Weekly political notes
Saraki, Dogara Fault Anti-graft War
Senate President Bukola Saraki and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara on Tuesday faulted the approach to the fight against corruption in the country, while calling for its review.
Speaking at the launching of a book tagged, “Antidotes for corruption: the Nigerian Story,” by Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi) in Abuja, Saraki said the fight against corruption appeared to have favoured punishment over deterrence.
“Talking about antidotes, I am convinced that we must return to that very basic medical axiom that prevention is better than cure.
“Perhaps, the reason our fight against corruption has met with rather limited success is that we appeared to have favoured punishment over deterrence,” he said,
In his speech, Dogara said unless strong institutions were built and strengthened, Nigeria might end up punishing corruption, but not fighting it. There is nothing new in Saraki and Dogara’s narrative. Many have said so before now, but they were ignored. The call for the institutionalisation of the anti-corruption fight is a step in the right direction. This is because, apart from sustaining the fight, it will make it less dramatic, easy and realistic. What informed Saraki’s view may not be unconnected with his experience and the events that have characterised his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)
But the mixed reactions and outrage that have trailed his comment were not unexpected, considering the fact that he is on trial for alleged corruption. But while the emotions and sentiments of those who are opposed to Saraki’s position is understood, that cannot vitiate the import of his position.
However, Saraki and Dogara should have known that the anti-corruption fight could not be easily institutionalised and fought without strong and enabling laws. In line with this, it is expected of the National Assembly to ensure that good laws are enacted to achieve these noble objectives. The irony of the situation is that the money laundering and criminal activities bills that were submitted by the executive to the National Assembly since January 2016 have not been passed. This is despite President Buhari’s recent complaints over the delay.
Reps To Intervene In Emir Sanusi’s Probe
The House of Representatives said on Tuesday that it might intervene in the ongoing probe of the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, by the Kano State House of Assembly.
The state Assembly had on May 10 constituted an 8-member panel to probe Emir Sanusi over alleged abuse of office and improper conduct, among others. The state assembly's action came barely weeks after the state anti-corruption agency launched an investigation into allegations of financial impropriety running into billions of naira leveled against the emir.
But coming under a point of order (personal explanation) at plenary, Rep. Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) drew the attention of the House to the impending crisis that the probe might throw the entire Kano State into, calling on the House to intervene.
Constitutionally, the House of Representatives has no business in Emir Sanusi’s probe, unless some members have vested interests. The probe is entirely state government’s affair, because the state is legally responsible for the appointment of the emir and funding of the emirate.
Although there are concerns in some quarters that the probe is political and might be vindictive, considering Sanusi’s recent comments that seem to have unsettled some elements in the North, but that does not mean that Emir Sanusi should not account or be asked to account for his stewardship so far.
It is expected that as a renowned economist and financial expert, Emir Sanusi will always keep his books open to avoid being caught napping. Besides, Emir Sanusi understands the workings of the emirate and is capable of fighting his fight, having fought many battles before now.
Fayemi’s Two Years As Minister A Waste To Ekiti-Fayose
Governor Ayodele Fayose has challenged his predecessor in office, Dr Kayode Fayemi to tell Ekiti people what he has done with his position as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the last one and half years.
Fayose said his predecessor, as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development was holding the ministerial position in trust for the people of the state, querying that Fayemi had allegedly failed to use the position to influence Ekiti positively.
Fayose wondered why Fayemi, who has been busy touring sites of mineral deposits in other states has refused to help tap the huge mineral potentials of the state. The Governor said this on Wednesday, while interfacing with youths between ages 18 and 22 at the Government House, Ado Ekiti.
It appears the political rivalry and animosity between Fayose and his predecessor is not ending soon. Fayose should know that while he (Fayose) is governor with constitutional powers to execute budget, Fayemi is a minister with the responsibility to serve the country, not Ekiti alone. Besides, Fayemi is not answerable to him, but to President Buhari and the people of Nigeria.
But even at that, Fayemi should remember that charity begins at home, whether he is minister or governor. He should also be mindful of the fact he will one day cease to be a minister, but will remain an indigene of Ekiti state.
Fayose’s renewed attack on Fayemi may not be unconnected with next year’s governorship election in the state, which Fayose and his supporters perceive Fayemi as potential rival. But if that is the case, it means that Fayose may be holding the wrong end of the stick, because attacking Fayemi consistently will not stop him from being re-elected as governor if Ekiti people decide.
Herdsmen Attacking Nigerians Are Foreigners – Minister
The Nigerian government said on Tuesday that most of the herdsmen carrying out attacks across the country are foreigners. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, also stated that the Federal Government plans to stop illegal entry of cattle rearers into the country.
Speaking at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja, Ogbeh said government plans to make a presentation to the Africa Union to bar illegal entry of foreign cattle rearers into Nigeria.
The stance of the Nigerian government is similar to that of Northern governors who have also said that most of the attacking herdsmen are foreigners. From the look of things, it appears the present government is nonchalant, complicit or helpless in tackling the menace of herdsmen across the country. It is quite disheartening that despite several lives lost and property destroyed, the APC-led Federal Government is still singing the same song over herdsmen attack. Is it that the barber lacks skills or the blade is blunt?
Ogbeh, if the killer herdsmen were foreigners as you claimed, what are the Nigerian security agents doing to curtail them? Who issued them visa to enter the country? Who is protecting them from being chased away or brought to book? Across the country, herdsmen attacks are becoming one killing too many and there is urgent need for government’s drastic action against them.
Globally, it is the primary responsibility of every government to protect the life of its citizens. But that has not been the case in Nigeria of today with herdsmen killing innocent people with impunity. This has raised questions on the sincerity, commitment and readiness of the present government to protect its citizens.
Meanwhile, if the Nigerian military personnel can decapacitate Boko Haram insurgents in the Northeast under the present government, what stops government from deploying them on the killer herdsmen? Or is the government protective of or pampering them to become another security monster, before tackling them?
Two Whistle Blowers Docked For Providing False Information
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned the duo of Buhari Fannami and Ba-Kura Abdullahi on two separate one count-charge before Justice M. T Salihu of the Federal High Court Maiduguri, for allegedly giving false information to the agency under the whistle blowing policy.
Fannami had misled the EFCC with information about illegally acquired monies purportedly buried at the residence of one Ba’a Lawan, but the information turned out to be false after the execution of a search warrant.
This development is not surprising, considering that the whistle blowing policy is a mere policy statement without any legal backing. So, unless it is backed by law it will be liable to continuous abuse. Instead of arraigning abusers of the policy in court, it is better for the anti-graft agency, EFCC and the government to work with the National Assembly for quick passage of the whistle blowing bill before it.