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Showing posts with label Mohammadu Buhari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mohammadu Buhari. Show all posts

BREAKING:Police Releases Names of 10,000 New Recruits Ordered By Buhari; See Full List Here

BREAKING:Police Releases Names of 10,000 New Recruits Ordered By Buhari; See Full List Here

BREAKING:Police Releases Names of 10,000 Recruits Ordered By Buhari; See Full List Here
Names of successful applicants into the Nigeria Police Force in the just concluded recruitment exercise has been released by the Police Service Commission.

The commission in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, said the recruitment was based on merit and federal character.

The commission advised applicants to check their names on its website.

Read the full statement issued by the commission below:


”The Police Service Commission has concluded the recruitment of some Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force. This is in fulfilment of the directive of Mr. President, at a Security Summit in Abuja last year where he announced the federal government’s decision to inject 10,000 police men into the Force.

The commission has conclusively completed the recruitment of the General duty applicants made up of 500 Cadet Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP), 500 Cadet Inspectors and, 7,500 Constables.
It has also concluded the recruitment of 80 per cent of 1,500 specialists expected to be recruited into the Force and have shortlisted applicants who applied for some disciplines that require further professional/expert interview.

These include engineering, laboratory scientists and technicians and community health officers. Date for the interview will soon be communicated to the shortlisted candidates.

The Recruitment exercise was based on merit, Federal Character and geographical spread and all the successful candidates went through the processes put in place for the exercise.

These include State screening which involved the screening of the credentials of the candidates and physical screening such as height, sight, chest etc.

The Commission in accordance with extant rules and its guidelines placed advertisements in several National Dailies inviting suitably qualified candidates. The adverts ran for six weeks from April 1st to May 13th, 2016.

At the end of the six weeks period, a total of 911,438 applications comprising 262,462 applicants for Cadet ASPs, 211,832 applicants for Cadet Inspectors and 437,144 applicants for Constables were received electronically.

A total of 338,250 applicants were later shortlisted also electronically and invited for screening at the State Commands of the Nigeria Police Force. This figure was made up of 44,684 shortlisted for Cadet ASPs, 87,736 for Cadet Inspectors and 205,830 for Constables.

This process was followed through from Command to Zone and finally the National level where the successful candidates were selected.

All through the recruitment exercise, the Commission was guided by its enabling law, recruitment guidelines and the Federal Character Principles as enshrined in both the Constitution and the Federal Character Act.

Meanwhile, the names of successful applicants have been uploaded in the Commission’s website, www.psc.gov.ng and the Nigeria Police Force website, www.npf.gov.ng.

Applicants are advised to check for their names in the two sites.

Ikechukwu Ani
Head, Press and Public Relations
6th December, 2016

BREAKING:Police Releases Names of 10,000 Recruits Ordered By Buhari; See Full List Here
Names of successful applicants into the Nigeria Police Force in the just concluded recruitment exercise has been released by the Police Service Commission.

The commission in a statement signed by its spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, said the recruitment was based on merit and federal character.

The commission advised applicants to check their names on its website.

Read the full statement issued by the commission below:


”The Police Service Commission has concluded the recruitment of some Nigerians into the Nigeria Police Force. This is in fulfilment of the directive of Mr. President, at a Security Summit in Abuja last year where he announced the federal government’s decision to inject 10,000 police men into the Force.

The commission has conclusively completed the recruitment of the General duty applicants made up of 500 Cadet Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP), 500 Cadet Inspectors and, 7,500 Constables.
It has also concluded the recruitment of 80 per cent of 1,500 specialists expected to be recruited into the Force and have shortlisted applicants who applied for some disciplines that require further professional/expert interview.

These include engineering, laboratory scientists and technicians and community health officers. Date for the interview will soon be communicated to the shortlisted candidates.

The Recruitment exercise was based on merit, Federal Character and geographical spread and all the successful candidates went through the processes put in place for the exercise.

These include State screening which involved the screening of the credentials of the candidates and physical screening such as height, sight, chest etc.

The Commission in accordance with extant rules and its guidelines placed advertisements in several National Dailies inviting suitably qualified candidates. The adverts ran for six weeks from April 1st to May 13th, 2016.

At the end of the six weeks period, a total of 911,438 applications comprising 262,462 applicants for Cadet ASPs, 211,832 applicants for Cadet Inspectors and 437,144 applicants for Constables were received electronically.

A total of 338,250 applicants were later shortlisted also electronically and invited for screening at the State Commands of the Nigeria Police Force. This figure was made up of 44,684 shortlisted for Cadet ASPs, 87,736 for Cadet Inspectors and 205,830 for Constables.

This process was followed through from Command to Zone and finally the National level where the successful candidates were selected.

All through the recruitment exercise, the Commission was guided by its enabling law, recruitment guidelines and the Federal Character Principles as enshrined in both the Constitution and the Federal Character Act.

Meanwhile, the names of successful applicants have been uploaded in the Commission’s website, www.psc.gov.ng and the Nigeria Police Force website, www.npf.gov.ng.

Applicants are advised to check for their names in the two sites.

Ikechukwu Ani
Head, Press and Public Relations
6th December, 2016

Tinubu My PRICELESS POLITICAL ASSET - Buhari, Reveals Tinubu's Shocking Roles In Ondo's APC Victory

Tinubu My PRICELESS POLITICAL ASSET - Buhari, Reveals Tinubu's Shocking Roles In Ondo's APC Victory

Tinubu and Buhari
Contrary to media reports that there existed an animosity between the duo of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari, the later has described the former as a PRICELESS POLITICAL ASSET, according to Statement released from Aso Rock.

In The statement, President  Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said there was no truth in reports suggesting that he and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress were at loggerheads with a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President described the reports as “unfounded and mischievous.”


Shehu said the President who, according to him, was highly embarrassed by such reports was in regular contact with Tinubu before, during and after the recent Ondo State governorship election.

He said any suggestions that the President and the party machinery were working to destroy Tinubu had no foundation in truth or any credibility.

The presidential spokesman added that the President was impressed by Tinubu’s assurance not to work against the party in Ondo and he honoured his words.

He said Buhari regarded Tinubu as a priceless political asset to the party whose immeasurable contributions to the development and progress of the ruling party were known to all.

He advised those he called rumour-mongers to stop spreading the seeds of discord and animosity between the President and Tinubu or the party, adding that the President “is proud of the Jagaban and his pivotal role in the party.”

The statement partly read, “President Buhari commended Tinubu’s spirit of comradeship in  promptly congratulating Rotimi Akeredolu who was elected governor.

“The President also noted that at a time his administration is preoccupied with governance issues, rumours of divisions and alleged scheming within the party are counterproductive to internal unity and cohesion in APC.

“He appealed to the APC members and supporters to ignore rumours that could harm party unity.”
Tinubu and Buhari
Contrary to media reports that there existed an animosity between the duo of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari, the later has described the former as a PRICELESS POLITICAL ASSET, according to Statement released from Aso Rock.

In The statement, President  Muhammadu Buhari on Monday said there was no truth in reports suggesting that he and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress were at loggerheads with a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President described the reports as “unfounded and mischievous.”


Shehu said the President who, according to him, was highly embarrassed by such reports was in regular contact with Tinubu before, during and after the recent Ondo State governorship election.

He said any suggestions that the President and the party machinery were working to destroy Tinubu had no foundation in truth or any credibility.

The presidential spokesman added that the President was impressed by Tinubu’s assurance not to work against the party in Ondo and he honoured his words.

He said Buhari regarded Tinubu as a priceless political asset to the party whose immeasurable contributions to the development and progress of the ruling party were known to all.

He advised those he called rumour-mongers to stop spreading the seeds of discord and animosity between the President and Tinubu or the party, adding that the President “is proud of the Jagaban and his pivotal role in the party.”

The statement partly read, “President Buhari commended Tinubu’s spirit of comradeship in  promptly congratulating Rotimi Akeredolu who was elected governor.

“The President also noted that at a time his administration is preoccupied with governance issues, rumours of divisions and alleged scheming within the party are counterproductive to internal unity and cohesion in APC.

“He appealed to the APC members and supporters to ignore rumours that could harm party unity.”

A Word For Tinubu Political Obituary Writers, By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga

A Word For Tinubu Political Obituary Writers, By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga

A Word For Tinubu Political Obituary Writers, By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga
Is the outcome of the Ondo gubernatorial election enough and conclusive evidence that Jagaba Bola Tinubu is politically "finished" as some emergency wheelchair analysts have concluded? 

Was the election primarily designed to destroy Tinubu or to strength APC as a Party? Did Buhari tell you Tinubu is no longer relevant and desirable to the protection of his political interest? Can you claim to be a staunch APC supporter by promoting acrimony and bitter divisions among its leaders? Is the so-called humiliation of Tinubu the official policy of APC as a party? 

In 2012, these same political "experts" arrogantly declared that Tinubu was politically kaput because his then ACN candidate Rotimi Akeredolu was defeated by Dr. Segun Mimiko. Yet, the same Tinubu became the rallying point for galvanising opposition parties into one single formidable merger that saw the routing of PDP from power.


Tinubu controlled more states than other former opposition parties in Nigeria. He is a political giant killer, a consummate organiser and mobiliser whose political strategic genius was never taken lightly even by the then ruling PDP. His unflagging commitment to entrench unity and bridge the gap of suspicions and mutual distrust among opposition parties in Nigeria resulted in the most formidable merger that swept away a dominant ruling party which once boasted it would rule for 60 years. 

The PDP was deceived by a false sense of security, and even boasted that the merger could not last longer than a year. It was proved wrong.

The success of the opposition parties in 2015 cannot be fairly and objectively written without recognising the role of Jagaba Bola Tinubu in bringing about the most formidable coalition to oust PDP from power. As the Daily Trust newspaper Monday columnist Mahmud Muhammad Jega once noted, it is a mistake to humiliate Tinubu out of APC when you don't have any southwest politician formidable enough to replace him for now. 

Triumphalism is politically dangerous. No wise master should delight in destroying his loyal slaves. Tinubu had a choice to retain the southwest without caring to capture power at the centre, a posture that would have helped PDP retain power. None of the former opposition parties could have individually captured power at the centre because they were largely regional parties, unlike PDP which enjoyed broader national appeal, an advantage it destroyed on account of corruption and greed.

Having formed a government at the centre, what the APC needs now more than anything else is unity. You cannot however achieve that goal if you allow some people within the party to start singing the war songs of "finishing off" Tinubu or anybody else. President Buhari should distance himself from party members whose goals is to spread the seeds of acrimony and bitter divisions and driving a wedge between him and Jagaba Tinubu. 

It is politically naive, even foolhardy, to start shouting who is Tinubu. The APC National Chairman Chief John Oyegun should make reconciliation his priority and not adding fuel to the flames of acrimony and bitter divisions. You can't humiliate Tinubu without putting party unity at risk. The disintegration of the alliance by starting wars you can't finish will do more harm than good to the APC.

Despite the fact that nobody is indispensable, some people do make a difference. Former Governor Suswam of Benue State humiliated Senator Barnabas Gemade and other key party leaders that helped the PDP to power and he paid dearly for it. Just because you have power in your hands, don't seek to bring down key stakeholders that contributed immensely to the party's success. 

As Yahaya Adamu Bajoga argued, when former PDP Governors threatened to leave, they were cavalierly told "good riddance to bad rubbish." The rest is history.
A Word For Tinubu Political Obituary Writers, By Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga
Is the outcome of the Ondo gubernatorial election enough and conclusive evidence that Jagaba Bola Tinubu is politically "finished" as some emergency wheelchair analysts have concluded? 

Was the election primarily designed to destroy Tinubu or to strength APC as a Party? Did Buhari tell you Tinubu is no longer relevant and desirable to the protection of his political interest? Can you claim to be a staunch APC supporter by promoting acrimony and bitter divisions among its leaders? Is the so-called humiliation of Tinubu the official policy of APC as a party? 

In 2012, these same political "experts" arrogantly declared that Tinubu was politically kaput because his then ACN candidate Rotimi Akeredolu was defeated by Dr. Segun Mimiko. Yet, the same Tinubu became the rallying point for galvanising opposition parties into one single formidable merger that saw the routing of PDP from power.


Tinubu controlled more states than other former opposition parties in Nigeria. He is a political giant killer, a consummate organiser and mobiliser whose political strategic genius was never taken lightly even by the then ruling PDP. His unflagging commitment to entrench unity and bridge the gap of suspicions and mutual distrust among opposition parties in Nigeria resulted in the most formidable merger that swept away a dominant ruling party which once boasted it would rule for 60 years. 

The PDP was deceived by a false sense of security, and even boasted that the merger could not last longer than a year. It was proved wrong.

The success of the opposition parties in 2015 cannot be fairly and objectively written without recognising the role of Jagaba Bola Tinubu in bringing about the most formidable coalition to oust PDP from power. As the Daily Trust newspaper Monday columnist Mahmud Muhammad Jega once noted, it is a mistake to humiliate Tinubu out of APC when you don't have any southwest politician formidable enough to replace him for now. 

Triumphalism is politically dangerous. No wise master should delight in destroying his loyal slaves. Tinubu had a choice to retain the southwest without caring to capture power at the centre, a posture that would have helped PDP retain power. None of the former opposition parties could have individually captured power at the centre because they were largely regional parties, unlike PDP which enjoyed broader national appeal, an advantage it destroyed on account of corruption and greed.

Having formed a government at the centre, what the APC needs now more than anything else is unity. You cannot however achieve that goal if you allow some people within the party to start singing the war songs of "finishing off" Tinubu or anybody else. President Buhari should distance himself from party members whose goals is to spread the seeds of acrimony and bitter divisions and driving a wedge between him and Jagaba Tinubu. 

It is politically naive, even foolhardy, to start shouting who is Tinubu. The APC National Chairman Chief John Oyegun should make reconciliation his priority and not adding fuel to the flames of acrimony and bitter divisions. You can't humiliate Tinubu without putting party unity at risk. The disintegration of the alliance by starting wars you can't finish will do more harm than good to the APC.

Despite the fact that nobody is indispensable, some people do make a difference. Former Governor Suswam of Benue State humiliated Senator Barnabas Gemade and other key party leaders that helped the PDP to power and he paid dearly for it. Just because you have power in your hands, don't seek to bring down key stakeholders that contributed immensely to the party's success. 

As Yahaya Adamu Bajoga argued, when former PDP Governors threatened to leave, they were cavalierly told "good riddance to bad rubbish." The rest is history.

How Buhari's Boys Humble Tinubu In Ondo, Targets Osun, Ekiti Next In 2019 Fight To Finish With Former 'LORD'

How Buhari's Boys Humble Tinubu In Ondo, Targets Osun, Ekiti Next In 2019 Fight To Finish With Former 'LORD'

Buhari Tinubu Fashola amosun El-rufai kayode fayemi
ThisDay Newspaper - In a carefully executed plan, loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari in the All Progressives Congress (APC), some of whom are cabinet members, yesterday successfully delivered on their first political assignment in the lead up to the 2019 elections, with the election of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the Ondo State governor-elect.

Akeredolu was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), after polling 244,842 votes while his closest rival, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 150,380 votes came second. Coming third was Mr. Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), who polled 126,889 votes.


Saturday’s election in Ondo State was, however, indicative of the power tussle within the ranks of the APC for the South-west geopolitical zone, with loyalists of the president, on the one side, and those loyal to a National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the other.

Tinubu, who backed Dr. Olusegun Abraham to secure the ticket of the APC to contest in the Ondo poll, had opposed Akeredolu’s emergence as candidate of the party, alleging irregularities during the party’s primary.

Those believed to have taken part in the execution of the plan to deliver the state and are now regarded as “Buhari’s Boys” are the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai; and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Ironically, most of those who have now aligned with the president were once loyalists of Tinubu, but are believed to have fallen out of favour with him.

Party sources who spoke on the issue to THISDAY said they were spurred by political expediency to show strength and capacity by mobilising all the resources at their disposal to ensure that the candidate of the president, Akeredolu, who was openly rejected by Tinubu won the election in the hotly contested race in Ondo.

The only APC governor believed not to have taken sides in the ongoing power tussle is the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while the Osun and Lagos State governors, Rauf Aregbesola and Akinwunmi Ambode, remain staunchly in the Tinubu camp.  

Curiously, Akeredolu too, who is now in the opposing camp to Tinubu was his (Tinubu’s) candidate in the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State, but in which he came a distant third.

According to sources, with a majority of Tinubu’s former allies executing a brilliant campaign against their erstwhile principal, the stage has now been set to deliver Ekiti and Osun States to the president in 2018.

The goal, explained one source, is to ensure that the alliance between the North and South-west, which catapulted Buhari to victory in the 2015 general election, is maintained.

“The Buhari boys left nothing to chance, including using pawns such as Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, a businessman, and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, who both held the PDP by the jugular by ensuring that the party was unable to go to the election in one piece.

“Team Buhari was not oblivious to the fact that had they lost the Ondo election, the president would have been subjected to gross embarrassment, the very reason they deployed everything at their disposal to ensure that Akeredolu won, including mobilising everything and everyone who mattered to the grand finale campaign rally held in Akure, the Ondo State capital, a few days to the election.

“Although it is believed that Buhari’s boys have nothing against Tinubu, their goal, however, is to reenact the alliance that existed between the North and the South-west that was used to snatch victory from the PDP during the 2015 general election.

“So, with Edo and Ondo now comfortably in the kitty, the next port of call for Buhari’s Boys are Ekiti and Osun States, where elections are in 2018,” the source revealed.

But while those loyal to the president are said to be preparing for the two South-west states, and how best to retain their winning streak, they are not likely to bother about Lagos State, which Tinubu has held firmly in his grasp since 1999.

From all indications, what seems to be coming up in 2019 in the APC is a reenactment of the 2003 tsunami, which swept off all the AD states with the exception of Lagos under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a situation that gave the PDP considerable leverage during its 16-year reign in power.

But the difference between 2003 and 2019 is that while the former was an external aggression orchestrated by the former president into AD-controlled territory, this is no less an internal insurrection, also by the presidency, to wrest control of the South-west from Tinubu and ultimately pave the path for Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019.

THISDAY also learnt that the outcome of Saturday’selection is bound to stoke a bitter rivalry within the party, whichever way it goes. 
Buhari Tinubu Fashola amosun El-rufai kayode fayemi
ThisDay Newspaper - In a carefully executed plan, loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari in the All Progressives Congress (APC), some of whom are cabinet members, yesterday successfully delivered on their first political assignment in the lead up to the 2019 elections, with the election of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the Ondo State governor-elect.

Akeredolu was declared winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), after polling 244,842 votes while his closest rival, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with 150,380 votes came second. Coming third was Mr. Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), who polled 126,889 votes.


Saturday’s election in Ondo State was, however, indicative of the power tussle within the ranks of the APC for the South-west geopolitical zone, with loyalists of the president, on the one side, and those loyal to a National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the other.

Tinubu, who backed Dr. Olusegun Abraham to secure the ticket of the APC to contest in the Ondo poll, had opposed Akeredolu’s emergence as candidate of the party, alleging irregularities during the party’s primary.

Those believed to have taken part in the execution of the plan to deliver the state and are now regarded as “Buhari’s Boys” are the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai; and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Ironically, most of those who have now aligned with the president were once loyalists of Tinubu, but are believed to have fallen out of favour with him.

Party sources who spoke on the issue to THISDAY said they were spurred by political expediency to show strength and capacity by mobilising all the resources at their disposal to ensure that the candidate of the president, Akeredolu, who was openly rejected by Tinubu won the election in the hotly contested race in Ondo.

The only APC governor believed not to have taken sides in the ongoing power tussle is the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, while the Osun and Lagos State governors, Rauf Aregbesola and Akinwunmi Ambode, remain staunchly in the Tinubu camp.  

Curiously, Akeredolu too, who is now in the opposing camp to Tinubu was his (Tinubu’s) candidate in the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State, but in which he came a distant third.

According to sources, with a majority of Tinubu’s former allies executing a brilliant campaign against their erstwhile principal, the stage has now been set to deliver Ekiti and Osun States to the president in 2018.

The goal, explained one source, is to ensure that the alliance between the North and South-west, which catapulted Buhari to victory in the 2015 general election, is maintained.

“The Buhari boys left nothing to chance, including using pawns such as Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, a businessman, and Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, a former governor of Borno State, who both held the PDP by the jugular by ensuring that the party was unable to go to the election in one piece.

“Team Buhari was not oblivious to the fact that had they lost the Ondo election, the president would have been subjected to gross embarrassment, the very reason they deployed everything at their disposal to ensure that Akeredolu won, including mobilising everything and everyone who mattered to the grand finale campaign rally held in Akure, the Ondo State capital, a few days to the election.

“Although it is believed that Buhari’s boys have nothing against Tinubu, their goal, however, is to reenact the alliance that existed between the North and the South-west that was used to snatch victory from the PDP during the 2015 general election.

“So, with Edo and Ondo now comfortably in the kitty, the next port of call for Buhari’s Boys are Ekiti and Osun States, where elections are in 2018,” the source revealed.

But while those loyal to the president are said to be preparing for the two South-west states, and how best to retain their winning streak, they are not likely to bother about Lagos State, which Tinubu has held firmly in his grasp since 1999.

From all indications, what seems to be coming up in 2019 in the APC is a reenactment of the 2003 tsunami, which swept off all the AD states with the exception of Lagos under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a situation that gave the PDP considerable leverage during its 16-year reign in power.

But the difference between 2003 and 2019 is that while the former was an external aggression orchestrated by the former president into AD-controlled territory, this is no less an internal insurrection, also by the presidency, to wrest control of the South-west from Tinubu and ultimately pave the path for Buhari’s re-election bid in 2019.

THISDAY also learnt that the outcome of Saturday’selection is bound to stoke a bitter rivalry within the party, whichever way it goes. 

NDDC, The Issue Of Perversion And The Rest Of Us, By Odubo ThankGod.

NDDC, The Issue Of Perversion And The Rest Of Us, By Odubo ThankGod.

NDDC, The Issue Of Perversion And The Rest Of Us, By Odubo ThankGod.
I recently came across a media report which alluded to the imposition by a certain Minister of a list of his cronies for appointment into the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. It was really scandalous that even Ministers serving under a government that puts public interest first against personal interest and completely abhors nepotism or favoritism would throw to the dogs this high sense of integrity as exhibited by the Head of the administration, President Muhammadu Buhari

Incidentally, the sharp contrast in the character of the President and some of his appointees has become counterproductive to the President's for change from corruption and the attendant underdevelopment to a stable, generic pattern of development in the nation's polity. When in actual, the President assigned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to supervise the NDDC, he had perhaps done that to avoid some hiccups that may stand against the perfect or express execution of the commission's mandate.

The Minister would have no personal input of his own to make in running the commission. If he has, that of course would be a mere suggestion. It would very far away from the initial norm of imposition which had been the bane of the NDDC.


Unfortunately, that the Minister would go to the extent of threatening that except his list of cronies was accepted and the names considered, the relationship between the President and the Commission will catch cold under his supervision cast a shadow of doubt about the authenticity of some acclaimed religious and moral inclinations.

The development therefore lead to many questions that are particularly pertinent to unwrap the true nature of the President in comparison with that of the Minister. Does the list emanate from the President himself? Is the said Minister action part of the Supervisory role handed him by the president?.

Obviously , the President's body language coupled with a recent counter that he had been demanding 40% slot in every appointment made so far as revealed during a meeting with APC Governors speak volumes of a zero tolerance disposition against corrupt tendencies by whatever name called. So it could just appear in the case of a ploy by the Minister to drag the name of the President into the forbidden.

The NDDC by the grace of God has the blessing of being manned today by men of proven integrity who have had a track record of service delivery and have the brain and guts to stand against odds in fulfilling their official mandate of fixing both infrastructure and human capital of the Niger Delta region. What they need at this point is moral support through prayers and advice to perfect on the assignments.

To begin to burg them with the issue of appointing cronies and surrogates is to attempt to cage them to think within the box of another man's influence. This is therefore completely at variance with the expectation of a broad based development strategy nurtured by the people of the Niger Delta.

Reports had also alluded to the plan by the Minister to push through subsuming the commission under his Ministry. We are aware but we are yet to fathom why the Minister could set up a committee to assess project handled by both his ministry and the commission over the years and submitted a report to the President thereafter which pinpointed the issue of duplication and the need to correct it by his supervision of the commission.

The recent imposition of his cronies for appointment into the commission has now clearly revealed the whole essence of the conspiracy theory. For the rest of us Niger Delta, we have to realise one thing that unfortunately this son of ours is actually not our own in goodwill.

I am told that his political history is that of fighting even the very disciples he raises and for a man of that kind of reputation to superintend over the issues of public interest as NDDC exposes us to the danger of  psychological and political warfare.

How do we come of it? Simple! Mr. President has to intervene by either withdrawing this new role assigned the Minister or better still insist that the commission is independent of any imposition or influence from any public office whosoever.
NDDC, The Issue Of Perversion And The Rest Of Us, By Odubo ThankGod.
I recently came across a media report which alluded to the imposition by a certain Minister of a list of his cronies for appointment into the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. It was really scandalous that even Ministers serving under a government that puts public interest first against personal interest and completely abhors nepotism or favoritism would throw to the dogs this high sense of integrity as exhibited by the Head of the administration, President Muhammadu Buhari

Incidentally, the sharp contrast in the character of the President and some of his appointees has become counterproductive to the President's for change from corruption and the attendant underdevelopment to a stable, generic pattern of development in the nation's polity. When in actual, the President assigned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs to supervise the NDDC, he had perhaps done that to avoid some hiccups that may stand against the perfect or express execution of the commission's mandate.

The Minister would have no personal input of his own to make in running the commission. If he has, that of course would be a mere suggestion. It would very far away from the initial norm of imposition which had been the bane of the NDDC.


Unfortunately, that the Minister would go to the extent of threatening that except his list of cronies was accepted and the names considered, the relationship between the President and the Commission will catch cold under his supervision cast a shadow of doubt about the authenticity of some acclaimed religious and moral inclinations.

The development therefore lead to many questions that are particularly pertinent to unwrap the true nature of the President in comparison with that of the Minister. Does the list emanate from the President himself? Is the said Minister action part of the Supervisory role handed him by the president?.

Obviously , the President's body language coupled with a recent counter that he had been demanding 40% slot in every appointment made so far as revealed during a meeting with APC Governors speak volumes of a zero tolerance disposition against corrupt tendencies by whatever name called. So it could just appear in the case of a ploy by the Minister to drag the name of the President into the forbidden.

The NDDC by the grace of God has the blessing of being manned today by men of proven integrity who have had a track record of service delivery and have the brain and guts to stand against odds in fulfilling their official mandate of fixing both infrastructure and human capital of the Niger Delta region. What they need at this point is moral support through prayers and advice to perfect on the assignments.

To begin to burg them with the issue of appointing cronies and surrogates is to attempt to cage them to think within the box of another man's influence. This is therefore completely at variance with the expectation of a broad based development strategy nurtured by the people of the Niger Delta.

Reports had also alluded to the plan by the Minister to push through subsuming the commission under his Ministry. We are aware but we are yet to fathom why the Minister could set up a committee to assess project handled by both his ministry and the commission over the years and submitted a report to the President thereafter which pinpointed the issue of duplication and the need to correct it by his supervision of the commission.

The recent imposition of his cronies for appointment into the commission has now clearly revealed the whole essence of the conspiracy theory. For the rest of us Niger Delta, we have to realise one thing that unfortunately this son of ours is actually not our own in goodwill.

I am told that his political history is that of fighting even the very disciples he raises and for a man of that kind of reputation to superintend over the issues of public interest as NDDC exposes us to the danger of  psychological and political warfare.

How do we come of it? Simple! Mr. President has to intervene by either withdrawing this new role assigned the Minister or better still insist that the commission is independent of any imposition or influence from any public office whosoever.

Okanga Agila: Northern Political Christians As Odious Favour Seekers

Okanga Agila: Northern Political Christians As Odious Favour Seekers

Okanga Agila: Northern Political Christians As Odious Favour Seekers
Suddenly, an assemblage of old and haggard politicians, by the nomenclature of Northern Nigeria Christian Politicians Forum (NNCPF) has invaded Nigeria’s polity and from the wrong angle. Supposedly comprising veteran politicians, the forum has not only proven its potency in unbeatable loquaciousness, but its damaging flippancy is pregnable with trappings of disrupting the coherence currently enjoyed in the North and even the Southern part of the country.

In the last three weeks they have assailed Nigeria’s President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) with demands for more appointments into his cabinet. In so doing, the forum also assaulted the sensibilities of other segments of Nigeria in their apparent greed and selfish push for recognition.


Expectedly, the forum lampooned former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) and Goodluck Jonathan, (both of them Christians), for failing political Christians of the North, by depriving them of appointments, while they wielded power in Aso Rock. And seemingly standing logic on its head, the group argued that it was reason for refusal of Northern Christian politicians to back Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015, in preference for the Northern Muslim, PMB.

And pouring accolades that do not impress the person of PMB, the forum claimed that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, the President has broken the jinx, by recognizing Northern Christian politicians with massive appointments. Yet, they were asking for more patronage in appointments?

And then, Nigerians watched with dismay the forum’s toeing of the familiar tendencies of hungry and greedy politicians, with eclipsing shadows, whose actions, denote nothing more than craving for personal recognition. So, they hurriedly packaged and doled out meaningless awards to government functionaries at a special reception in Abuja. The recipients were President Buhari, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and SGF, Babachir David Lawal. It should not surprise anybody to see more of such awards doled out by the group to a litany of personalities in the nearest future.

Disappointingly though, a scrutiny of this obviously odious assemblage of the so-called Christian politicians from the North, reveal curious angles. Unexpected and venerable names such as that of the former Head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Sen. Dr. Jonathan Zwingina and the likes, are being bandied as members. It is difficult to believe Gen. Yakuku Gowon would gamble away his personality and reputation to identify with an aimless group of favour seekers whose plan is ultimately to instigate heat on the Buhari Presidency and cause disaffection in the polity.

Every day, there comes a fresh tale in the experiences of Nigeria to invoke empathy and lamentations for the fate of this otherwise great country. Christianity in Nigeria is heavily afflicted and time is ripe for good intentioned people to beseech God Almighty to rescue the Body of Christ in Nigeria.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, is so helplessly polarized based on leadership crises. From its national body/secretariat, to regions and states, CAN is politicized and it boasts of more factions than some political parties can flaunt. And the split is mainly pushed by the scramble for leadership, as against evangelism.

Today, the Northern part of Nigeria has its own version of CAN, rechristened, Northern Nigeria Christian Association (NNCA), reminiscent of pre-independence Nigeria, as fallout of the last CAN national elections. These are the multiple problems plaguing Christianity in Northern Nigeria. And a committed Christendom would be exploring ways to resolve these issues, as against creating more splinter groups in the guise of religion, such as the NNCPF.

To start, NNCPF has marketed itself as “bad sons of a good father.” They failed brazenly to read and decode the contour of PMB’s government and they have failed to appreciate Nigeria’s economic realities of today, weighing heavily on running of government. And they are blind to the reality of the diversity and sensibilities of the Nigerian state.

The faintest of knowledge about these realities would have informed them that they knocked, where the door cannot be opened. Any politician in Nigeria knows the desire of PMB to keep a modest structure of governance, with a modest cabinet so as to save funds to channel into developing other sectors of the economy.

Northern political Christians are not complaining of neglect in appointments; but they are unrealistically pushing PMB to further enlarge his cabinet on account of pleasing them because Northern Christians have never had it so good. A positive response to this plea implies a drain on lean finances of Nigeria and the depravity of patronage to other needy areas.

Nonetheless, what is in appointment, if the forum’s target is not to decorate themselves with underserved national jobs? Some of their members belong to the category of faded politicians, who have no clout or relevance of any kind even in their communities of birth. At best, they are living portraits of Nigeria’s wasted past, but have suddenly found solace in a body with religious shield to press for their resurrection from political graves.

Any populist agenda of the forum would have seen them requesting from PMB, development projects for the Christian communities of the North, which they alleged, have been maltreated by the Muslim majority in the region. It would have posted a more plausible consideration.

In addition, they underrated the feelings of Southern Christians with such reckless outbursts and outrageous demands for more appointments for regional Christians of the North. If truly they are Christians and know what it means, the House of God does not discriminate. How would Southern Christians feel to know the President backs the notion that northern Christians deserve more national appointments? A feeling of neglect because of their region of birth? It is inexplicable.

This agenda has not only fired voices of protests from the South, but it is portraying the administration of Buhari as a regionalist, a tag the President has vigorously campaigned against by his famous declaration that “ I belong to nobody, but I belong to everybody.” It is a campaign missile these political desperadoes have planted on PMB’s path.

Similarly, would the Northern Muslims or their southern counterparts now feel alienated and angry with Buhari’s excessive courting of northern political Christians, at the expense of other patently ravenous blocs, thus raising a platform for them to crucify the President?. It was the most senseless assertion, to have emanated from people who are supposedly leaders.

NNCPF’s chairman, Hon. Keftin Amuga and his clique’s mistaken assumption of achieving this evil machination by deriding former President’s OBJ and Jonathan is not only uncharitable, but hypocritical, suggesting the emptiness of the group.

Amuga's submissions that for the first time, a Northern Muslim President has recognized the Northern Christian as “a political factor and political force", is sycophantic praise singing, directed at the wrong leader, PMB. Even if they tell the truth, it would not reduce their esteem before the President. But such generous assertions, without statistics or verifiable data, is the forum’s pandering to sycophant instincts, in the vain hope of placating Buhari and at the same time, bashing his constituency. 
NNCPF should have a rethink. Indeed, pounding the sermons of divisions in the North is inappropriate at this time; to say the least, unexpected and unfortunate, much more, spicing it with religious (Muslim) bigotry. It explains the hidden motive of this group, which is to cause disaffection among Northerners and elsewhere; to make themselves popular, as the unconscionable lackeys at the disposal of desperate politicians anytime, to unleash attacks on perceived enemies and PMB himself could become their victim’.

But let this brand of Christian politicians from the North be reminded that PMB emerged President of Nigeria in 2015 based on popular votes and the conviction of Nigerians regardless of religion, ethnicity, regional or political party affiliation. Millions believed in his capacity to salvage Nigeria and nothing more. This is exactly what he is doing.

Jonathan failed the re-election bid because he was overwhelmed with Nigeria’s leadership and his poor leadership of the country could not be excused by millions of Nigerians. So, the argument insinuating otherwise is fetish and condemnable, after all, NNCPF flaunts membership drawn from different party affiliations. They should therefore desist from playing the religious card with serious and sensitive national issues in the quest of seeking recognition and odious favours.

Okanga contributed this piece from Agila, Benue State.
Okanga Agila: Northern Political Christians As Odious Favour Seekers
Suddenly, an assemblage of old and haggard politicians, by the nomenclature of Northern Nigeria Christian Politicians Forum (NNCPF) has invaded Nigeria’s polity and from the wrong angle. Supposedly comprising veteran politicians, the forum has not only proven its potency in unbeatable loquaciousness, but its damaging flippancy is pregnable with trappings of disrupting the coherence currently enjoyed in the North and even the Southern part of the country.

In the last three weeks they have assailed Nigeria’s President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) with demands for more appointments into his cabinet. In so doing, the forum also assaulted the sensibilities of other segments of Nigeria in their apparent greed and selfish push for recognition.


Expectedly, the forum lampooned former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) and Goodluck Jonathan, (both of them Christians), for failing political Christians of the North, by depriving them of appointments, while they wielded power in Aso Rock. And seemingly standing logic on its head, the group argued that it was reason for refusal of Northern Christian politicians to back Jonathan’s re-election bid in 2015, in preference for the Northern Muslim, PMB.

And pouring accolades that do not impress the person of PMB, the forum claimed that for the first time in Nigeria’s history, the President has broken the jinx, by recognizing Northern Christian politicians with massive appointments. Yet, they were asking for more patronage in appointments?

And then, Nigerians watched with dismay the forum’s toeing of the familiar tendencies of hungry and greedy politicians, with eclipsing shadows, whose actions, denote nothing more than craving for personal recognition. So, they hurriedly packaged and doled out meaningless awards to government functionaries at a special reception in Abuja. The recipients were President Buhari, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and SGF, Babachir David Lawal. It should not surprise anybody to see more of such awards doled out by the group to a litany of personalities in the nearest future.

Disappointingly though, a scrutiny of this obviously odious assemblage of the so-called Christian politicians from the North, reveal curious angles. Unexpected and venerable names such as that of the former Head of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Sen. Dr. Jonathan Zwingina and the likes, are being bandied as members. It is difficult to believe Gen. Yakuku Gowon would gamble away his personality and reputation to identify with an aimless group of favour seekers whose plan is ultimately to instigate heat on the Buhari Presidency and cause disaffection in the polity.

Every day, there comes a fresh tale in the experiences of Nigeria to invoke empathy and lamentations for the fate of this otherwise great country. Christianity in Nigeria is heavily afflicted and time is ripe for good intentioned people to beseech God Almighty to rescue the Body of Christ in Nigeria.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, is so helplessly polarized based on leadership crises. From its national body/secretariat, to regions and states, CAN is politicized and it boasts of more factions than some political parties can flaunt. And the split is mainly pushed by the scramble for leadership, as against evangelism.

Today, the Northern part of Nigeria has its own version of CAN, rechristened, Northern Nigeria Christian Association (NNCA), reminiscent of pre-independence Nigeria, as fallout of the last CAN national elections. These are the multiple problems plaguing Christianity in Northern Nigeria. And a committed Christendom would be exploring ways to resolve these issues, as against creating more splinter groups in the guise of religion, such as the NNCPF.

To start, NNCPF has marketed itself as “bad sons of a good father.” They failed brazenly to read and decode the contour of PMB’s government and they have failed to appreciate Nigeria’s economic realities of today, weighing heavily on running of government. And they are blind to the reality of the diversity and sensibilities of the Nigerian state.

The faintest of knowledge about these realities would have informed them that they knocked, where the door cannot be opened. Any politician in Nigeria knows the desire of PMB to keep a modest structure of governance, with a modest cabinet so as to save funds to channel into developing other sectors of the economy.

Northern political Christians are not complaining of neglect in appointments; but they are unrealistically pushing PMB to further enlarge his cabinet on account of pleasing them because Northern Christians have never had it so good. A positive response to this plea implies a drain on lean finances of Nigeria and the depravity of patronage to other needy areas.

Nonetheless, what is in appointment, if the forum’s target is not to decorate themselves with underserved national jobs? Some of their members belong to the category of faded politicians, who have no clout or relevance of any kind even in their communities of birth. At best, they are living portraits of Nigeria’s wasted past, but have suddenly found solace in a body with religious shield to press for their resurrection from political graves.

Any populist agenda of the forum would have seen them requesting from PMB, development projects for the Christian communities of the North, which they alleged, have been maltreated by the Muslim majority in the region. It would have posted a more plausible consideration.

In addition, they underrated the feelings of Southern Christians with such reckless outbursts and outrageous demands for more appointments for regional Christians of the North. If truly they are Christians and know what it means, the House of God does not discriminate. How would Southern Christians feel to know the President backs the notion that northern Christians deserve more national appointments? A feeling of neglect because of their region of birth? It is inexplicable.

This agenda has not only fired voices of protests from the South, but it is portraying the administration of Buhari as a regionalist, a tag the President has vigorously campaigned against by his famous declaration that “ I belong to nobody, but I belong to everybody.” It is a campaign missile these political desperadoes have planted on PMB’s path.

Similarly, would the Northern Muslims or their southern counterparts now feel alienated and angry with Buhari’s excessive courting of northern political Christians, at the expense of other patently ravenous blocs, thus raising a platform for them to crucify the President?. It was the most senseless assertion, to have emanated from people who are supposedly leaders.

NNCPF’s chairman, Hon. Keftin Amuga and his clique’s mistaken assumption of achieving this evil machination by deriding former President’s OBJ and Jonathan is not only uncharitable, but hypocritical, suggesting the emptiness of the group.

Amuga's submissions that for the first time, a Northern Muslim President has recognized the Northern Christian as “a political factor and political force", is sycophantic praise singing, directed at the wrong leader, PMB. Even if they tell the truth, it would not reduce their esteem before the President. But such generous assertions, without statistics or verifiable data, is the forum’s pandering to sycophant instincts, in the vain hope of placating Buhari and at the same time, bashing his constituency. 
NNCPF should have a rethink. Indeed, pounding the sermons of divisions in the North is inappropriate at this time; to say the least, unexpected and unfortunate, much more, spicing it with religious (Muslim) bigotry. It explains the hidden motive of this group, which is to cause disaffection among Northerners and elsewhere; to make themselves popular, as the unconscionable lackeys at the disposal of desperate politicians anytime, to unleash attacks on perceived enemies and PMB himself could become their victim’.

But let this brand of Christian politicians from the North be reminded that PMB emerged President of Nigeria in 2015 based on popular votes and the conviction of Nigerians regardless of religion, ethnicity, regional or political party affiliation. Millions believed in his capacity to salvage Nigeria and nothing more. This is exactly what he is doing.

Jonathan failed the re-election bid because he was overwhelmed with Nigeria’s leadership and his poor leadership of the country could not be excused by millions of Nigerians. So, the argument insinuating otherwise is fetish and condemnable, after all, NNCPF flaunts membership drawn from different party affiliations. They should therefore desist from playing the religious card with serious and sensitive national issues in the quest of seeking recognition and odious favours.

Okanga contributed this piece from Agila, Benue State.

You're The MOST CORRUPT Nigerian - Reps Tears Obasanjo To Pieces In Counter-attack, Enumerates His Corrupt Practices Since 1979

You're The MOST CORRUPT Nigerian - Reps Tears Obasanjo To Pieces In Counter-attack, Enumerates His Corrupt Practices Since 1979

You're The MOST CORRUPT Nigerian - Reps Tears Obasanjo To Pieces In Counter-attack, Enumerates  His Corrupt Practices Since 1979
The Nigerian House of Representatives on Thursday described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the “most corrupt” Nigerian on the record.

The lawmakers said the “greatly corrupt” and “morally bankrupt” former leader is effectively plotting to derail the government of Muhammadu Buhari in the same manner he allegedly did to successive presidents since 1979.

“It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments,” House spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas, said in a statement Thursday.

“He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He did it to Gen. Buhari. He did same to Gen. Babangida. He attempted to bring down Gen. Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason.

“He made frantic efforts to derail the government of President Ya’ardua when he couldn’t use him. He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he refused to take dictation, he turned against him.

“He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government,” the lawmakers said.

The House was responding to the former president’s stinging criticism of the level of corruption in the National Assembly.
At a forum on Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo said the National Assembly had become “a den of corruption” controlled by “a gang of unarmed robbers.”

The former president also backed the campaign of Abdulmumin Jibrin, a whistleblowing lawmaker who was suspended in September.
Mr. Obasanjo also called on President Buhari to end the corruption in the National Assembly with a clampdown similar to the one against senior judicial officers last month.

“If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary?” Mr. Obasanjo queried.
The House responded to the attacks on Thursday afternoon through its spokesman, Mr. Namdas.

Mr. Namdas said Mr. Obasanjo lacked the moral authority to speak against corruption, adding that his allegations were devoid of any credibility.
“He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or indeed abuse of office in Nigeria,” Mr. Namdas said in a statement.

Mr. Namdas said Nigerians would not forget in a hurry the loads of cash Mr. Obasanjo allegedly bribed members of the House of Representatives to impeach a former Speaker, Ghali Na’Abba.

“Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some honourable members to impeach Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ghali Na’Abba?” Mr. Namdas queried.

You're The MOST CORRUPT Nigerian - Reps Tears Obasanjo To Pieces In Counter-attack, Enumerates  His Corrupt Practices Since 1979
The Nigerian House of Representatives on Thursday described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the “most corrupt” Nigerian on the record.

The lawmakers said the “greatly corrupt” and “morally bankrupt” former leader is effectively plotting to derail the government of Muhammadu Buhari in the same manner he allegedly did to successive presidents since 1979.

“It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments,” House spokesperson, Abdulrazak Namdas, said in a statement Thursday.

“He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He did it to Gen. Buhari. He did same to Gen. Babangida. He attempted to bring down Gen. Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason.

“He made frantic efforts to derail the government of President Ya’ardua when he couldn’t use him. He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he refused to take dictation, he turned against him.

“He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government,” the lawmakers said.

The House was responding to the former president’s stinging criticism of the level of corruption in the National Assembly.
At a forum on Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo said the National Assembly had become “a den of corruption” controlled by “a gang of unarmed robbers.”

The former president also backed the campaign of Abdulmumin Jibrin, a whistleblowing lawmaker who was suspended in September.
Mr. Obasanjo also called on President Buhari to end the corruption in the National Assembly with a clampdown similar to the one against senior judicial officers last month.

“If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary?” Mr. Obasanjo queried.
The House responded to the attacks on Thursday afternoon through its spokesman, Mr. Namdas.

Mr. Namdas said Mr. Obasanjo lacked the moral authority to speak against corruption, adding that his allegations were devoid of any credibility.
“He remains the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria and lacks the moral authority to discuss corruption or indeed abuse of office in Nigeria,” Mr. Namdas said in a statement.

Mr. Namdas said Nigerians would not forget in a hurry the loads of cash Mr. Obasanjo allegedly bribed members of the House of Representatives to impeach a former Speaker, Ghali Na’Abba.

“Have we forgotten the sacks of money displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives being bribe money paid by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to some honourable members to impeach Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ghali Na’Abba?” Mr. Namdas queried.

NDDC : Niger Delta Minister's Supervisory Role Perverse

NDDC : Niger Delta Minister's Supervisory Role Perverse

By Hanson Esikang, Uyo

The Supervisory role over the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) assigned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Usani Usani by President Muhammadu Buhari is soon to become perverse and over bearing for the commission as the minister is alleged to be foisting on the management of the commission an agenda that stems from personal rather official considerations. 

Inside sources at the commission headquarters in Port Harcourt last weekend alleged that no sooner had the commission been inaugurated that the Mr. Usani sent a long list of persons to be appointed into various positions as Aides to the key appointees of the commission.

A source who preferred anonymity said that the Minister had been very particular about the appointment of his cronies as Special Advisers and Special Assistants to some top management officials in the commission.


According to the source, '' I don't know how official it is or whether it is a presidential directive that the commission must absorb a certain list of persons presented by the Minister in its appointment of aides in the commission. '' 

The Minister, the source continued has been making frantic efforts at getting the commission to accommodate his cronies as if that was a Presidential directive.

''We have also heard here repeatedly that failure by the commission to comply would produce a frosty relationship between the management and the presidency, the source said.

He alluded that a  certain Barr. Eworo believed to be the Minister's man Friday, was mentioned intensively to benefit from the appointment of the Special Adviser to the Managing Director on Youth Affairs.

The undue and unofficial interference in the running of the commission by the Minister the source held has already been frowned at with Youth from a section of the region threatening to mobilise against the Minister.

''A cross section of Niger Delta Youths are mobilising signatures and protest against the interference and they have notified and advised us to be independent minded in all our decisions so to perform maximally '' the source hinted. 

Attempts to reach the Minister and the Managing Director of the commission for their side of the report was unsuccessful as their phones were not connecting.
By Hanson Esikang, Uyo

The Supervisory role over the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) assigned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Usani Usani by President Muhammadu Buhari is soon to become perverse and over bearing for the commission as the minister is alleged to be foisting on the management of the commission an agenda that stems from personal rather official considerations. 

Inside sources at the commission headquarters in Port Harcourt last weekend alleged that no sooner had the commission been inaugurated that the Mr. Usani sent a long list of persons to be appointed into various positions as Aides to the key appointees of the commission.

A source who preferred anonymity said that the Minister had been very particular about the appointment of his cronies as Special Advisers and Special Assistants to some top management officials in the commission.


According to the source, '' I don't know how official it is or whether it is a presidential directive that the commission must absorb a certain list of persons presented by the Minister in its appointment of aides in the commission. '' 

The Minister, the source continued has been making frantic efforts at getting the commission to accommodate his cronies as if that was a Presidential directive.

''We have also heard here repeatedly that failure by the commission to comply would produce a frosty relationship between the management and the presidency, the source said.

He alluded that a  certain Barr. Eworo believed to be the Minister's man Friday, was mentioned intensively to benefit from the appointment of the Special Adviser to the Managing Director on Youth Affairs.

The undue and unofficial interference in the running of the commission by the Minister the source held has already been frowned at with Youth from a section of the region threatening to mobilise against the Minister.

''A cross section of Niger Delta Youths are mobilising signatures and protest against the interference and they have notified and advised us to be independent minded in all our decisions so to perform maximally '' the source hinted. 

Attempts to reach the Minister and the Managing Director of the commission for their side of the report was unsuccessful as their phones were not connecting.

HARDSHIP: Obasanjo Attacks Buhari, Tears The President To Shred Like Never Before

HARDSHIP: Obasanjo Attacks Buhari, Tears The President To Shred Like Never Before

Premium Times - The honeymoon between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to have ended.
For the one and a half year that Mr. Buhari has been in power, Mr. Obasanjo remained one of his staunchest backers, visiting him repeatedly and publicly defending most of his actions.
But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo served signal that the era of being soft on the administration Mr. Buhari leads is over.
Delivering the keynote at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Mr. Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations (including the one he, Obasanjo, led) together and then accusing them of misgovernance.
He also advised Mr. Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.
“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”

The former president also criticised plans by Mr. Buhari to take about $30billion loan.
“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.
“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.
“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”
The former president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged.

Read full speech below.

“NIGERIA YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW:GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY”
Lecture by
His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo
At the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture
Lagos, November 23, 2016
Protocol
When my sister, ’Toyin Olakunri, phoned to alert me about this Lecture, the telephone connection was poor and I could hardly hear her but I got the name of Mr. Akintola Williams which has always struck reverence and awe in me.
Mr. Akintola Williams has seen active days and has been an active participant in Nigeria of the past, Nigeria of the present and by God’s grace, will be part of Nigeria’s future for some time to come.
’Toyin, who was a tremendous help to me when I was in government as she served as the Executive Chairperson of Education Trust Fund, knows that any request by her is taken as an order by me. But that request being made to honour a great man of Mr. Akintola Williams calibre cannot be refused. And what is more, the topic assigned, “Nigeria Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Governance and Accountability”, is so relevant to the time we are in that it is irresistibly attractive and befitting for an occasion like this where we celebrate an icon, Mr. Akintola Williams, who is a paragon of propriety, rectitude and integrity.
This afternoon, I will reflect with you on this topic which will take us on a time travel into a bit of Nigeria’s past, cruising to the present and with a quick peep into the future.
Looking around the hall, I can see among the audience by age, yesterday, today and future or put in the title of a hymn book, “ancient and modern”, with the future sprinkled within. I hope you will all go along with me on this enchanting journey. But before we embark on our journey, let us do first thing first.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here purposely to celebrate and honour an unusual specimen of human being, Mr. Akintola Williams, a nationally-renowned and globally-acclaimed accountant. He was the first African to qualify in that profession as a Chartered Accountant.
Apart from him being the first African to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, he founded the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa, at the time the accountancy business was dominated by foreign firms. As some clips from his enviable biography goes, Mr. Akintola Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the Association. He was a founding member and first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Let me commend ICAN for establishing Akintola Williams Foundation, in perpetuity, in honour of our celebrant. He deserves this and more.
He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as being Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). He is still actively involved with these organisations even in his resplendent old age. He is a founding member of this prestigious Club hosting this meeting, the Metropolitan Club of Lagos. There is something unique about Mr. Akintola Williams for all his momentous achievements and contributions to nation-building and national development. He has never been in government and yet his contributions surpassed those of many others who passed through portal of government without much positive achievement or contribution to show for it.
I must confess that my interactions with Mr. Akintola Williams were tangential for a number of reasons. When those of us in the military in the province like Kaduna, where I was, came to Lagos in the mid-1960s, we were looking at the likes of Mr. Akintola Williams at a distance with great administration and in awe.
My longstanding friendship and close relationship with one of his junior associates, friends and brothers, who turned ninety earlier this year, provided me with the leeway or the alley through which I managed to tiptoe to the presence of our celebrant. Over the past fifty years, I have directly and indirectly enjoyed his advice and support. In his cucumber-cool, sober and unruffled disposition, he inspires you and warms you to himself. His reflections and piercing insights and insistence for truth and accountability cannot but inspire anyone close to him. I often admire his calm mien and disposition and when I asked a friend, “why is he always so calm, composed and methodical? He answered, “it is because he has strong internal antenna for control!”
Now back to our journey of reflection on the past, present and future of Nigeria, from good governance and accountability point of view. I will gravitate my reflections today on the important subject of accountability in governance. As I begin, it is helpful to say a few words on the terminologies that will ring throughout this address. These are good governance, accountability, transparency and trust. Like the web of a spider, the four concepts are interwoven and intertwined in their dependencies. I intend to touch briefly on democratic underpinning of governance, particularly good governance and I cannot conclude without a word on the economy.
There is no single and exhaustive definition of “governance” and “accountability” nor is there a delimitation of their scopes that command universal acceptance. But I take good governance to mean legitimate, accountable, and effective ways of obtaining and using public power and resources in the pursuit of widely accepted social goals. Good governance is essentially about the adherence to the laid-down processes for making and implementing decisions. Good governance is not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about adherence to the best possible process for making those decisions. In effect, a good decision-making process, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects of government including consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols, role clarification and good working relationships.
The major hallmarks of good governance are:
Transparency,
Accountability,
Adherence to the rule of law,
Responsiveness to needs and demands of the citizenry.
Good governance, properly nuanced, is highly participatory and as a fall out of that, good governance is equitable and inclusive. That is why good governance is effective and efficient.
Accountability, which is one of the cornerstones of good governance, is the degree to which government has to explain or justify what it has done or failed to do. Accountability ensures that the actions and decisions taken by leaders, public officials or persons in authority are open to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their outlined aims and objectives and respond to the needs of the society. Accountability and transparency are intertwined. They both promote openness, truth, morality, free flow of information and forthrightness in the running of governmental affairs particularly the budget and financial aspects of government affairs.


Let us take the issue of trust. Trust is a crucial element for the existence of good relationship between the governed and the authority. A society that lacks trust between the ruler and the governed is founded on false foundation. A government that is not trusted by its citizens will definitely not get the cooperation and confidence of the generality of the citizens; hence its ability and capability to achieve development will be curtailed. The product of an admixture of good governance, accountability, transparency and trust is development, all round development for all. This mixture ensures that resources are judiciously allocated and expended, that authority is properly exercised in conformity with the rule of law for the benefit of the society.
Let us now begin our time travel with the past. For the purpose of this address, I define the past as the period between 1914 and 1999. The narration of accountability in governance within this 85-year period will take hours but as I hinted in my opening statements, I will only provide brief highlights. I will begin with what I consider to be the most important tool for accountability in governance. This is the Constitution. All previous Constitutions gave a lot of prominence to accountability. For instance, the 1999 Constitution made provisions for separation of powers as a mechanism for checks and balances and as a plank to leverage accountability.
The British parliamentary system, sometimes called cabinet government, operates essentially through elected representatives of the people in parliament. The representatives in parliament exercise sovereign power on behalf of the people, with the actual conduct of the government being in the hands of the leading members of the majority party (Ministers) which form the government, thereby constituting the cabinet. To assist the executive (Ministers) in carrying out their responsibilities to the people through formulation of policies and implementing same, is a group of people called the civil servants whose tenure, unlike the politicians, is permanent and who man the administrative structure called the bureaucracy. Despite the assistance of the bureaucrats, the ministers are still individually and collectively held responsible to the parliament for the activities of the government.
This is the doctrine of ministerial responsibility and accountability, a fundamental part of British parliamentary system. The exclusion of the bureaucrats from this responsibility rests on the assumption that the ministers as heads of their respective ministries are totally in charge and must be abreast of everything happening there. Second, the bureaucrats who are expected to observe the ideals of anonymity, impartiality and political neutrality as enunciated by Max Weber in his conceptualization of the ideal bureaucracy, are not responsible for policy making but only for policy implementation under strict watch and directives of the ministers.
Put differently, the ministers are not expected to lose touch or political control of their ministries. As former prime minister, Harold Wilson puts it in1966, “civil servants, however eminent, remain the confidential advisers of ministers, who alone are answerable to parliament for policy; and we do not envisage any change in this fundamental feature of our parliamentary democracy” (Adamolekun 1986). However, the concepts of accountability and control measures were engineered when it was realized that public servants may need some restraints in their dealings with the public especially during the execution of their official duties.
Thus, the word ‘control’ as used in reference to administration signifies administrative control, measures aimed at restraining and checking the behaviour of civil servants with a view to preventing the abuse or misuse of bureaucratic power. Accountability, on the other hand, “focuses attention upon the sanctions or procedures by which public officials may be held to account for their actions” (Gould and Kolb, 1964). Thus, although, accountability as a concept is broader than administrative control since its scope includes both political and administrative officials, we are using it here as a synonym to administrative control.
The British, therefore, introduced certain systems of controlling the administration which became a legacy that the colonies inherited. The parliamentary control of the administration was effected through such political and devices as question time, letters by members of parliament to the ministers, and parliamentary committees. In addition to these, the British system also employed two other methods which were also inherited by the colonies.
These were internal and judicial controls. The internal control measures refer to certain internal arrangements peculiar to the bureaucracy and which was aimed at preventing the abuse of bureaucratic power by superior on the subordinate. The measures are, therefore, connected with the hierarchical structure of the bureaucracy, and they mediate the kind of relationship between superior and subordinates, career expectations and penalties for contravening rules and regulations governing the conduct of government work. Judicial control was put in place as a form of legal accountability which provided judicial remedies to any citizen who may be adversely affected by administrative actions or inactions contrary to law.
By independence in 1960, the existing colonial “West minster model” and the methods of parliamentary control not only remained unchanged, but there were also no doubts that the indigenous politicians also accepted them as the norm. After all, there were no other alternatives they could choose from, not after being exposed to these methods since the colonial days. Thus, it was a wonder to note that shortly after independence, the methods that had worked for generations in Britain and which had constituted the backbone of British democratic system, suddenly became ineffective in Nigeria, with the politicians who were ‘schooled’ in its use, deliberately thwarting its implementation and effectiveness.
All these could be seen as deliberate and not due to problems accompanying transplantation of models or ideas from one locale to another. For example, the tradition of question time in parliament which had been an effective instrument for turning the searchlight on the public service and for probing the conduct of administration in the inherited British model was the first to be stifled. The reasons for this are as numerous as they were personal to the politicians who were interested in ‘killing’ everything that would have hindered them from their primary preoccupation of self-perpetuation and enrichment.
Consequently, the absence of these parliamentary methods which would have called the civil service to order through the political ministers in charge of them paved the way for the abuse and misuse of bureaucratic power and subsequently corruption.
Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, gombeenism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Thus, the link between political and bureaucratic corruption was further concretized. Theoretically, many reasons could be adduced for the abandonment of the question time. The first was that the majority of the questions asked were mainly concerned with the distribution of amenities such as electricity, postal services, water and roads instead of how the service was doing in implementing decisions and their relationship with the citizens. Second was the short duration in which the parliament sat for business. This was because the politicians preferred to be busy looking for opportunities to feather their nests. There was, therefore, no adequate time for serious business to be discussed or searchlight turned on the conduct of the public service. Records have it that between 1960 1965, the Nigerian parliament sat for about 38 days per annum.
When compared with the British equivalent of about 160 days for the same period, there is no doubt that the Nigerian parliamentary members preferred other preoccupation to the one they pledged to and which they were voted for by the citizens. Third was the fact that the question time session took an air of inquisition, an opportunity which the opposition saw to ridicule and castigate the ruling party for inefficiency. Therefore, the majority of the ministers were unfavourably disposed to answering questions such that their continued absence at such sessions eventually led to its abandonment.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), another control method, was rendered ineffective also as a result of almost similar reasons. Between 1960 and 1965, the effective functioning of the PAC was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of the senior public servants, the limited knowledge of the members concerning their responsibilities, the high turnover rate of membership and more importantly the preponderance of pro government members on the committee including the chairman (Adamolekun, 1974).
The Nigerian judicial system operates at three levels, the Federal Courts, State Courts and Customary Courts. There is no public law system. Therefore, the courts have responsibilities for settling conflicts between private individuals and between private individuals and the state. The remedies used in settling disputes include the order of mandamus, prohibition, order of certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, doctrine of ultra vires, natural justice and the rule of law. In Nigeria, this system of judicial control and remedies has persistently proved ineffective in curbing instances of bureaucratic and judicial corruption. A major factor for this was the long time it takes for justice to be done in our courts. It is not impossible for a case in court to drag on for years until the aggrieved party loses all interests in the case or he dies before the final verdict is given. Of more importance is the cost of litigation which in Nigeria, is now not mitigated by a system of legal aid.
The ineffectiveness of all administrative control measures in Nigeria, some have argued, is due to imperfect imitation and transplantation (Adamolekun, 1974). The confusion can be traced to the doorstep of the colonial government. For example, the introduction of a quasi parliamentary system of government in Nigeria in 1952 was not based on the established British model of a government and an opposition. Instead, a national government was formed in Lagos whose composition reflected a search for national consensus that was expected to emerge from the sharing of power by the three broad interests groups represented by the country’s three regions at that time.
However, at the regional level, the political arrangement was that of a government and an opposition. By independence, the national consensus arrangement was jettisoned for the government and an opposition arrangement and without question, this feature proved inappropriate for the Nigerian milieu. This was because at independence, two of the prominent political parties – the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) – formed a coalition national government with the third major party, the Action Group (AG) acting as the opposition party. However, this may not be a sufficient justification as the politicians had enough time to learn and master their workings under the British colonial government.
Rather, it should be seen as more of a deliberate action on the part of the culprits. The politicians’ deliberate move to stifle all possible control measures that may hinder them from realizing their purpose of using their position for self-enrichment also enabled the administration to do likewise. As a matter of fact, the preoccupation of the political class to consolidate their hold on their positions while enriching themselves left the bureaucracy without political direction and monitoring, hence the bureaucrats were able to become a power onto themselves.
Thus, the collapse of every form of political control of the bureaucracy enabled the bureaucrats to hijack power and in most cases acted as a decision-making organ, thereby resulting in the bureaucracy’s unholy romance with politics. This was particularly the case on the incursion of the military into the politics of Nigeria. Bureaucratic power now provides veritable opportunities for self-aggrandizement of the civil servants and this realization had necessitated that the system should frustrate every control measure that may hinder this possibility. The bureaucracy has become a festering ground for corruption and the age long Weberian norms governing administration are no longer respected. Ministers started collecting 10 per cent of the contract sum as money for administration of their political parties. One ugly example of this was a Minister of Communications inviting all contractors wanting to do business in his Ministry and saying to them “To get contracts in this Ministry, there will be 10% for the party and 10% for me and all of these must come through me.” The eras of First and Second Republics witnessed unprecedented level of venality by high-ranking politicians. Corrupt practices were also manifested in the manipulation of the electoral process, politicization of the judiciary and resort to false accusation charges to intimidate political opponents of the government.
Who will guard the guardians? Deriving from the discussion so far, therefore, it becomes very clear that the British colonial elite who supervised the political development of Nigeria did bequeath to the post independent Nigeria certain political cum administrative legacies which the metropolitan dominant elite held sacrosanct and which they had become committed to. These legacies provided the post-independent leaders and politicians the opportunity and a framework within which to operate. As we have been at pains to show, these legacies did not survive the immediate period after independence. The reality was that the interest of the political and bureaucratic elite changed drastically after independence. This change of interest could also be interpreted to imply a change in support of liberal democracy, its institutions and the process of government.
The increasing level of intolerance that has characterized political rule in Nigeria since 1960 and the entry of the military into the political arena are pointers to the abandonment of the values of liberal democratic values and institutions. It is our candid opinion that the abandonment of all values of liberal democracy by the political elite was deliberate and was a prelude to the removal of all administrative checks on excesses. This leads to only one conclusion, that the political elite accepted the liberal form of democracy under British colonial rule mainly because of the constraining effects it had on the colonial administrators. On the other hand, they rejected its continuation after independence precisely because they did not want such constraints on their own rule.
Democracy in the western style, wherever it is being practised, has certain desirous effects. More than any other form of government, liberal democracy of the western type increases the probability that government will follow or be guided by the general interest. This is because, how governments act is affected by the constitutional systems through which they emerge and democracies will ensure that governments pursue policies in the general interest or for the common good (Lively 1975).
In both parliamentary and presidential systems of government, the locus of competition rests with the political parties and normally victory is ensured if a political party can produce good policies that will satisfy the majority of the citizens. This notwithstanding, the dictates of good governance requires that government should submit itself to periodic assessment and renewal of mandate. Within the framework of alternative choices, this implies that the government in power and which wishes to retain power must be responsive to the wish of the governed. Second, the liberal democratic form of government also imposes some restraint on the state. The state’s right is limited by the constitutional provision that it must respect the rights of individuals and groups in the society.
Thus, in this regard, the “temptation of the political leadership to wield absolute power is restricted by the competitive nature of democracy” (Perry, 1969). Thus, by definition, liberal democratic government is a limited government as arbitrary use of power is curtailed. This probably provides us with one of the reasons that endeared liberal democracy to the generality and that it protects them from arbitrary state interference. Third is that competitive democratic system compels attention not just to the form of government but also to the substance of politics in as much as political parties compete on the basis of what they have to offer to the electorate. A fourth one is that democracy provides the citizenry with more opportunities to get involved in political decisions. The literature on mass society and political participation suggests that citizens’ participation in decision can be either as individuals or members of groups. It is only in this sense that representative democracy encourages “a belief by the masses that they exercise an ultimate self determination within the existing social order…a credence in the democratic equality of all citizens in the government of the nation” (Anderson, 1977).
Finally, the primary concern of democracy with the formal political equality of all citizens, majority of whom are economically disadvantaged, provides for the economically advantaged and powerful groups to dominate and often times hijack the system thereby undermining the notion of political equality. Perhaps more than any other reason, this particular advantage made democracy quite attractive to most elite. As Nairn (1977) has rightly observed, the representative mechanism converted real class inequality into the abstract egalitarianism of citizens, individual egoisms into an impersonal collective will, what would otherwise be chaos into a new state legitimacy.
It is right to conclude, therefore, that the Nigerian elite were very interested in restraining the power of the state when they were not part of the state government, but very reluctant to have their power restrained once they became part of the government. Deriving from our analysis, it becomes easy to note that all subversion of democracy, its tenets and institutions have taken the form of elite reluctance to conduct itself within the prescribed rules of the democratic game. These rules are intended to restrain and compel the elite to subject their performance to the judgment of the masses.
This becomes possible in liberal democracies and perhaps impossible in our own democracy because as Mayer et al. (1996) have postulated, democracy seems to require a cultural context within which to operate, a cultural context in which the democratic format has acquired a deep seated legitimacy that exceeds one’s commitment to any given set of political outcomes. Within this cultural context, politics is generally thought of as conflicts of interests rather than conflicts between right and wrong or good and evil.
Politics based on considerations of class and the distribution of material well being leads to greater tolerance of opposition and the propensity to compromise with one’s opponent than does the politics of symbols emanating from such divisions as linguistic, religious, ethnic or cultural cleavages. This seems paradoxical because experience has shown that it is primarily because of these same considerations of class and the distribution of material well being, who gets what and how, that have generated a culture of intolerance thereby causing the political elite to subvert all democratic tenets which the same elite in western liberal democracies hold sacrosanct.
Deriving from this point, it should be realized that accountability is essential for the efficient functioning of the bureaucracy especially as it is the primary and major implementation arm of government. Accountability acts as a quality control device for the public service and so the public as citizens and consumers in the public realm can expect to receive the best service.
Accountability also underscores the superiority of the public will over private interests of those expected to serve and ensures that the public servants behave according to the ethics of their profession. The public expects nothing more or less and it is in this regard that the argument has been made that where professional ethics and accountability have been eroded or abandoned, the servants become the master and corruption thrives.
On the other hand, the concept of accountability cannot be excised from democracy and the enjoyment of the democratic life by the public. This is basically because democracy implies the supremacy of the public will and the citizens in the governing process. The idea and notion that appointed and elective officials of government be accountable is at the very core and root of democracy. This is very important in the face of the tendency by these officials to abuse and misuse their positions for personal gains and accumulation of wealth (Ekpo, 1979; Reno,1995).
As Olowu (2002) has further pointed out, accountability is very necessary now especially in the face of a sharp decline in resources available to most African states and aggravated by the rising expectations of the citizens which has further imposed tremendous pressure on governments to ensure that they give the citizens minimum possible value for their money.
Finally, it is pertinent to reiterate that the peculiar character of the Nigerian democracy has made it possible to defy all attempts at instituting control and accountability measures mainly because the dominant groups’ support for democracy, even where it ever existed, was purely instrumental rational in that it continues for as long as the institutions enable them to protect and promote their material or sectional interests.
Their support for democracy and its institutions, especially the control and accountability measures, ceases when the exercise of these measures begin to threaten the basis of their economic and political power and dominance. This may explain partly the reason for the various cover up acts and secret cult like attitude of the elected representatives of the people at the national and state levels when it comes to their various acts of corruption, demands and sharing of illegal money. This may also explain in part the present attitude of the Executive who has discovered that the only way to tackle the problem of corruption at this level is to personally intervene and expose them since the various control and accountability measures instituted in the Constitution have been rendered inoperative or impotent by the same people who are expected to make them work. This was what partly informed the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to combat acts of corruption by both public and elected officials of the state by my Administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The 1999 Constitution that we are operating today, though partially amended, provides for the establishment of some institutions to set the ground rules and promote accountability. These include the Offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation. We also have the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Public Complaints Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Bureau for Public Procurement, the Office of the Ombudsman and several others. With all of these being put in place to ensure checks and balances within the system, little could be achieved. What is starkly and shamefully lacking is compliance.
Let me comment on recent issues concerning corruption and accountability. Three weeks before the first three judges were arrested for corruption, I was talking to a fairly senior retired public officer who put things this way, “The Judiciary is gone, the National Assembly is gone, the military is sunk and the civil service was gone before them; God save Nigeria”. I said a loud Amen. Three weeks later, the process of saving the Judiciary began. And if what I have gathered is anything to go by, there may be not less than two score of judicial officers that may have questions to answer. That will be salutary for the Judiciary and for the Nation.
While one would not feel unconcerned for the method used, one should also ask if there was an alternative. The National Judicial Council, NJC, would not do anything as it was all in-breeding. As now contained in our Constitution, the President of Nigeria cannot influence or make any appointment to the Judiciary at the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court level. He can only transmit the decision of the NJC to the Senate even where Senate confirmation is required. The Constitution which was heavily influenced by the Judiciary ensured that. And yet a drastic disease requires a drastic treatment. When justice is only for sale and can only be purchased by the highest bidder, impunity and anarchy would be the order of the day and no one would be safe.
A drastic action was needed to save the situation, albeit one would have preferred an alternative that would serve the same purpose, if there was one. In the absence of that alternative, we must all thank God for giving the President the wisdom, courage and audacity for giving the security agencies the leeway to act. And where a mistake was made in the action taken, correction must take place with an apology, if necessary. There is virtually no corrupt Judge without being aided by a member of the bar. The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has the responsibility to clean up its own house and help with the cleaning of the Judiciary. It is heartening though that some members of the NBA have recently called for judicial reform. Such reform must be deep, comprehensive and entail constitutional amendments as appointment and disciplines of Judges are concerned. May God continue to imbue the Executive with the necessary wisdom and courage to clean the dirty stable of the Judiciary and the Bar for the progress and the image of our Nation. It must also be said that the good eggs within the Judiciary must be proud of themselves and we must not only be proud of them but also protect them and their integrity.
If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians.
Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of whistle blower is deplorable and undemocratic. What of the so-called constituency projects which is a veritable source of corruption? These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time. Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15 million a month for a Senator and N10 million a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.
Like the Judiciary, the National Assembly cannot clean itself. Look at how re-current budget of the National Assembly with the so-called constituency projects has ballooned since the inception of this democratic dispensation. What were their budgets in the 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015? The revelation was both alarming and scandalous. Once, when I was President, I asked outside auditors, both normal and forensic, to audit the account of the National Assembly, they frustrated it on the basis of separation of power. They claimed they had oversight responsibility for their corruption and misdemeanour and nothing can be done. It is like asking a thief to watch over himself. There must be full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner at all levels.
Budget transparency is a precondition for public participation in budget processes. The combination of budget transparency and public participation in budget processes has the potential to combat corruption, foster public accountability of government agencies and contribute to judicious use of public funds. The National Assembly budget process is not only carried out in opaque and corruptive manner but also in grossly unconstitutional manner. Hence, our lawmakers are lawbreakers. They are the accused, the prosecutor, the defenders and the judge in their own case. Most of them conduct themselves and believe that they are not answerable to anybody. They are blatant in their misbehaviour, cavalier in their misconduct and arrogant in the misuse of parliamentary immunity as a shield against reprisals for their irresponsible acts of malfeasance and/or outright banditry.
We should not continue to live with the impunity and corruption of the National Assembly. Yes, I believe that something can and should be done. The President should ride on the crest of the popularity of what is happening in the Judiciary to set up a highly technical team of incorruptible investigators to look into the so-called constituency projects of the past and the present and bring culprits to book. The President has overall responsibility and accountability for any fund appropriated under his watch. There would be many of such projects and the National Assembly would try to frustrate such necessary investigation. But the project sites are known and magnitude of funds voted for them are known. The investigation will reveal the true situation.
Nigerians will be shocked with what such enquiries would unearth. Measures to be taken should include stopping spurious constituency projects with immediate effect. And if our lawmakers-turned-lawbreakers manage to smuggle any so-called constituency projects into the budget, money should not be released for such scandalous projects. They would, as they tried with me, threaten impeachment. But a clean Judiciary and a cheated Nation should stand with the President. There should be no going back.
By our Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Fiscal and Allocation Commission should be responsible for fixing the remunerations of the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government. Any salary, allowance or perquisite not recommended by the Commission should not be budgeted for; but crooks and crocked that most of the members of the National Assembly are, they will try to find other ways which must be blocked. In the past, they even instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly not to reveal to the Executive details of their remuneration. May God give the President the wisdom, courage and audacity to be able to do with the National Assembly what is being done with the Judiciary. Mr. President must be assured that he will earn the accolade and support of most Nigerians and indeed most friends of Nigeria within and outside Nigeria.
Another means by which the National Assembly embarks on corruption spree is their so-called oversight responsibility. They instigate and collude with Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies to add to their budget outside what was submitted by the President with the purpose of sharing the addition or they threaten such units to reduce what was submitted by the President unless there is a promise of kickback. They can also set up a spurious committee to investigate a project while they call on the contractor to pay them or the executive officer in charge of the project to cough up money, otherwise they would write a bad report.
The National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged. With appropriate measures, the budget of the National Assembly can be brought down to less than 50% of what it is today. God will help Nigeria, but we must begin by helping ourselves.
How I wish that the military has not descended into what it has descended to in the last seven or eight years! It is sickening! When the military is corrupt, it affects its fighting ability in many ways. Poor, used and inappropriate equipment and materials are purchased by the military for the military at the expense of the lives of fighting troops in the warfront. In some cases, nothing at all is purchased. How callous, for a General, an Air Marshall or a Naval Admiral to be so cruel and unpatriotic as to buy such inappropriate weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials for men facing the rigour and ruthlessness of an enemy force like the Boko Haram!
It is more damnable for nothing to be bought and yet the money disappeared into their private personal pockets. I can only say to these officers that I am not proud of them, rather I am ashamed of them. Whether they are alive or dead, their family members should also be ashamed of them. And what is more, the blood of those men who died because of their nefarious and sordid acts and actions would be on their hands. I know what it could be to be poorly equipped or starved of essential weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials to fight a war. Surely, God will deal with such offenders and capital sinners, but, in addition, those who have responsibility for dealing with them here on this side of the veil should not fight shy otherwise they become accomplices.
Finally on the military, the procurement system has to be streamlined and taken back to what it used to be. The military is not a buyer of its own weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials. It is only a recommender and a tester of the weapons and equipment that could perform the role and function assigned to it. The procurement is normally by a Committee which includes defence, finance, legislature, foreign affairs and the military only as observer or adviser to ensure quality and standard. With ridiculous statements and claims that insult the intelligence of Nigerians by immediate past leaders in government and their collaborators and accomplices either outside government or still within the corridor of power, all reports must be made public for Nigerians to know the truth and be able to make up their minds about the past and the future. With some shocking revelations and magnitude of stolen money so far reported, it will be absurd and insensitive to extreme for anybody in charge to claim innocence or show no remorse, especially when the Central Bank was prepared and staffed to bankroll the Presidential campaign of 2015. Such action and reaction is height of insults to this Nation and its citizens. That cannot be the right way to go.
It is heart-warming and certainly encouraging that the President has taken the bull by the horn by taking the first right step. He has ordered thorough investigation. But the next step is the immediate and appropriate actions on the reports no matter who is involved, and this requires greater wisdom, courage and cold decision. May God grant the President all the attributes he will need to clean the augean stable of the military. If not done as it should, it will undermine the fight against corruption and the President will not escape the charge of weakness or leniency towards his former constituency, the military.
Apart from the recovery which is most important, selective and symbolic prosecution should be made to serve as permanent deterrence. Otherwise, it will be a game of denial or litigations in future by shameless culprits. As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home”. The President’s action against offenders in the military should strengthen his hands against offenders in other constituencies, i.e. judicial, political, executive, police, para-military, educational institutions, diplomatic, civil service and parastatals.
The anti-corruption war in the past has landed some Governors in jail while some still have their cases pending in courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. To my surprise, I found out that most State Governments prefer not to always take advantage of funds made available as counterpart fund by Federal Government or what they have access to on the basis of rendering previous accounts. The simple reason is that they do not want to account to the Federal Government for such funds because it will open them up to outside party scrutiny because they don’t want to be transparent and be held accountable. This situation has led to money being available but not being utilised by States in such areas as basic education, UBEC, where the Federal Government provides counterpart funding. UBEC is one example, there are others. Incumbent Governors should be reminded that there will be accountability and judgement after the government house. EFCC and ICPC must buckle up.
If corruption is continued to be fought courageously and relentlessly, there will be substantial recovery from within and from without coupled with plugging the holes of wastes in Ministries, Departments, Educational Institutions and parastatals and we will need less borrowing if we would need borrowing at all, to get us out of recession than we might have thought. Of course, we must be ready to bite the bullet of spending less on luxuries and the unneeded and what we can do without and earning more on production, services and trading. I believe that going for a huge loan under any guise is inadvisable and it will amount to going the line of soft option, which will come to haunt us in future.
We immediately need loans to stabilise our foreign reserve and embark on some infrastructure development but surely not $30 billion over a period of less than three years. That was about the magnitude of cumulative debt of Nigeria which we worked and wiped out ten years ago. Before that debt relief, we were spending almost $3 billion to service our debt annually and the quantum of the debt was not going down. Rather, if we defaulted, we paid penalty which was added on.
The projects listed for borrowing are all necessary in the medium- and long-run for our economy but we have to prioritise. Railway is a necessary service but it is not profit-making anywhere in the world today. We need steady and continuous but manageable funding on the railway project. Mambilla hydro is the same; necessary but it cannot pay itself, especially with the global energy sector of shale revolution, hydrogen fuel and increasingly cheap renewable energy such as solar. OPEC itself has projected that the price of oil will be hovering in the region of $50 per barrel for the next fifteen years or so.
The argument of concessional mixed with commercial does not hold water. When the concessional and the non-concessional borrowings are put together, interests alone will be in the region of 3% to 4%. The bunching of debt service will be a problem to confront other administrations in future. Soft option alone is not the answer, a mixture of soft and hard options is the way to go. Telling us that those projects will pay themselves cannot be the whole truth. We were told there was rainy day when we lavished our reserve and excess crude on frivolities. When we now have the rains beating us, there is no umbrella over our heads.
Again, now we are being told the projects will pay themselves when we know damn well they will not. If we borrow some thirty billion dollars in less than three years, we would have mortgaged the future of Nigeria for well over thirty years to come. There may also be the problem of absorptive capacity which will surely lead to waste. A careful scrutiny of the projects with priotisation and avoidance of waste and taking into account avoiding bunching of debt service in future especially when no one can accurately forecast the global and national economy, will indicate less than thirty per cent of the foreign loan being requested as prudent.
We must not be unmindful of internal borrowing either. It impacts somewhat differently on the economy but it must not be allowed to crowd out the ability of the private sector to borrow to grow the real economy which is to lead us out of the recession.
We must be hard and harsh on those who stay outside, whether they are Nigerians or expatriates, and piece inside our economic house through smuggling, dumping and cheating on duty payment and lying on custom classification. We must make our neighbours realise that encouragement of acts to undermine our economy by allowing their countries to be used a smuggling route and dumping grounds for entries of unwanted commodities into Nigeria will be treated as an act of hostility. We must be ready to close our borders with such neighbours to protect our economy. We must also empower customs to close the shops and factories of cheaters and immigration to deport hostile expatriates within our midst. The act of underpinning and destroying our economy should be regarded as an act of hostility and treated as such.
If we do not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gain in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.
No administration can nor should be comfortable with excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering. I know that President Buhari has always expressed concern for the plight of the common people but that concern must be translated to workable and result-oriented socio-economic policy and programme that will turn the economy round at the shortest time possible. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change. That will be a miracle which normally doesn’t happen in normal national economies. We have people inside and outside who can be brought together to help device the right economic policy and programme to get us out of the pit before we fall over the precipice into a dark cave. Economy requires a great element of trust to get it out of the doldrums let alone out of negativity. That trust and confidence has to be created.
Coming back to the issue of corruption, there is always need for institution reform to go along with recovery to make gains from fight against corruption last. Such reforms may have to be strengthened by legislation like the military procurement I mentioned earlier. But where the guard is the thief like we have seen in recent times, it makes things difficult, if not impossible.
All in all, everybody must be held accountable. There should be no sacred cow or witch-hunting or untenable excuses to let the camel through the needle eye. Those who must be made accountable must be made accountable with stick and carrot. However, I remain optimistic even though the grounds for optimism keep shrinking. Or, how do you explain having to go into any debate at all whether or not a judge found corrupt should be properly and lawfully dealt with or not? Worse still, how do you explain the situation where people are shamelessly protesting in favour of a person being arraigned in court for corruption offences? Whether those protesters are put to it or they put themselves to it, it is the greatest disservice to the Nation. It is shamefully disgraceful for both the culprit and the protesters. And it is an indication of how much our values have been debased. We cannot be a strong, great and respected nation in the world without political stability and cohesion, strong economy, robust and enduring values.
The Media should be more discerning, sensitive and responsible in reporting and commenting on corruption issues. We should realise that the entrenched interests, internally and externally, in corruption, will not go away. We need to discover and find permanent solution, otherwise some will bend, others will lie low while some others will be dormant; but all of them will spring up later and move on with vengeance as if nothing had happened. That has been our experience in the past. We must put an end to that. Part of sustenance of fight against corruption will be moral rearmament and resurgence of core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, hard work and sense of shame, not impunity and indignity.
We must think and act out of the box to put the monster of corruption and impunity behind us permanently. For some unclear reasons, the government at the centre has not been able (I hope not lack of willingness) to present to the Nation the true position of our economy and our finances. For instance, how much did we receive from major revenue earning and collecting points – petroleum and gas, FIRS, maritime, aviation, VAT, etc. And how much should we have received. If there was any discrepancy, why, how and how much? How was the receipt distributed and how was the Federal allocation spent? Such a clear picture will let Nigerians and their friends know where we are.
It will help people to understand exactly the position of government with true economic and financial situation, and what more pains and sacrifices we have to take and make to get us out of recession. Nigerians must know the truth to work our way out of recession. Easy options will not get us there. Blanket cover or cover-up is no accountability. I was shocked to know that the ECOWAS’ money collected out of 0.5 per cent import surcharge for ECOWAS was spent by Nigeria in the last five years or so. How was that for responsibility and accountability and particularly leadership within ECOWAS?
The blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 by the present administration is uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive. Politics apart, I strongly believe that there is a distinction between the three previous administrations that it would be unfair to lump them all together. I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy inherited by him. It was the same reason and situation that brought about cry for change, otherwise there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy.
Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based. I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved. The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism. Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning. It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.
There is one aspect of accountability in governance in Nigeria that I consider paramount and which is often overlooked. That is accountability for our unity, cohesion, peace and security. All other issues can be fairly well attended to, addressed and dealt with if our unity, cohesion, peace and security are unassailable. It is normally the responsibility of government to mobilise the citizenry for all hands on deck to ensure good governance and accountability. All men and women of goodwill in Nigeria must be part of the exercise.
The fundamentals to achieving such a situation are justice, fairness, equity, popular participation and equal opportunity. In the last seven to eight years, we have slipped back on these fundamentals. The result is that our country is today more factionised than we were ten years ago. For the purpose of nation-building, it is not a satisfactory situation to be in especially when we need all hands on deck to work and walk our way out of recession. For those at the helm of governance, accountability, for unity, cohesion, peace and security as basis for development, growth and progress is not any less important than accountability for management of resources. It must be seen as the symbol of any political administration and what the welfare and well-being of the people hang on. Accountability in governance is the litmus test of any administration. It is the accountability of institutions which is the hallmark of democracy that promotes both political and economic good governance. Open government must be seen and made to work as partnership in which all have a stake and an interest.
Consistent with the law and policy, government must take appropriate action to disclose information rapidly and timely in form that members of the public can easily access and utilise. With the latest in digital technology, information about government operations and decisions should be readily available online. The public should be solicited for feedback to identify information of greatest and most vital use to the public. When I was President of Nigeria, I adopted regular public discussion on radio and television with questions and answers as one means of achieving this objective. The value of openness in government engagement with citizen to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation and create safer and more secure communities must be upheld.
There must be ‘disciplined nationalism’ to manage resources, internal or foreign, for maximisation of growth and for the benefit of all. A torrent of money in the hands of weak, corrupt and incompetent government is a disastrous waste for a nation. Nigeria has experienced that in the not-too-distant past.
Apart from the reforms necessary in all arms of government, for the immediate and the future, we must embark on very close x-ray of all people seeking elective offices at any level and all political, judicial and legislative appointees.
The x-raying must be open and transparent and the burden of proof must be that of the person seeking elective office and/or any of the public appointments mentioned.
In the past, we have not done enough background checks and enquiries about the past of people seeking elective offices or being appointed to public offices. The same is the case of people being awarded national honours and awards to the extent that national honour and award have been cheapened and debased. I know an officer who was removed from the Army for embezzling N300,000 of troops’ salary and was given national honour under the last administration.
I dare say also that a situation where a person supposed to be screened by the National Assembly for public appointment is told to give a bow without any screening because he or she had been a member of that Assembly amounts to dereliction of duty on the part of the national body. If people know that their total past will be x-rayed and the burden of proof will be theirs, they will be guarded, careful and more circumspect. Public office is public trust of integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and total good conduct and good behaviour. Therefore, anybody with a question mark should be considered ineligible for elective office or for appointment into public office.
Before I conclude, let me commend all the foot soldiers in the war against corruption – the different panels of enquiries, the ICPC but particularly the EFCC which is now showing that it is a bull dog that can bite. It has, of course, continued to get rid of bad eggs within its rank. We must appeal to the Judiciary not to frustrate the efforts of these soldiers through flimsy technicality and interminable adjournments. Corruption is corruption and it cannot be explained as the proceeds of sale of rice and gari by a judge nor can millions of dollars be explained as medical fee or gifts without identified sources by a public officer or spouse of such a public officer.
The foot soldiers in anti-corruption war must be encouraged to soldier on through commendation and appreciation of their efforts. In the final analysis, we must ensure that by law, review of our Constitution, convention, advocacy and awareness-raising, we stamp out brazenness, impunity and utter irresponsibility in governance and ensure accountability in any arm, ministry, department, parastatal or unit of government.
Let me conclude on a note of optimism with caution. Nigeria has shown great resilience and capacity to bounce back from the edge of the precipice in the past and our people, boldly and courageously, went out to seek greener pasture with remarkable success. Events in the world are showing that the opportunities are diminishing. If we do not get it right in good governance and accountability, the fuze of anger of the citizenry particularly the youth may be getting shorter.
Correction must be made while there is still time. If that correction is timely made, Nigeria has the quantity and quality of resources particularly human resources to make it a great nation to be counted among the comity of nations within two generations as the undisputed leader of Africa and the black race in all ramifications.
May God continue to give us what we need in governance at every level and accountability for now and in future.
Thank you for listening.
Premium Times - The honeymoon between President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo seems to have ended.
For the one and a half year that Mr. Buhari has been in power, Mr. Obasanjo remained one of his staunchest backers, visiting him repeatedly and publicly defending most of his actions.
But speaking in Lagos Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo served signal that the era of being soft on the administration Mr. Buhari leads is over.
Delivering the keynote at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture, Mr. Obasanjo lashed at the Buhari administration for repeatedly lumping the country’s three previous administrations (including the one he, Obasanjo, led) together and then accusing them of misgovernance.
He also advised Mr. Buhari to stop dwelling on the past, saying since he was elected to change the country, he should concentrate on clearing the mess he inherited.
“Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
“And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”

The former president also criticised plans by Mr. Buhari to take about $30billion loan.
“I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme (that will move Nigeria forward) will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
“Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved.
“The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.
“Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning.”
The former president did not spare the National Assembly which he says stinks to high heavens and the Nigerian military, which he said needed to be purged.

Read full speech below.

“NIGERIA YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW:GOVERNANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY”
Lecture by
His Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo
At the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture
Lagos, November 23, 2016
Protocol
When my sister, ’Toyin Olakunri, phoned to alert me about this Lecture, the telephone connection was poor and I could hardly hear her but I got the name of Mr. Akintola Williams which has always struck reverence and awe in me.
Mr. Akintola Williams has seen active days and has been an active participant in Nigeria of the past, Nigeria of the present and by God’s grace, will be part of Nigeria’s future for some time to come.
’Toyin, who was a tremendous help to me when I was in government as she served as the Executive Chairperson of Education Trust Fund, knows that any request by her is taken as an order by me. But that request being made to honour a great man of Mr. Akintola Williams calibre cannot be refused. And what is more, the topic assigned, “Nigeria Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Governance and Accountability”, is so relevant to the time we are in that it is irresistibly attractive and befitting for an occasion like this where we celebrate an icon, Mr. Akintola Williams, who is a paragon of propriety, rectitude and integrity.
This afternoon, I will reflect with you on this topic which will take us on a time travel into a bit of Nigeria’s past, cruising to the present and with a quick peep into the future.
Looking around the hall, I can see among the audience by age, yesterday, today and future or put in the title of a hymn book, “ancient and modern”, with the future sprinkled within. I hope you will all go along with me on this enchanting journey. But before we embark on our journey, let us do first thing first.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we are here purposely to celebrate and honour an unusual specimen of human being, Mr. Akintola Williams, a nationally-renowned and globally-acclaimed accountant. He was the first African to qualify in that profession as a Chartered Accountant.
Apart from him being the first African to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, he founded the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa, at the time the accountancy business was dominated by foreign firms. As some clips from his enviable biography goes, Mr. Akintola Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the Association. He was a founding member and first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). Let me commend ICAN for establishing Akintola Williams Foundation, in perpetuity, in honour of our celebrant. He deserves this and more.
He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as being Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON). He is still actively involved with these organisations even in his resplendent old age. He is a founding member of this prestigious Club hosting this meeting, the Metropolitan Club of Lagos. There is something unique about Mr. Akintola Williams for all his momentous achievements and contributions to nation-building and national development. He has never been in government and yet his contributions surpassed those of many others who passed through portal of government without much positive achievement or contribution to show for it.
I must confess that my interactions with Mr. Akintola Williams were tangential for a number of reasons. When those of us in the military in the province like Kaduna, where I was, came to Lagos in the mid-1960s, we were looking at the likes of Mr. Akintola Williams at a distance with great administration and in awe.
My longstanding friendship and close relationship with one of his junior associates, friends and brothers, who turned ninety earlier this year, provided me with the leeway or the alley through which I managed to tiptoe to the presence of our celebrant. Over the past fifty years, I have directly and indirectly enjoyed his advice and support. In his cucumber-cool, sober and unruffled disposition, he inspires you and warms you to himself. His reflections and piercing insights and insistence for truth and accountability cannot but inspire anyone close to him. I often admire his calm mien and disposition and when I asked a friend, “why is he always so calm, composed and methodical? He answered, “it is because he has strong internal antenna for control!”
Now back to our journey of reflection on the past, present and future of Nigeria, from good governance and accountability point of view. I will gravitate my reflections today on the important subject of accountability in governance. As I begin, it is helpful to say a few words on the terminologies that will ring throughout this address. These are good governance, accountability, transparency and trust. Like the web of a spider, the four concepts are interwoven and intertwined in their dependencies. I intend to touch briefly on democratic underpinning of governance, particularly good governance and I cannot conclude without a word on the economy.
There is no single and exhaustive definition of “governance” and “accountability” nor is there a delimitation of their scopes that command universal acceptance. But I take good governance to mean legitimate, accountable, and effective ways of obtaining and using public power and resources in the pursuit of widely accepted social goals. Good governance is essentially about the adherence to the laid-down processes for making and implementing decisions. Good governance is not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about adherence to the best possible process for making those decisions. In effect, a good decision-making process, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects of government including consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols, role clarification and good working relationships.
The major hallmarks of good governance are:
Transparency,
Accountability,
Adherence to the rule of law,
Responsiveness to needs and demands of the citizenry.
Good governance, properly nuanced, is highly participatory and as a fall out of that, good governance is equitable and inclusive. That is why good governance is effective and efficient.
Accountability, which is one of the cornerstones of good governance, is the degree to which government has to explain or justify what it has done or failed to do. Accountability ensures that the actions and decisions taken by leaders, public officials or persons in authority are open to oversight so as to guarantee that government initiatives meet their outlined aims and objectives and respond to the needs of the society. Accountability and transparency are intertwined. They both promote openness, truth, morality, free flow of information and forthrightness in the running of governmental affairs particularly the budget and financial aspects of government affairs.


Let us take the issue of trust. Trust is a crucial element for the existence of good relationship between the governed and the authority. A society that lacks trust between the ruler and the governed is founded on false foundation. A government that is not trusted by its citizens will definitely not get the cooperation and confidence of the generality of the citizens; hence its ability and capability to achieve development will be curtailed. The product of an admixture of good governance, accountability, transparency and trust is development, all round development for all. This mixture ensures that resources are judiciously allocated and expended, that authority is properly exercised in conformity with the rule of law for the benefit of the society.
Let us now begin our time travel with the past. For the purpose of this address, I define the past as the period between 1914 and 1999. The narration of accountability in governance within this 85-year period will take hours but as I hinted in my opening statements, I will only provide brief highlights. I will begin with what I consider to be the most important tool for accountability in governance. This is the Constitution. All previous Constitutions gave a lot of prominence to accountability. For instance, the 1999 Constitution made provisions for separation of powers as a mechanism for checks and balances and as a plank to leverage accountability.
The British parliamentary system, sometimes called cabinet government, operates essentially through elected representatives of the people in parliament. The representatives in parliament exercise sovereign power on behalf of the people, with the actual conduct of the government being in the hands of the leading members of the majority party (Ministers) which form the government, thereby constituting the cabinet. To assist the executive (Ministers) in carrying out their responsibilities to the people through formulation of policies and implementing same, is a group of people called the civil servants whose tenure, unlike the politicians, is permanent and who man the administrative structure called the bureaucracy. Despite the assistance of the bureaucrats, the ministers are still individually and collectively held responsible to the parliament for the activities of the government.
This is the doctrine of ministerial responsibility and accountability, a fundamental part of British parliamentary system. The exclusion of the bureaucrats from this responsibility rests on the assumption that the ministers as heads of their respective ministries are totally in charge and must be abreast of everything happening there. Second, the bureaucrats who are expected to observe the ideals of anonymity, impartiality and political neutrality as enunciated by Max Weber in his conceptualization of the ideal bureaucracy, are not responsible for policy making but only for policy implementation under strict watch and directives of the ministers.
Put differently, the ministers are not expected to lose touch or political control of their ministries. As former prime minister, Harold Wilson puts it in1966, “civil servants, however eminent, remain the confidential advisers of ministers, who alone are answerable to parliament for policy; and we do not envisage any change in this fundamental feature of our parliamentary democracy” (Adamolekun 1986). However, the concepts of accountability and control measures were engineered when it was realized that public servants may need some restraints in their dealings with the public especially during the execution of their official duties.
Thus, the word ‘control’ as used in reference to administration signifies administrative control, measures aimed at restraining and checking the behaviour of civil servants with a view to preventing the abuse or misuse of bureaucratic power. Accountability, on the other hand, “focuses attention upon the sanctions or procedures by which public officials may be held to account for their actions” (Gould and Kolb, 1964). Thus, although, accountability as a concept is broader than administrative control since its scope includes both political and administrative officials, we are using it here as a synonym to administrative control.
The British, therefore, introduced certain systems of controlling the administration which became a legacy that the colonies inherited. The parliamentary control of the administration was effected through such political and devices as question time, letters by members of parliament to the ministers, and parliamentary committees. In addition to these, the British system also employed two other methods which were also inherited by the colonies.
These were internal and judicial controls. The internal control measures refer to certain internal arrangements peculiar to the bureaucracy and which was aimed at preventing the abuse of bureaucratic power by superior on the subordinate. The measures are, therefore, connected with the hierarchical structure of the bureaucracy, and they mediate the kind of relationship between superior and subordinates, career expectations and penalties for contravening rules and regulations governing the conduct of government work. Judicial control was put in place as a form of legal accountability which provided judicial remedies to any citizen who may be adversely affected by administrative actions or inactions contrary to law.
By independence in 1960, the existing colonial “West minster model” and the methods of parliamentary control not only remained unchanged, but there were also no doubts that the indigenous politicians also accepted them as the norm. After all, there were no other alternatives they could choose from, not after being exposed to these methods since the colonial days. Thus, it was a wonder to note that shortly after independence, the methods that had worked for generations in Britain and which had constituted the backbone of British democratic system, suddenly became ineffective in Nigeria, with the politicians who were ‘schooled’ in its use, deliberately thwarting its implementation and effectiveness.
All these could be seen as deliberate and not due to problems accompanying transplantation of models or ideas from one locale to another. For example, the tradition of question time in parliament which had been an effective instrument for turning the searchlight on the public service and for probing the conduct of administration in the inherited British model was the first to be stifled. The reasons for this are as numerous as they were personal to the politicians who were interested in ‘killing’ everything that would have hindered them from their primary preoccupation of self-perpetuation and enrichment.
Consequently, the absence of these parliamentary methods which would have called the civil service to order through the political ministers in charge of them paved the way for the abuse and misuse of bureaucratic power and subsequently corruption.
Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism, gombeenism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Thus, the link between political and bureaucratic corruption was further concretized. Theoretically, many reasons could be adduced for the abandonment of the question time. The first was that the majority of the questions asked were mainly concerned with the distribution of amenities such as electricity, postal services, water and roads instead of how the service was doing in implementing decisions and their relationship with the citizens. Second was the short duration in which the parliament sat for business. This was because the politicians preferred to be busy looking for opportunities to feather their nests. There was, therefore, no adequate time for serious business to be discussed or searchlight turned on the conduct of the public service. Records have it that between 1960 1965, the Nigerian parliament sat for about 38 days per annum.
When compared with the British equivalent of about 160 days for the same period, there is no doubt that the Nigerian parliamentary members preferred other preoccupation to the one they pledged to and which they were voted for by the citizens. Third was the fact that the question time session took an air of inquisition, an opportunity which the opposition saw to ridicule and castigate the ruling party for inefficiency. Therefore, the majority of the ministers were unfavourably disposed to answering questions such that their continued absence at such sessions eventually led to its abandonment.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), another control method, was rendered ineffective also as a result of almost similar reasons. Between 1960 and 1965, the effective functioning of the PAC was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of the senior public servants, the limited knowledge of the members concerning their responsibilities, the high turnover rate of membership and more importantly the preponderance of pro government members on the committee including the chairman (Adamolekun, 1974).
The Nigerian judicial system operates at three levels, the Federal Courts, State Courts and Customary Courts. There is no public law system. Therefore, the courts have responsibilities for settling conflicts between private individuals and between private individuals and the state. The remedies used in settling disputes include the order of mandamus, prohibition, order of certiorari, habeas corpus, injunction, doctrine of ultra vires, natural justice and the rule of law. In Nigeria, this system of judicial control and remedies has persistently proved ineffective in curbing instances of bureaucratic and judicial corruption. A major factor for this was the long time it takes for justice to be done in our courts. It is not impossible for a case in court to drag on for years until the aggrieved party loses all interests in the case or he dies before the final verdict is given. Of more importance is the cost of litigation which in Nigeria, is now not mitigated by a system of legal aid.
The ineffectiveness of all administrative control measures in Nigeria, some have argued, is due to imperfect imitation and transplantation (Adamolekun, 1974). The confusion can be traced to the doorstep of the colonial government. For example, the introduction of a quasi parliamentary system of government in Nigeria in 1952 was not based on the established British model of a government and an opposition. Instead, a national government was formed in Lagos whose composition reflected a search for national consensus that was expected to emerge from the sharing of power by the three broad interests groups represented by the country’s three regions at that time.
However, at the regional level, the political arrangement was that of a government and an opposition. By independence, the national consensus arrangement was jettisoned for the government and an opposition arrangement and without question, this feature proved inappropriate for the Nigerian milieu. This was because at independence, two of the prominent political parties – the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) and the National Council for Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) – formed a coalition national government with the third major party, the Action Group (AG) acting as the opposition party. However, this may not be a sufficient justification as the politicians had enough time to learn and master their workings under the British colonial government.
Rather, it should be seen as more of a deliberate action on the part of the culprits. The politicians’ deliberate move to stifle all possible control measures that may hinder them from realizing their purpose of using their position for self-enrichment also enabled the administration to do likewise. As a matter of fact, the preoccupation of the political class to consolidate their hold on their positions while enriching themselves left the bureaucracy without political direction and monitoring, hence the bureaucrats were able to become a power onto themselves.
Thus, the collapse of every form of political control of the bureaucracy enabled the bureaucrats to hijack power and in most cases acted as a decision-making organ, thereby resulting in the bureaucracy’s unholy romance with politics. This was particularly the case on the incursion of the military into the politics of Nigeria. Bureaucratic power now provides veritable opportunities for self-aggrandizement of the civil servants and this realization had necessitated that the system should frustrate every control measure that may hinder this possibility. The bureaucracy has become a festering ground for corruption and the age long Weberian norms governing administration are no longer respected. Ministers started collecting 10 per cent of the contract sum as money for administration of their political parties. One ugly example of this was a Minister of Communications inviting all contractors wanting to do business in his Ministry and saying to them “To get contracts in this Ministry, there will be 10% for the party and 10% for me and all of these must come through me.” The eras of First and Second Republics witnessed unprecedented level of venality by high-ranking politicians. Corrupt practices were also manifested in the manipulation of the electoral process, politicization of the judiciary and resort to false accusation charges to intimidate political opponents of the government.
Who will guard the guardians? Deriving from the discussion so far, therefore, it becomes very clear that the British colonial elite who supervised the political development of Nigeria did bequeath to the post independent Nigeria certain political cum administrative legacies which the metropolitan dominant elite held sacrosanct and which they had become committed to. These legacies provided the post-independent leaders and politicians the opportunity and a framework within which to operate. As we have been at pains to show, these legacies did not survive the immediate period after independence. The reality was that the interest of the political and bureaucratic elite changed drastically after independence. This change of interest could also be interpreted to imply a change in support of liberal democracy, its institutions and the process of government.
The increasing level of intolerance that has characterized political rule in Nigeria since 1960 and the entry of the military into the political arena are pointers to the abandonment of the values of liberal democratic values and institutions. It is our candid opinion that the abandonment of all values of liberal democracy by the political elite was deliberate and was a prelude to the removal of all administrative checks on excesses. This leads to only one conclusion, that the political elite accepted the liberal form of democracy under British colonial rule mainly because of the constraining effects it had on the colonial administrators. On the other hand, they rejected its continuation after independence precisely because they did not want such constraints on their own rule.
Democracy in the western style, wherever it is being practised, has certain desirous effects. More than any other form of government, liberal democracy of the western type increases the probability that government will follow or be guided by the general interest. This is because, how governments act is affected by the constitutional systems through which they emerge and democracies will ensure that governments pursue policies in the general interest or for the common good (Lively 1975).
In both parliamentary and presidential systems of government, the locus of competition rests with the political parties and normally victory is ensured if a political party can produce good policies that will satisfy the majority of the citizens. This notwithstanding, the dictates of good governance requires that government should submit itself to periodic assessment and renewal of mandate. Within the framework of alternative choices, this implies that the government in power and which wishes to retain power must be responsive to the wish of the governed. Second, the liberal democratic form of government also imposes some restraint on the state. The state’s right is limited by the constitutional provision that it must respect the rights of individuals and groups in the society.
Thus, in this regard, the “temptation of the political leadership to wield absolute power is restricted by the competitive nature of democracy” (Perry, 1969). Thus, by definition, liberal democratic government is a limited government as arbitrary use of power is curtailed. This probably provides us with one of the reasons that endeared liberal democracy to the generality and that it protects them from arbitrary state interference. Third is that competitive democratic system compels attention not just to the form of government but also to the substance of politics in as much as political parties compete on the basis of what they have to offer to the electorate. A fourth one is that democracy provides the citizenry with more opportunities to get involved in political decisions. The literature on mass society and political participation suggests that citizens’ participation in decision can be either as individuals or members of groups. It is only in this sense that representative democracy encourages “a belief by the masses that they exercise an ultimate self determination within the existing social order…a credence in the democratic equality of all citizens in the government of the nation” (Anderson, 1977).
Finally, the primary concern of democracy with the formal political equality of all citizens, majority of whom are economically disadvantaged, provides for the economically advantaged and powerful groups to dominate and often times hijack the system thereby undermining the notion of political equality. Perhaps more than any other reason, this particular advantage made democracy quite attractive to most elite. As Nairn (1977) has rightly observed, the representative mechanism converted real class inequality into the abstract egalitarianism of citizens, individual egoisms into an impersonal collective will, what would otherwise be chaos into a new state legitimacy.
It is right to conclude, therefore, that the Nigerian elite were very interested in restraining the power of the state when they were not part of the state government, but very reluctant to have their power restrained once they became part of the government. Deriving from our analysis, it becomes easy to note that all subversion of democracy, its tenets and institutions have taken the form of elite reluctance to conduct itself within the prescribed rules of the democratic game. These rules are intended to restrain and compel the elite to subject their performance to the judgment of the masses.
This becomes possible in liberal democracies and perhaps impossible in our own democracy because as Mayer et al. (1996) have postulated, democracy seems to require a cultural context within which to operate, a cultural context in which the democratic format has acquired a deep seated legitimacy that exceeds one’s commitment to any given set of political outcomes. Within this cultural context, politics is generally thought of as conflicts of interests rather than conflicts between right and wrong or good and evil.
Politics based on considerations of class and the distribution of material well being leads to greater tolerance of opposition and the propensity to compromise with one’s opponent than does the politics of symbols emanating from such divisions as linguistic, religious, ethnic or cultural cleavages. This seems paradoxical because experience has shown that it is primarily because of these same considerations of class and the distribution of material well being, who gets what and how, that have generated a culture of intolerance thereby causing the political elite to subvert all democratic tenets which the same elite in western liberal democracies hold sacrosanct.
Deriving from this point, it should be realized that accountability is essential for the efficient functioning of the bureaucracy especially as it is the primary and major implementation arm of government. Accountability acts as a quality control device for the public service and so the public as citizens and consumers in the public realm can expect to receive the best service.
Accountability also underscores the superiority of the public will over private interests of those expected to serve and ensures that the public servants behave according to the ethics of their profession. The public expects nothing more or less and it is in this regard that the argument has been made that where professional ethics and accountability have been eroded or abandoned, the servants become the master and corruption thrives.
On the other hand, the concept of accountability cannot be excised from democracy and the enjoyment of the democratic life by the public. This is basically because democracy implies the supremacy of the public will and the citizens in the governing process. The idea and notion that appointed and elective officials of government be accountable is at the very core and root of democracy. This is very important in the face of the tendency by these officials to abuse and misuse their positions for personal gains and accumulation of wealth (Ekpo, 1979; Reno,1995).
As Olowu (2002) has further pointed out, accountability is very necessary now especially in the face of a sharp decline in resources available to most African states and aggravated by the rising expectations of the citizens which has further imposed tremendous pressure on governments to ensure that they give the citizens minimum possible value for their money.
Finally, it is pertinent to reiterate that the peculiar character of the Nigerian democracy has made it possible to defy all attempts at instituting control and accountability measures mainly because the dominant groups’ support for democracy, even where it ever existed, was purely instrumental rational in that it continues for as long as the institutions enable them to protect and promote their material or sectional interests.
Their support for democracy and its institutions, especially the control and accountability measures, ceases when the exercise of these measures begin to threaten the basis of their economic and political power and dominance. This may explain partly the reason for the various cover up acts and secret cult like attitude of the elected representatives of the people at the national and state levels when it comes to their various acts of corruption, demands and sharing of illegal money. This may also explain in part the present attitude of the Executive who has discovered that the only way to tackle the problem of corruption at this level is to personally intervene and expose them since the various control and accountability measures instituted in the Constitution have been rendered inoperative or impotent by the same people who are expected to make them work. This was what partly informed the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to combat acts of corruption by both public and elected officials of the state by my Administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The 1999 Constitution that we are operating today, though partially amended, provides for the establishment of some institutions to set the ground rules and promote accountability. These include the Offices of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation. We also have the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, the Public Complaints Commission, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Bureau for Public Procurement, the Office of the Ombudsman and several others. With all of these being put in place to ensure checks and balances within the system, little could be achieved. What is starkly and shamefully lacking is compliance.
Let me comment on recent issues concerning corruption and accountability. Three weeks before the first three judges were arrested for corruption, I was talking to a fairly senior retired public officer who put things this way, “The Judiciary is gone, the National Assembly is gone, the military is sunk and the civil service was gone before them; God save Nigeria”. I said a loud Amen. Three weeks later, the process of saving the Judiciary began. And if what I have gathered is anything to go by, there may be not less than two score of judicial officers that may have questions to answer. That will be salutary for the Judiciary and for the Nation.
While one would not feel unconcerned for the method used, one should also ask if there was an alternative. The National Judicial Council, NJC, would not do anything as it was all in-breeding. As now contained in our Constitution, the President of Nigeria cannot influence or make any appointment to the Judiciary at the Court of Appeal or Supreme Court level. He can only transmit the decision of the NJC to the Senate even where Senate confirmation is required. The Constitution which was heavily influenced by the Judiciary ensured that. And yet a drastic disease requires a drastic treatment. When justice is only for sale and can only be purchased by the highest bidder, impunity and anarchy would be the order of the day and no one would be safe.
A drastic action was needed to save the situation, albeit one would have preferred an alternative that would serve the same purpose, if there was one. In the absence of that alternative, we must all thank God for giving the President the wisdom, courage and audacity for giving the security agencies the leeway to act. And where a mistake was made in the action taken, correction must take place with an apology, if necessary. There is virtually no corrupt Judge without being aided by a member of the bar. The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has the responsibility to clean up its own house and help with the cleaning of the Judiciary. It is heartening though that some members of the NBA have recently called for judicial reform. Such reform must be deep, comprehensive and entail constitutional amendments as appointment and disciplines of Judges are concerned. May God continue to imbue the Executive with the necessary wisdom and courage to clean the dirty stable of the Judiciary and the Bar for the progress and the image of our Nation. It must also be said that the good eggs within the Judiciary must be proud of themselves and we must not only be proud of them but also protect them and their integrity.
If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians.
Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of whistle blower is deplorable and undemocratic. What of the so-called constituency projects which is a veritable source of corruption? These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time. Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15 million a month for a Senator and N10 million a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.
Like the Judiciary, the National Assembly cannot clean itself. Look at how re-current budget of the National Assembly with the so-called constituency projects has ballooned since the inception of this democratic dispensation. What were their budgets in the 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015? The revelation was both alarming and scandalous. Once, when I was President, I asked outside auditors, both normal and forensic, to audit the account of the National Assembly, they frustrated it on the basis of separation of power. They claimed they had oversight responsibility for their corruption and misdemeanour and nothing can be done. It is like asking a thief to watch over himself. There must be full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner at all levels.
Budget transparency is a precondition for public participation in budget processes. The combination of budget transparency and public participation in budget processes has the potential to combat corruption, foster public accountability of government agencies and contribute to judicious use of public funds. The National Assembly budget process is not only carried out in opaque and corruptive manner but also in grossly unconstitutional manner. Hence, our lawmakers are lawbreakers. They are the accused, the prosecutor, the defenders and the judge in their own case. Most of them conduct themselves and believe that they are not answerable to anybody. They are blatant in their misbehaviour, cavalier in their misconduct and arrogant in the misuse of parliamentary immunity as a shield against reprisals for their irresponsible acts of malfeasance and/or outright banditry.
We should not continue to live with the impunity and corruption of the National Assembly. Yes, I believe that something can and should be done. The President should ride on the crest of the popularity of what is happening in the Judiciary to set up a highly technical team of incorruptible investigators to look into the so-called constituency projects of the past and the present and bring culprits to book. The President has overall responsibility and accountability for any fund appropriated under his watch. There would be many of such projects and the National Assembly would try to frustrate such necessary investigation. But the project sites are known and magnitude of funds voted for them are known. The investigation will reveal the true situation.
Nigerians will be shocked with what such enquiries would unearth. Measures to be taken should include stopping spurious constituency projects with immediate effect. And if our lawmakers-turned-lawbreakers manage to smuggle any so-called constituency projects into the budget, money should not be released for such scandalous projects. They would, as they tried with me, threaten impeachment. But a clean Judiciary and a cheated Nation should stand with the President. There should be no going back.
By our Constitution, the Revenue Mobilisation, Fiscal and Allocation Commission should be responsible for fixing the remunerations of the Executive and the Legislative arms of the government. Any salary, allowance or perquisite not recommended by the Commission should not be budgeted for; but crooks and crocked that most of the members of the National Assembly are, they will try to find other ways which must be blocked. In the past, they even instructed the Clerk of the National Assembly not to reveal to the Executive details of their remuneration. May God give the President the wisdom, courage and audacity to be able to do with the National Assembly what is being done with the Judiciary. Mr. President must be assured that he will earn the accolade and support of most Nigerians and indeed most friends of Nigeria within and outside Nigeria.
Another means by which the National Assembly embarks on corruption spree is their so-called oversight responsibility. They instigate and collude with Ministries, Departments, Parastatals and Agencies to add to their budget outside what was submitted by the President with the purpose of sharing the addition or they threaten such units to reduce what was submitted by the President unless there is a promise of kickback. They can also set up a spurious committee to investigate a project while they call on the contractor to pay them or the executive officer in charge of the project to cough up money, otherwise they would write a bad report.
The National Assembly stinks and stinks to high heavens. It needs to be purged. With appropriate measures, the budget of the National Assembly can be brought down to less than 50% of what it is today. God will help Nigeria, but we must begin by helping ourselves.
How I wish that the military has not descended into what it has descended to in the last seven or eight years! It is sickening! When the military is corrupt, it affects its fighting ability in many ways. Poor, used and inappropriate equipment and materials are purchased by the military for the military at the expense of the lives of fighting troops in the warfront. In some cases, nothing at all is purchased. How callous, for a General, an Air Marshall or a Naval Admiral to be so cruel and unpatriotic as to buy such inappropriate weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials for men facing the rigour and ruthlessness of an enemy force like the Boko Haram!
It is more damnable for nothing to be bought and yet the money disappeared into their private personal pockets. I can only say to these officers that I am not proud of them, rather I am ashamed of them. Whether they are alive or dead, their family members should also be ashamed of them. And what is more, the blood of those men who died because of their nefarious and sordid acts and actions would be on their hands. I know what it could be to be poorly equipped or starved of essential weapons, ammunition, equipment and materials to fight a war. Surely, God will deal with such offenders and capital sinners, but, in addition, those who have responsibility for dealing with them here on this side of the veil should not fight shy otherwise they become accomplices.
Finally on the military, the procurement system has to be streamlined and taken back to what it used to be. The military is not a buyer of its own weapons, equipment, ammunition and materials. It is only a recommender and a tester of the weapons and equipment that could perform the role and function assigned to it. The procurement is normally by a Committee which includes defence, finance, legislature, foreign affairs and the military only as observer or adviser to ensure quality and standard. With ridiculous statements and claims that insult the intelligence of Nigerians by immediate past leaders in government and their collaborators and accomplices either outside government or still within the corridor of power, all reports must be made public for Nigerians to know the truth and be able to make up their minds about the past and the future. With some shocking revelations and magnitude of stolen money so far reported, it will be absurd and insensitive to extreme for anybody in charge to claim innocence or show no remorse, especially when the Central Bank was prepared and staffed to bankroll the Presidential campaign of 2015. Such action and reaction is height of insults to this Nation and its citizens. That cannot be the right way to go.
It is heart-warming and certainly encouraging that the President has taken the bull by the horn by taking the first right step. He has ordered thorough investigation. But the next step is the immediate and appropriate actions on the reports no matter who is involved, and this requires greater wisdom, courage and cold decision. May God grant the President all the attributes he will need to clean the augean stable of the military. If not done as it should, it will undermine the fight against corruption and the President will not escape the charge of weakness or leniency towards his former constituency, the military.
Apart from the recovery which is most important, selective and symbolic prosecution should be made to serve as permanent deterrence. Otherwise, it will be a game of denial or litigations in future by shameless culprits. As the old saying goes, “Charity begins at home”. The President’s action against offenders in the military should strengthen his hands against offenders in other constituencies, i.e. judicial, political, executive, police, para-military, educational institutions, diplomatic, civil service and parastatals.
The anti-corruption war in the past has landed some Governors in jail while some still have their cases pending in courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. To my surprise, I found out that most State Governments prefer not to always take advantage of funds made available as counterpart fund by Federal Government or what they have access to on the basis of rendering previous accounts. The simple reason is that they do not want to account to the Federal Government for such funds because it will open them up to outside party scrutiny because they don’t want to be transparent and be held accountable. This situation has led to money being available but not being utilised by States in such areas as basic education, UBEC, where the Federal Government provides counterpart funding. UBEC is one example, there are others. Incumbent Governors should be reminded that there will be accountability and judgement after the government house. EFCC and ICPC must buckle up.
If corruption is continued to be fought courageously and relentlessly, there will be substantial recovery from within and from without coupled with plugging the holes of wastes in Ministries, Departments, Educational Institutions and parastatals and we will need less borrowing if we would need borrowing at all, to get us out of recession than we might have thought. Of course, we must be ready to bite the bullet of spending less on luxuries and the unneeded and what we can do without and earning more on production, services and trading. I believe that going for a huge loan under any guise is inadvisable and it will amount to going the line of soft option, which will come to haunt us in future.
We immediately need loans to stabilise our foreign reserve and embark on some infrastructure development but surely not $30 billion over a period of less than three years. That was about the magnitude of cumulative debt of Nigeria which we worked and wiped out ten years ago. Before that debt relief, we were spending almost $3 billion to service our debt annually and the quantum of the debt was not going down. Rather, if we defaulted, we paid penalty which was added on.
The projects listed for borrowing are all necessary in the medium- and long-run for our economy but we have to prioritise. Railway is a necessary service but it is not profit-making anywhere in the world today. We need steady and continuous but manageable funding on the railway project. Mambilla hydro is the same; necessary but it cannot pay itself, especially with the global energy sector of shale revolution, hydrogen fuel and increasingly cheap renewable energy such as solar. OPEC itself has projected that the price of oil will be hovering in the region of $50 per barrel for the next fifteen years or so.
The argument of concessional mixed with commercial does not hold water. When the concessional and the non-concessional borrowings are put together, interests alone will be in the region of 3% to 4%. The bunching of debt service will be a problem to confront other administrations in future. Soft option alone is not the answer, a mixture of soft and hard options is the way to go. Telling us that those projects will pay themselves cannot be the whole truth. We were told there was rainy day when we lavished our reserve and excess crude on frivolities. When we now have the rains beating us, there is no umbrella over our heads.
Again, now we are being told the projects will pay themselves when we know damn well they will not. If we borrow some thirty billion dollars in less than three years, we would have mortgaged the future of Nigeria for well over thirty years to come. There may also be the problem of absorptive capacity which will surely lead to waste. A careful scrutiny of the projects with priotisation and avoidance of waste and taking into account avoiding bunching of debt service in future especially when no one can accurately forecast the global and national economy, will indicate less than thirty per cent of the foreign loan being requested as prudent.
We must not be unmindful of internal borrowing either. It impacts somewhat differently on the economy but it must not be allowed to crowd out the ability of the private sector to borrow to grow the real economy which is to lead us out of the recession.
We must be hard and harsh on those who stay outside, whether they are Nigerians or expatriates, and piece inside our economic house through smuggling, dumping and cheating on duty payment and lying on custom classification. We must make our neighbours realise that encouragement of acts to undermine our economy by allowing their countries to be used a smuggling route and dumping grounds for entries of unwanted commodities into Nigeria will be treated as an act of hostility. We must be ready to close our borders with such neighbours to protect our economy. We must also empower customs to close the shops and factories of cheaters and immigration to deport hostile expatriates within our midst. The act of underpinning and destroying our economy should be regarded as an act of hostility and treated as such.
If we do not fix the economy to relieve the pain and anguish of many Nigerians, the gain in fighting insurgency and corruption will pale into insignificance.
No administration can nor should be comfortable with excruciating pain of debilitating and crushing economy. Businesses are closing, jobs are being lost and people are suffering. I know that President Buhari has always expressed concern for the plight of the common people but that concern must be translated to workable and result-oriented socio-economic policy and programme that will turn the economy round at the shortest time possible. We cannot continue to do the same thing and expect things to change. That will be a miracle which normally doesn’t happen in normal national economies. We have people inside and outside who can be brought together to help device the right economic policy and programme to get us out of the pit before we fall over the precipice into a dark cave. Economy requires a great element of trust to get it out of the doldrums let alone out of negativity. That trust and confidence has to be created.
Coming back to the issue of corruption, there is always need for institution reform to go along with recovery to make gains from fight against corruption last. Such reforms may have to be strengthened by legislation like the military procurement I mentioned earlier. But where the guard is the thief like we have seen in recent times, it makes things difficult, if not impossible.
All in all, everybody must be held accountable. There should be no sacred cow or witch-hunting or untenable excuses to let the camel through the needle eye. Those who must be made accountable must be made accountable with stick and carrot. However, I remain optimistic even though the grounds for optimism keep shrinking. Or, how do you explain having to go into any debate at all whether or not a judge found corrupt should be properly and lawfully dealt with or not? Worse still, how do you explain the situation where people are shamelessly protesting in favour of a person being arraigned in court for corruption offences? Whether those protesters are put to it or they put themselves to it, it is the greatest disservice to the Nation. It is shamefully disgraceful for both the culprit and the protesters. And it is an indication of how much our values have been debased. We cannot be a strong, great and respected nation in the world without political stability and cohesion, strong economy, robust and enduring values.
The Media should be more discerning, sensitive and responsible in reporting and commenting on corruption issues. We should realise that the entrenched interests, internally and externally, in corruption, will not go away. We need to discover and find permanent solution, otherwise some will bend, others will lie low while some others will be dormant; but all of them will spring up later and move on with vengeance as if nothing had happened. That has been our experience in the past. We must put an end to that. Part of sustenance of fight against corruption will be moral rearmament and resurgence of core values of integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, hard work and sense of shame, not impunity and indignity.
We must think and act out of the box to put the monster of corruption and impunity behind us permanently. For some unclear reasons, the government at the centre has not been able (I hope not lack of willingness) to present to the Nation the true position of our economy and our finances. For instance, how much did we receive from major revenue earning and collecting points – petroleum and gas, FIRS, maritime, aviation, VAT, etc. And how much should we have received. If there was any discrepancy, why, how and how much? How was the receipt distributed and how was the Federal allocation spent? Such a clear picture will let Nigerians and their friends know where we are.
It will help people to understand exactly the position of government with true economic and financial situation, and what more pains and sacrifices we have to take and make to get us out of recession. Nigerians must know the truth to work our way out of recession. Easy options will not get us there. Blanket cover or cover-up is no accountability. I was shocked to know that the ECOWAS’ money collected out of 0.5 per cent import surcharge for ECOWAS was spent by Nigeria in the last five years or so. How was that for responsibility and accountability and particularly leadership within ECOWAS?
The blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 by the present administration is uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive. Politics apart, I strongly believe that there is a distinction between the three previous administrations that it would be unfair to lump them all together. I understand President Buhari’s frustration on the state of the economy inherited by him. It was the same reason and situation that brought about cry for change, otherwise there would be no need for change if it was all nice and rosy.
Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed, let us move forward to have progress through a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based. I am sure that such a comprehensive policy and programme will not support borrowing US$30 billion in less than three years. It will give us the short-, medium- and long-term picture.
Adhocry is not the answer but cold, hard headed planning that evinces confidence and trust is the answer. Economy neither obeys orders nor does it work according to wishes. It must be worked upon with all factors considered and most stakeholders involved. The investors, domestic and foreign, are no fools and they know what is going on with the management of the economy including the foreign exchange and they are not amused. The Central Bank must be restored to its independence and integrity. We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism. Short-term may be the enemy of medium- and long-term. We must also make allowance for the lessons that most of us in democratic dispensation have learned and which the present administration seems to be just learning. It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation. When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.
And yet once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts. The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.
There is one aspect of accountability in governance in Nigeria that I consider paramount and which is often overlooked. That is accountability for our unity, cohesion, peace and security. All other issues can be fairly well attended to, addressed and dealt with if our unity, cohesion, peace and security are unassailable. It is normally the responsibility of government to mobilise the citizenry for all hands on deck to ensure good governance and accountability. All men and women of goodwill in Nigeria must be part of the exercise.
The fundamentals to achieving such a situation are justice, fairness, equity, popular participation and equal opportunity. In the last seven to eight years, we have slipped back on these fundamentals. The result is that our country is today more factionised than we were ten years ago. For the purpose of nation-building, it is not a satisfactory situation to be in especially when we need all hands on deck to work and walk our way out of recession. For those at the helm of governance, accountability, for unity, cohesion, peace and security as basis for development, growth and progress is not any less important than accountability for management of resources. It must be seen as the symbol of any political administration and what the welfare and well-being of the people hang on. Accountability in governance is the litmus test of any administration. It is the accountability of institutions which is the hallmark of democracy that promotes both political and economic good governance. Open government must be seen and made to work as partnership in which all have a stake and an interest.
Consistent with the law and policy, government must take appropriate action to disclose information rapidly and timely in form that members of the public can easily access and utilise. With the latest in digital technology, information about government operations and decisions should be readily available online. The public should be solicited for feedback to identify information of greatest and most vital use to the public. When I was President of Nigeria, I adopted regular public discussion on radio and television with questions and answers as one means of achieving this objective. The value of openness in government engagement with citizen to improve services, manage public resources, promote innovation and create safer and more secure communities must be upheld.
There must be ‘disciplined nationalism’ to manage resources, internal or foreign, for maximisation of growth and for the benefit of all. A torrent of money in the hands of weak, corrupt and incompetent government is a disastrous waste for a nation. Nigeria has experienced that in the not-too-distant past.
Apart from the reforms necessary in all arms of government, for the immediate and the future, we must embark on very close x-ray of all people seeking elective offices at any level and all political, judicial and legislative appointees.
The x-raying must be open and transparent and the burden of proof must be that of the person seeking elective office and/or any of the public appointments mentioned.
In the past, we have not done enough background checks and enquiries about the past of people seeking elective offices or being appointed to public offices. The same is the case of people being awarded national honours and awards to the extent that national honour and award have been cheapened and debased. I know an officer who was removed from the Army for embezzling N300,000 of troops’ salary and was given national honour under the last administration.
I dare say also that a situation where a person supposed to be screened by the National Assembly for public appointment is told to give a bow without any screening because he or she had been a member of that Assembly amounts to dereliction of duty on the part of the national body. If people know that their total past will be x-rayed and the burden of proof will be theirs, they will be guarded, careful and more circumspect. Public office is public trust of integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and total good conduct and good behaviour. Therefore, anybody with a question mark should be considered ineligible for elective office or for appointment into public office.
Before I conclude, let me commend all the foot soldiers in the war against corruption – the different panels of enquiries, the ICPC but particularly the EFCC which is now showing that it is a bull dog that can bite. It has, of course, continued to get rid of bad eggs within its rank. We must appeal to the Judiciary not to frustrate the efforts of these soldiers through flimsy technicality and interminable adjournments. Corruption is corruption and it cannot be explained as the proceeds of sale of rice and gari by a judge nor can millions of dollars be explained as medical fee or gifts without identified sources by a public officer or spouse of such a public officer.
The foot soldiers in anti-corruption war must be encouraged to soldier on through commendation and appreciation of their efforts. In the final analysis, we must ensure that by law, review of our Constitution, convention, advocacy and awareness-raising, we stamp out brazenness, impunity and utter irresponsibility in governance and ensure accountability in any arm, ministry, department, parastatal or unit of government.
Let me conclude on a note of optimism with caution. Nigeria has shown great resilience and capacity to bounce back from the edge of the precipice in the past and our people, boldly and courageously, went out to seek greener pasture with remarkable success. Events in the world are showing that the opportunities are diminishing. If we do not get it right in good governance and accountability, the fuze of anger of the citizenry particularly the youth may be getting shorter.
Correction must be made while there is still time. If that correction is timely made, Nigeria has the quantity and quality of resources particularly human resources to make it a great nation to be counted among the comity of nations within two generations as the undisputed leader of Africa and the black race in all ramifications.
May God continue to give us what we need in governance at every level and accountability for now and in future.
Thank you for listening.

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