in the judiciary spending,” adding that Nigerians needed to know how funds were managed and spent in the judiciary.

He also said reforms were also necessary to tackle the conditions that made judges give contradictory judgments.

When asked if the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission would probe the allegations against Muhammad, the commission’s spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, declined comment.

“We don’t disclose our plans or investigations; when we are ready to carry out a probe, we would do it and inform you,” she said.

https://punchng.com/supreme-court-crisis-nba-wants-ex-cjn-probed-ariwoola-sworn-in-workers-demand-autonomy/

 

There Are Political Racketeers In APC, PDP –Adeniran

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 Comrade Debo Adeniran, a veteran activist and public affairs commentator, is the Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the failures of 2021 and the expectations of 2022, as well as other crucial national issues. Excerpt:

How would you assess activities in 2021? 

As far as 2021 is concerned, it was a year of rhetoric. There was nearly nothing new done by the government that was not predictable. People’s expectations were not met. The hope that there will be better infrastructure, better welfare and security will be dashed. The economy plummeted, conditions of service became unbearable. A lot of people lost their jobs. Some businesses could not operate. Crimes and criminalities, like kidnapping, mass murder, banditry rose to unprecedented level in different parts of the country, especially the North West, though they still exist in North East. Killings by unknown gunmen reached a crescendo in the South East.

Agitations for ethnic nationalism got to the peak. Those agitating for Biafra Republic and Yoruba nation became louder and had to be subdued by the federal authorities. It was a year without any flavour, a year no one hopes should come back. Different variants of Coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged, vaccines and booster shots were introduced. Leaders publicised their vaccination. Nigeria has not been able to develop its vaccine. No security against COVID. Vaccination does not reduce morbidity.

But, governments are trying to force people to take vaccines when it has no proof of efficacy. It is unfortunate that the government has not done anything to relieve it. Yet, people are readjusting to cope with the situation.The investigation panel on #EndSARS reports did not bring any relief. Police have remained bestial. There is nothing to cheer about in 2021. But, we shall continue to hope for a better tomorrow.

Would you say 2022 would be better? 

The government will remain in power till 2023. It is the people who are absorbing the shock of this devastating moment that will adjust well. A lot of people are returning to the farm. Food security may be better enhanced in 2022. People are adjusting to non-pharmaceutical remedies for COVID.

Vaccination should be by conviction and not by force as people seem to have safe guarded themselves. People do not really come down with COVID fully. People have subdued COVID.

Insecurity has gone down in the South West, South South. South East is already tackling the issue of unknown gunmen, which was also attributed to IPOB. The unknown gunmen were not as bold as they were before. It is believed that they will be caged.

So, there is hope for a better new year. National economy may improve if there is no fear of bandits. Issue of bandits and kidnapping is going down. The IPOB has suspended its sit-at-home. The activities of the unknown gunmen have reduced.

Trade and commerce will improve in those places. It is in the North West that insecurity still abounds. People in Kaduna, Niger are in fear. But, once it is tackled, there will be improvement.

With continued crises in the APC in several state chapters, indicating widespread factionalism, some people are afraid that the party may witness an implosion before the 2023 general elections. What is your take on that?

I don’t know why people put so much premium on APC. It does not matter if there is an implosion in APC or not. What is important is good governance for the people. APC has not been unable to put its house in order because it is made up of strange bedfellows. The gain of its victory was a surprise to them. So, they were unable to manage it. It has crises in 16 states and has parallel executives in these states.

We should wait for INEC to tell us the parties that are fit for elections. It is not how neatly a party is run. It is how expeditious the government will tackle the welfare of the people. We will do our due diligence when candidates emerge. It does not mean that APC will run the next government. PDP is not a better alternative. The parties are made up of racketeers who want to corner public resources for the benefit of few people. That is why we are canvassing that any political party should have its ideology, develop its mechanism for social inclusion so that no section will feel cheated. We are not canvassing that the old folks be pushed away because their wisdom is needed in whatever party.

What is your view on the emergence of the New Nigerian Movement being championed by Mao Ohuabunwa and few other members of the intelligentsia for the next general elections? Are you part of them? 

The New Nigeria Movement is not new. What they have not done is to put themselves on a strong pedestal. The arrow heads have run or participated in one organisation or the other, or in one agitation or another, but they were unable to sustain their efforts. I doubt if they can command respectability among the people.

Some of the organisations and civil societies they run are not membership based. They are elitist and rely on social media. That is why they do not improve on strategies that will take them to the grassroots. Such an organisation without grassroots structure is bound to fail when they get to election. If they succeed in participating, they may not win grassroots support. Most of the arrowheads had been involved in some parties and ran in some elections.They remain elitists. Their campaigns are run in the media. They are a group of elitists who speak to the elites.

I cannot join such an organisation with the type of rudderless political structure they have. It will be difficult for people to take them seriously until the situation changes and the group becomes people-based. That is why I cannot join such an organisation.

The recent National Judicial Commission (NJC) hammer on three High Court judges is still reverberating. How do you see the development?

I think that is a step in the right direction by the judiciary in trying to sanitise itself. Such judges that turn their calling into merchandise should be punished. That is the least we expect from the NJC. Any judicial officer that does not fulfil the minimum standard should be punished.

This was not really the first time that judicial officers were punished. The judge involved in Aregbesola’s case was disciplined. Same was a former judge involved in a case of an indicted former governor. He too was also disciplined. These things happen in trickles. If the NJC does its work well, some judges and magistrates will be de-robed. Several lawyers will also be punished.

Some lawyers do not deserve to be Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). Some of them buy the position. That is why they turn justice to merchandise and many people cannot access justice.

How far has CACOL gone in its voter education programme which it started last year? 

Talking about our successes, we cannot score ourselves yet because we have not got to the end. When you are doing capacity building and you have not tested your effort, you cannot beat your chest. But, the capacity building is well received and people feel better equipped to tackle electoral issues. They have shown enthusiasm in sanitising their communities of corrupt elements with a view to stop such elements from corrupting the serenity of the environment so that the young ones will not see corruption as beneficial. They have now learnt to ask their representatives questions. A lot of people we have built their capacity are already asking questions in the existing structures in their areas to safeguard their interests.

We are waiting for the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections to see how well they will perform. We have taught people how to identify corruption, tackle corruption and ensure that corrupt elements are not allowed to continue. But, we need more cooperation and support from the media for us to do better in the coming years.

We did capacity building in Lagos and Osun states. We hope to expand, if we have support. There is no way we can succeed without such support. We need to source resources and logistics to these states to be able to increase and expand the capacity building to other states to ensure that all the states in the federation are involved.

Anti-Corruption Crusade Takes Centre Stage As Debo Adeniran Turns 60

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LAGOS  – Comrade Debo Adeniran, the nation’s frontline anti-corruption crusader and activist, on Friday May 15, 2020, turned 60.

Adeniran, Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), although marked the epoch making occasion without funfair, a cross section of activists held a colloquium in his honour.

The colloquium held at the Talk Hall, Angle 1706, Sango- Otta, Ogun State, attracted notable activists, although many could not be there physically due to the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Although only about 17 participants were at the venue, most of the discussants joined online via Zoom. Expectedly, the colloquium centred on corruption, with the theme: ‘LaunderedLootasPotentialForeignReserve for an Economy: What Lessons from Nigeria’s Abacha’.

The colloquium was held under the auspices of ‘Debo Discussions’, an interactive forum inaugurated that day, meant to hold at regular intervals as a retirement engagement by the celebrant.

‘Debo Discussions’ is a forum meant to find meeting point on what is said, promised or meant by duty bearers (ruling elites) and what is understood, expected or desired by right holders (the citizenry) on socio-economic and political issues at different levels of government in Nigeria.

Personalities that graced the occasion, included Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; Barrister Femi Falana (SAN); Comrade (Barr) Femi Aborisade; Ogbeni Kolawole Isola, who represented Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly; Hon Kehinde Joseph, who represented Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; and several others.

 

During the discussion, several observations were made by participants concerning looted funds in Nigeria. They noted that there had been too much emphasis on Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot, whereas there are still many more of such funds stashed away in foreign banks, while the culprits move about freely, just because they are still alive.

The participants also maintained that other past Heads of State suspected to have looted public treasury during their tenure in office, should also be probed and their loots recovered.

They stressed that such recovered loot could be used to provide critical infrastructures for the country.

One sore point they noted as unfortunate was that some of the petitions submitted to anti-corruption agencies by civil society organisations were not investigated.

The participants also observed that foreign countries which received the looted funds always paid them back without interests despite using them to develop their economies, but give stringent conditions to repatriate the recovered loot.

Participants at the colloquium also noted that Nigeria’s foreign reserve is denominated in U.S dollars, while America’s reserve is denominated in Gold, thereby making it less volatile.

They also lamented that Nigeria’s youth of today have not been showing much interest in assuming leadership positions.

click the link to read more https://independent.ng/anti-corruption-crusade-takes-centre-stage-as-debo-adeniran-turns-60/

Debo Adeniran @ 60

Coronavirus Should Teach Nigeria To Be Self-Reliant – Adeniran

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Comrade Debo Adeniran, an activist, is the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and a public affairs commentator. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the implications of the Coronavirus pandemic to Nigeria as well as the resolution of the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), among other issues. Excerpts:

How do you see the way the federal and state governments have been handling the COVID-19 pandemic?

It is difficult to determine whether the handling is inadequate or not without engaging in a comparison with other countries. The index case could not have been discovered, but for the Lafarge doctor. We can talk of laxity at the entry point. But, the disease is new and there could not be symptoms until after some days. The best could have been to shut down the airports at the early stage. They ought to have shut down the airports long ago. A lot of people with the virus could have entered into the country undetected at the airports, just like the index case. Many could have also entered before the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the virus situation as a pandemic.

click the link to read more…

https://independent.ng/coronavirus-should-teach-nigeria-to-be-self-reliant-adeniran/

Challenges ‘Operation Amotekun’ May Face In Days Ahead – Adeniran

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Comrade Debo Adeniran is the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and a public affairs commentator. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the South West Security Network, otherwise known as ‘Operation Amotekun’, and some challenges the outfit may face, even as he touched the Ondo and Edo states governorship elections that will come up later this year, among other crucial issues. Excerpts: 

 How do you see the formation of the Amotekun security outfit by the South West governors? 

Operation Amotekun would have been unnecessary if the nation’s security had been effective. The regional security system became necessary when the people of South West became vulnerable to attacks by people they believe are strangers. They also believe that the security forces are strangers and do not know the terrain. Amotekun is home-based and understands the terrain. It is a necessary step.

What challenges would you foresee for the Amotekun project? 

The first challenge is the problem that the Police, NSCDC and the Army may see them as rivals. They may see the Amotekun as taking their glory. They may therefore work at cross purposes. If the security forces and Amotekun operatives clash, that may make a mess of the objectives. Again, there is the problem of adequate training and equipment as well as the security of the Amotekun operatives themselves. If there is no rivalry between security forces, they may abet such attacks.

Already, the Inspector General of Police has threatened that there are certain categories of arms that will not be found with the Amotekun. Thus, they may be under the power of the herdsmen with superior fire power. They may also face the challenges of funding. The South West governors face a lot of financial challenges. If they are not paid by the governments, the Amotekun operatives may become criminals themselves.

Northern youths were said to have rejected the project. What is your take on the development? 

But, the Arewa youths, through Yerima Shettima, has denied it. However, whatever fear any region has does not hold water. Each region had always had their security arms. The North has nothing to fear unless they have some criminals in South West who may be checked by the Amotekun. If the Federal Government fails to protect the people, the people have the right to protect themselves. Security is everybody’s business. Any part of the country that wants to set up security outfit is free to do so.

With the crises in Edo and Ondo APC involving the state governors, how do you see the governorship election coming in both states in the later part of this year? 

Elections in Nigeria have not been without various forms of intrigues, horse trading and violence. The two elections may not be exemptions. Already, there has been no trust situation in both states. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Federal Government have the duty to protect the people. It should not go the way of Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections, where there were a lot of instances of killings. Elections should not be seen as do-or-die. The people should not see elections as personal, but by convictions. Politicians should not trade in the blood of the innocent people to acquire power. Such things should prick their conscience. A number of alignments and realignments may occur. Political friends may become foes and political foes may become friends. If the government does not allow manipulations, it will be free and fair. But, a lot of political actors may want to foment trouble. Security agents should make security reign. They should work hard to pre-empt violence. Security apparatus of government are expected to get information in advance and nip crises in the bud. I don’t see any trouble if everybody do the required things at the right time.

Do you think that possible defection of both Godwin Obaseki and Rotimi Akeredolu would not adversely affect the fortunes of APC in both states if the crises in both states remain unresolved? 

Cross carpeting is part of the political game in a multi-party democracy. People bring up allegations and counter allegations against people when there is an election. What is happening in Edo is an anathema. When the Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, got to office, he was sober. But, now, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, feels betrayed and that he is being edged out and reduced to nothing when he should be an asset. He feels he is a strategist that should be consulted. But, if Obaseki defects to another party, he may lose the election. Those edging him on do not want him to leave the party. They do not want to be in opposition giving what is happening in Bayelsa and the lackadaisical attitude of the governor of Rivers State. So, they do not want to leave the mainstream. Governorship is transient. If the governor is not careful, he will be the loser. It is proper for Obaseki to consider well before jumping the ship. It may backfire and affect his credibility.

In Ondo State, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is already mending fences with the party leaders. Although, Alliance for Democracy is becoming more popular. But, if Akeredolu plays his card well, he may be forgiven. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu supports those in power. But, Akeredolu should not undermine the person of Asiwaju. Those he may anchor his support in Abuja may not be there for him. The former Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, did not undermine the influence of his leader and the leaders of the party. Amosun did not defect to Allied Peoples Movement (APM) even though he supported the governorship candidate, because he knew the influence of the National Leader. That should teach Akeredolu a lesson. He should remain in APC and fight it out instead of remaining strong headed.

What is your take on the planned hike of electricity tariff? 

The National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has denied that. Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) can come up with surprises. GENCOS and DISCOs can, in fact, wield undue monopoly. The hike is wicked for people who are not enjoying constant electricity. They do not access electricity well. It is unfair for government to allow that. There is no reason for the agencies to overcharge the people. If they get constant light, people will be ready to pay. But, now, there is epileptic electricity supply as the whole country has no power. It is only a wicked government that will allow this. They should not overcharge people who do not have regular electricity, cannot do their business, suffer damages and spend more to maintain generators. Electricity supply cost Nigerian consumers more expenditure due to the multiplier effect of lack of electricity. No government should try it. Nigeria consumers should rise up against the planned increase. Nigerians should resist it and let the suppliers go to hell.

With crisis in the 2019 elections and the governorship polls in Bayelsa and Kogi States, what reforms would you advocate in the country’s electoral system? 

It is beyond INEC to some extent. The National Assembly should rework the electoral law. The voter register should be electronic. Electronic voting should be legalised. If banks should use the BVN to regulate banking, voting should not be an exception. People should do voting from their homes, like banking. The voting number should not be duplicated. Anybody caught in manipulating votes should be barred from contesting elections. Those who participate in violence and killings should face the full wrath of the law. If the penalty is stiff and the judiciary does not back down, everybody will sit up. The lucre for political offices should be reduced. Salaries of political offices should be equal to those of public officers. They should not be given luxuries they cannot afford.

It pains people that the politicians are paid so much for doing nothing. Their salaries should not be more that those of Permanent Secretaries in the MDAs. People should not spend so much to cause brigandage if they know they will not be getting much. Those to be appointed into INEC should be above board.

The Professors used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are said to be making mistakes in calculations. What options do you think INEC has if they drop academics? Do you think the nation has enough experts to do the work instead of the academics? 

You cannot have enough experts. People do not study elections in universities. The best we can have is the academia. The best thing is for INEC to be thorough. It is not the Professors that do the calculations. That is why we advocate for electronic voting system. It is those who work with the Professors that make the mistakes. If the votes are electronically calculated, errors will be eliminated.

What agenda would you advocate for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2020? 

President Muhammadu Buhari should strengthen the anti-corruption efforts and deepen the reach of the anti-graft system. President Buhari is doing well. But, there are a lot of detractors who undermine his efforts. He should ensure there is more publicity of what is being done to combat crimes and corruption. It takes a lot of efforts and patience to extract a virus that has ravaged the body. Corruption has taken deep root in Nigeria. Right from when the colonial masters left, we did not know the level of corruption until all the system began to collapse. It will take a gradual process to repair. People in government are used to our corrupt system.

Basically, President Buhari administration should be vigilant. Whistle Blowers should be well compensated and their payment made easier. Corruption cases should follow due diligence. He should establish anti-corruption courts for them to handle corruption cases. Adequate punishment should be meted to those found guilty. Their properties and assets should be confiscated. Those convicted should live the rest of their lives behind bars. They should be wearing tags showing their former positions and offences they committed and the jail term they are serving so that anyone coming to see them in prison will know what they have done. They should be in special prisons where students will go for excursion, with their names and positions displayed. They should be working in the prison or taught skills there. They can practice all skills in prisons. However, they should not be paid, but should be well taken care of so that they will be healthy to work in the prison. Lastly, President Buhari should constitute a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to evolve a national ideology to give direction to everybody. If the SNC is conveyed, it will give everybody a sense of belonging.

With Nigerians expressing worries over the rising cost of governance, how do you think this could be reduced as Nigeria moves into 2020? 

About three or four years ago, we suggested that Nigeria should adopt what Senegal did. Senegal did away with their Senate and reduced the salary of their lawmakers. In Nigeria today, a lot of people see government as an industry and abandon their trade and businesses. They go into government to get rich. People attach themselves to public officers to get rich. That is why Nigerians are getting lazier by the day. It also accounts for the huge amount the lawmakers take, be it at the federal, state and even the local government level. Reducing cost of governance does not mean reducing the structure of government. The Senate does not do more than what the House of Representatives does. Nigeria can do away with the upper legislative house, since the House of Representatives is more representative of the people.

Each constituent should be able to take care of the representatives. It should be the responsibility of the constituents to determine what the salaries of their lawmakers should be. The constituents should be able to determine the take-home pay and allowances of the legislators and aides. The idea of government paying everybody huge amount at all levels has made people to become lazy in raising funds, even at state and local government levels. People in local governments should sit down and determine how to take care of their state lawmakers at both state and local government levels. Every state should contribute to the centre, every local government should in the same way contribute to the state. This should be the way to restructure the federation.

Some of us have suggested the scrapping of state governments, while the local governments should contribute to the centre. That is the only way to reduce cost of governance and people will be active in generating income. Everyone will know how to hold their representatives responsible accountable.

The National Assembly, especially the Senate cannot legislate themselves out of office and the executive cannot remove them from the constitution. That is why we advocate for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), which should be the beginning of true nationhood, instead we will continue to be a contrived geographic expression which people will not take care of. That is why we are advocating that President Buhari should convene a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to consider all systems, decide on revenue generation and allocations to different sections of the economy. This will reduce cost of governance. Although there will still be some oligarchic leaders who may want to control government, they could be checked, instead of the type of unitary system we are running now.

Debo Adenira

Candidates Should Incorporate Anti-Fraud Issues In Campaigns – Adeniran

Comrade Debo Adeniran is the Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). He spoke with EJIKEME OMENAZU on the growing insecurity in the South East, the threat to declare a state of emergency, as well as the division of Northern and Southern governors and leaders over the issue of zoning of the 2023 presidency, among other issues. Excerpt:

During his Independence anniversary speech, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke about some terrorism sponsors in the South East and South West, even as he fingered a prominent member of the National Assembly as a sponsor. What do you think is the implication of such a blanket accusation? 

Different people have different styles of governance. The reaction of people may inform the government’s responses. People are against media trials, premature arraignment of suspects. Thorough proper investigation should be carried out to ensure that suspected sponsors of terrorism are duly prosecuted and punished. It is defeatist on the part of the government to think of knowing the criminals before they are punished. People should be deterred from financing terrorism. Such people should be arrested and prosecuted.

What are the implications of such a blanket accusation of the National Assembly members? 

The implication is that it will give the financial sponsors of terrorism time to cover their tracts and make Nigeria feel unsafe in the hands of the government and that will make the government lose the loyalty of the people. It is the prerogative of the government to provide security. If the government cannot provide security, it has lost its function. It is a failure of intelligence and failure of governance for the government to share power with the terrorists.

What is the difference between what is happening in the South East from what is happening in the North East and North West? 

The difference between what is happening in the South East and North East and North West is that those in the South East have declared a different government, a different republic. This is not the case in North East and North West despite the onslaught of Boko Haram. In the South East, they have their currency, their flag, their army, everything that will make a different country. The ESN’s activities are like an army. They force people to obey their laws. Boko Haram is a terrorist army, which wants to impose their rule on the people. They have not gone as far as IPOB. In the North East, people have not stopped their economic activities. In the South East, the ESN impose sit-at-home and people who disobey are attacked. That is why the situation in the South East is so different from what obtains in the North East. Borno, Adamawa and Yobe had state of emergencies because of inadequate protection of the people due to the Boko Haram. In the South East, IPOB does not want elections to take place. They want to disrupt the Anambra election. No government will want to allow disruption of campaigns and elections in the South East. People’s houses have been attacked and residents killed, including Dr. Chike Akunyili. That makes what is happening in the South East more devastating than what is happening in the North East. Boko Haram has been declared a terrorist organization. IPOB has also been declared, but they have continued to operate illegally.

What is your take on the split between the Northern and Southern governors and leaders over the issue of zoning the 2023 presidency? 

I am not really interested in political arguments. We want a system change. The elite should not be leading us by the nose. The arrangement of North/South leadership is tossing people’s sensibility. People should come from any part of the country and participate in elections. People should be concerned about good governance, social inclusion, transparency, and participatory governance. It is not about where people come from. Goodluck Jonathan did not develop South South even though Bayelsa is his home state. The few developments in the North were not only when their citizens were in government. Most of the developments in the South were carried out by heads of government from other parts of the country.

What is your view on the recently released Pandora Papers which fingered some top Nigerian politicians over alleged fraud and money laundering? 

It is an expose that government has to take seriously. There were previous papers before this one. The previous governments handled them with kid gloves. We cried to high heavens and nothing was done and they were swept under the carpet. Those names that came up should be investigated. Government should carry out a due diligence investigation of those mentioned in the Pandora Papers. Government should recover what has been looted. Nobody should be in government and still be in business or engage in underhand dealings elsewhere. If government fails to do something about the current revelations, it will affect the image of Nigeria.

Your group has been going around to speak to people about the 2023 general elections. Could you tell us about your recent campaign? 

The Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) recently commenced the sensitisation of Nigerians on the 2023 general elections to inculcate in them the virtues of integrity of the electoral process. The project is with the support of Mac Arthur Foundation. It centres on anti-corruption and accountability in elections, even at the grassroots level. The goals of the project tagged ‘Priotising Anti-Corruption and Accountability Issues During the Upcoming 2023 Elections’, include to reduce corruption in the country by bolstering support for anti-corruption and social inclusion among critical groups and strengthening policies and programmes for anti-corruption in the country. The main project goal is to reduce corruption in Nigeria by educating and mobilising citizens’ groups and galvanising support for anti-corruption among political parties, frontline candidates and critical interest groups and networks involved in the 2023 electoral processes in Lagos State. It is our view that the media should increase their reportage and investigation of corruption and accountability issues before, during, and after the elections to ensure that political parties and their candidates incorporate anti-fraud issues in their manifestoes and agenda. There is an urgent need for anti-corruption campaigns to percolate down to the grassroots and even to the level of primary and tertiary institutions to stem the tide of rising cybercrimes (Yahoo-Yahoo) among our youths. Political parties must be engaged in mainstream anti-corruption and accountability in their manifestos and activities. There is an urgent need to amplify the voices of the people at the grassroots because most of them do not even have access to their elected representatives once they are sworn in. There is need for more proactive measures by anti-corruption agencies in timely investigation and prosecution of offenders. In the case of Lagos State, the state anti-corruption agency should be truly independent to investigate and prosecute all corruption cases and should also work in synergy with other anti-corruption agencies. There is the need to increase citizens’ timely voter education and sensitisation by both the electoral body and relevant stakeholders. In the last few weeks, CACOL had been holding consultative meetings with stakeholders in the five major divisions of Lagos State with the aim of making the 2023 general elections corruption free. The programme, which is supposed to be national, will be held in different states, although it was kick-started in Lagos State.

Some Nigerians are worried over the one party state in Lagos. How could this trend be reversed? 

Only Lagosians can change the current one-party rule in the state to multi-party administration. The one-party structure of the Lagos administration can only be reversed by the people. What is happening in Lagos is the choice of the political elite in the state. If the citizens are satisfied with what is happening in Lagos, we are not going to fight their battle. They can form their own political party and vote out the ruling party. The people have the right to make Lagos a multi-party state. Lagosians have the right to belong to different political parties. They have the right to vie for elections in any other party and win. If they are cheated, they should use the channels available to them to protest to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), they can embark on street protests or go to court. If there is adequate enlightenment, they will know what they should do. We can only give them enlightenment on what to look for.

Report of C-GATE Quarter 2, Year 2

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Report of C-GATE Quarter 2, Year 2

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