Former President of the Court of Appeal and pioneer Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related offences Commission, ICPC, Justice Mustapha Akanbi (retd) yesterday in Ilorin gave the President Goodluck Jonathan administration a hard knock over the manner it has handled the issue of corruption, saying the escalation of graft in all spheres of the nation’s economy is disturbing.
Similarly, a legal luminary based in Ilorin, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali (SAN), criticised the present administration for its stance on corruption, saying: “The President believes that there is no corruption in Nigeria but petty stealing.”
They spoke on a day Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State accused President Jonathan of not releasing the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund because the report allegedly indicted some of his loyalists.
In his address at a public lecture on corruption, with the theme: “The bane of our society” organised by Amicus International Club of Ilorin, Justice Akanbi said people now accept bribes with impunity because nothing is being done about corruption.
Corruption is escalating
His words: “The clouds have thickened, corruption is escalating and we cannot pretend. The Transparency International put us at the position of 136th corrupt nation. You cannot deny it even though it is a perception. Honestly, I do not see what is being done about corruption now.
“Speaking for myself, I ask this question: Does it mean all the governors are corruption-free, does it mean all the legislators are corruption-free; does it mean the judiciary is corruption-free? We know that it is happening but people are not being arrested, no action is being taken and the end result is that people accept bribes with impunity now.
“At least, if they had taken few people to court, we would have known that something is being done. There is a general lull and the fight against corruption has gone down completely. That is why we are gearing up the tempo now so that people can be aware of it.
No gov arrested
”Now, when you look at many people wanting to be governors, is it because they want to serve their people or that they want to go and chop and chop? It is apparent that many of them want to enrich themselves because they know that when you go there you make money and become wealthy, which is the same as going to the legislature. Yet people are suffering, there is no development, there is corruption, kidnapping and the ills of the society have gone on the ascendancy.
“Honestly, look at these governors, how many of them have been arrested? We know about Oduahgate and the billions of naira that Sanusi alleged that was missing. The terrible thing is that the judiciary is not helping. Someone said he was alleged to have taken about N30 billion and he said it was N20 billion but was fined about N750 million by the judiciary.”
President believes there’s no corruption in Nigeria
In his contribution, Mallam Ali noted that as Nigerians “we know that corruption makes all of us poorer in the short and long run. Even for those who are stealing our money, they are poorer; what is the essence of money you have stolen and you cannot display whatever you have acquired with it? You build houses outside of Nigeria; you are not proud to tell people you have built such houses and you buy big cars and keep them as if they are items of antiquity.
He said: “The saddest aspect is that when you take this money out of Nigeria, you are mal-nourishing our economy and nourishing the economies of the countries that are already nourished. It is a no-win situation for those who are corrupt, those who condone it and the rest of us.”
On the current anti corruption crusade of President Jonathan, he said: ”I have said this before, there is no drive against corruption by the current government and that is quite obvious because the President believes that there is no corruption in Nigeria. He believes that what is going on is petty stealing. So if he doesn’t believe there is corruption, you can’t hold him for not driving any anti corruption war. If somebody doesn’t believe there is a problem then he would not be obliged to look for solution.”
Don’t sell your votes
On the forthcoming 2015 general elections, Ali said:”People should know that elections come and go but Nigeria remains. Those of us who are parents should tell our children not to allow themselves to be used as cannon fodders by people who are looking for power. Let us remind our children that the children of politicians will not take part in thuggery at rallies and campaigns. Their own children are safely tucked away in Europe, America and other places, totally out of harm.
“I also tell those of us who are electorate not to sell our votes; when you sell your votes you lose the moral rights to ask how you are governed. Once you sell your vote you cannot ask the people who are elected how they discharge their mandate.”
Why FG’ll not release audit report of missing $20bn crude fund
Still on corruption, Governor Fashola said President Jonathan will not release the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund because he knew the content of the report indicted some of his loyalists.
Similarly, the running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, APC governorship candidate in Lagos, said the People’s Democratic Party, PDP led Federal Government had become a virus to the country and mismanaged every sector of the economy.
They all spoke at a Town Hall meeting with artisans, tradesmen and farmers in the state, in Ikeja.
Fashola said: “Prior to the 2011 election, he (Jonathan) promised to fight corruption in the country regardless of the person involved, but the President has refused to release the audit report of the missing $20 billion crude oil fund. We know that the audit has been completed. The president is shielding the report. He is doing this because he knew the content of the report but he must release the report.
“Even in 2011, the President promised to ensure that the country moved beyond producing and exporting crude oil to exporting refined petroleum products because Nigeria has no reason to import kerosene. But today, we have not moved beyond where we were in 2011.
“In politics, promises are important and that is why no one should make promises one cannot fulfil. And that is why we said that the time for ‘I have no shoe’ is over. This campaign will be on what the present governments have done. And that will help me to defend my record for eight years and I hope that the other party at the centre will have the courage to do so.”
PDP is a virus
On activities of the PDP-led Federal Government under Jonathan’s administration, Fashola said: “PDP is a virus. Every aspect of our national life has been destroyed by this PDP-led central government. We gave the entire country to Jonathan to manage but he has mismanaged it. They have mismanaged every sector of the country’s economy and yet they claim that Nigeria has the best economy in Africa.
“If the Federal Government’s claim on our economy was true, why is power supply yet to improve in Nigeria while smaller countries have gone to stabilise theirs? Why is it that we went to a smaller country to buy arms to fight Boko Haram.
“Even football, they have mismanaged it. The African Nations cup is the biggest showbiz in African soccer. While smaller nations qualified for the tournament, the big country could not qualify. They are like virus. They have destroyed everything they have touched. And yet they vowed to claim Lagos and boost the economy of Lagos if they come to power in 2015 but they could not manage the country for four years. If you allow them, they will destroy the economy of Lagos.
“We have been hosting the sports festival for years. Lagos hosted it within one year and the Federal Government claimed that the event would be hosted yearly but since we hosted the event in 2013, none could be hosted in 2014. It has been postponed.”
No one likes hunger, poverty
Osinbajo added that the poor state of the nation’s economy had plunged many Nigerians into poverty, stressing that there must be a change of government at the federal level to liberate Nigerians from poverty.
He noted that only those who love poverty and want to remain perpetually in hunger would vote for Jonathan in 2015.
Osinbajo said: “No one is ignorant of all that is happening to us in this country. No one likes hunger and poverty but people are hungry. In 2015, only those who love to continue to be hungry would prefer that the government in power at the centre remains there.
“By God’s grace, we would remove them from the seat of power. The people there presently cannot do anything because they don’t know how to. They lack the capacity and capability to govern the country. I pray for the farmers and artisans that the Lord will bless us in the coming year.”
There must be change of govt —Ambode
In the same vein, Ambode said the APC, from the period of Bola Tinubu to Governor Babatunde Fashola had continuously provided good governance to the people of the state, saying if voted into power, his government would not deviate from the principle.
Ambode enjoined Lagosians to vote en-mass for the party during the governorship election as well as for the party’s presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
According to Ambode, “our promise to you as a party is to provide good governance and leadership. We want to take good care of your businesses. If you have been making N1000 profit before, what we want for you is – after providing all the facilities you need for your business— your profit swells to N10,000.
“We know that when you make more profit, you will have more to take care of yourself, your children and your home. We promise not to stress you with our policies. I also want to remind you that no matter what we do, if we do not take over the central government, we may be hindered in a way and may not be able to provide all that we want to provide for you.
“There must be change of government at the Federal level. APC must take over in Abuja. In Lagos, we remember where the former Governor Bola Tinubu started from and how Governor Fashola consolidated on his achievements and raised the bar, that is what we want to continue in Lagos.”