The Coalition Against Corrupt leaders, CACOL has berated President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate for the ministerial appointment of some of the nominees especially former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State.
This came after the Bukola Saraki-led Senate screening of the ministerial nominees which held in Abuja. After President Buhari had submitted his list, CACOL wrote various petitions to the Senate asking the upper chamber of the Assembly to investigate before some of the nominees are confirmed as minister.
Reacting to the endorsement of some of the nominees, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said he wasn’t surprised at Fashola’s confirmation. He said, since Senate President Saraki was undergoing trial for alleged corruption, there was no way he could have denied a nominee on the grounds of corruption. “Imagine Bukola Saraki who is being tried for corruption sitting in judgment over people of the same character! He has no moral authority to say that anyone is corrupt or fraudulent because his integrity is under trial.”
“So, he will want to tread softly because what goes around comes around and that is what has just played out.” He said Nigeria’s democracy still had a long way to go as some of the senators did not know how to screen nominees. Adeniran wondered why senators asking questions would be praising Fashola during the screening.
Speaking further Adeniran said, “A person who has questions to answer was approved by the Senate. Just look at the spectrum of those doing the approval; look at the screening exercise itself; you will agree that they altogether seemed simulated. It was a premeditated question and answer session. The moment someone that is meant to be screening starts singing the praises of a candidate, the entire exercise becomes nothing but a joke.”
The senator representing Abia–South senatorial district, Eyinnaya Abaribe, had, during the screening, questioned Fashola over the N78m spent on his personal website and N139m on the drilling of two boreholes. Fashola responded by saying he was not in charge of signing cheques or contract award.
However, Adeniran said, the Senator erred by not being thorough. “One would have expected that a follow-up question be asked – as to what his responsibilities were, as the chief executive and chief accounting officer of the state if he would not be answerable to monies spent by his administration for whatever purpose.” He said if Fashola could give such a response, it was unwise for the Senate to see him fit to run a Federal Government ministry. “The fact that Fashola had been endorsed by the Senate did not imply that he was clean. We would recall that all the corrupt ministers that served under the Peoples Democratic Party, for the entire 16 years, were similarly screened and endorsed by the Senate. This is exactly what the late Fela had rightly described as paddy-paddy arrangement. They have had their way but we will continue to have our say. The fact that a person is confirmed by the Senate doesn’t mean he is not corrupt,” he said.
Our overall assessment of the whole show clearly shows that it had remained all motion and no movement. “Come to look at it; the roll-call of the nominees is replete with either cross-carpeters who earlier lost out in the intra-party power play in the past or those who were only brought on board as payback for party-jobs done AND not on the basis of performance record or competence; not even on the antecedence of selfless leaning to the cause of the common man in Nigeria. Infact most of the nominees contributed to the rotten state of affairs in Nigeria in the past 16years. Except for a few fresh hands, Nigerians may not be too optimistic of witnessing the true change they actually yearn for. Will somebody tell me as to what new things to expect from the likes the former chairman of the PDP in person of Chief Audu Ogbe or the ‘gentleman’ Ogbonnaya Onu? By the way, what new innovations are the likes of Kemi Adeosun and Rotimi Amaechi bringing to the table? Debo Adeniran wondered.
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, we dare say, is one individual that cannot add any value or gain to your administration which you have consistently been promising would be focused, proactive, selfless and above all, corrupt-free, given her antecedent while she was Commissioner for finance in Ogun State that has been found to be filled with so many scandalous activities premising on financial mismanagement, questionable and self-beneficial transactions of government businesses, wastefulness, acquisition of questionable wealth, ineptness and of course, graft. Report even has it that Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has been parading a dual citizenship (British/Nigerian); a status that constitutionally disqualifies her from holding such office yet questions on allegations against her was not raised.
President Buhari should have realized that administering a complex entity like ours, with its equally complex challenges and demands, requires far more than sheer party loyalty and patronage; it, infact, goes beyond merely being gentlemanly or uncontroversial. Just as the president had promised, on assumption of office, Nigerians had expected to see a crop of new, fresh, uncontaminated blood, with intimidating credentials of outstanding technocrats and authorities in their various fields, being brought in as co-captains in the ship of governance. Afterall, we once had the likes of Professor Jega, Professor Sagay, a former Minister of Agric in person of Dr. Adesina; Nigerians applauded their appointment and they never disappointed their fans in the discharge of responsibilities assigned to them. And we make bold to say that we still have their likes in abundance in this country. Sadly, what we now have is nothing but sheer recycling of the same old and outdated hands.
Without any doubt, the poor masses of this country must have learnt another hard lesson from the whole drama surrounding the nomination, the ongoing senate screening and the ever predictable ceremonial confirmation of our ministers and so will not allow their expectations in our political class to be too high in the future lest they end up with their blood pressure assuming uncontrollable height.
Finally, now that our ministers are here, we call on President Buhari to waste no further time in hitting the ground running with the change promised and begin to wage his anti-corruption war against the enemies of this country and we want to assure him that we, on this side, and indeed patriotic Nigerians are ever ready to give him all the support needed to succeed in the war. Let the ministers too be aware that all has not ended with their appointment for we will not relent in beaming our searchlight on them and their offices and will not hesitate in calling them to question whenever the need arises.