The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, and his colleagues in the red chamber of the National Assembly to ask all President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees to declare their assets as one of the preconditions for their confirmation as ministers.
Saddened by revelations of the arrest of the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, by the British authorities and the amount of money that was said to be in her possession, as well as reports that many other government officers have generously helped themselves to the public till, the TUC emphasised the need to verify the financial and material statuses of each nominee before they are allowed to assume such high offices.
In a press statement jointly signed by its President, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and Secretary General, Comrade (Barr.) Musa Lawal, the Congress noted that the time has come for various government ministries to be headed by only persons of ascertained and proven integrity in all ramifications; not “socially insensitive ministers with hearts of stone who will tell us they are answerable to the President and not the Nigerian people. We do not need ministers who are only interested in buying and paying cash for mortgages in choice cities all over the world.”
The workers’ leaders said “although we have waited so long for ministers to be appointed, we are willing to wait a little longer provided we get it right. We are on the same page with other well-meaning Nigerians who feel that the President has already taken too long to form a formidable team, but a few more days should suffice for the Senate and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to investigate the nature, value and locations of declared assets. This is necessary because Nigerians voted for this government because of their yearning for something positively different from the usual.”
The TUC continued, “It is ridiculous how much shame our politicians have brought upon this country. As things stands today, there is rarely any month we do not hear news of Nigerian youths being executed in Asia or some other part of the world due to their involvement in one crime or the other. Of course this would not be the situation if our economy was doing well, if we had steady power and adequate infrastructure in place like in other climes, if our successive governments were interested in creating jobs for the army of unemployed youths. Indeed, in a worst case scenario, we might not be in such sorry state if the stolen monies were re-invested internally instead of being siphoned out to create jobs elsewhere.”
“We are very mindful of the fact that we will be doing the country a great disservice if the Congress, as mouthpiece of Nigerian workers and the masses, fails to call attention of the Senate on this issue, especially in view of the weight of allegations of monumental corruption already levelled against some of the nominees. Nigerians’ hope for true change must not be dashed again by men and women who have thrown their integrity to the wind.”
The Congress charged the Saraki-led Senate to do the needful no matter whose ox is gored, insisting that, in order to ensure thorough screening, the upper legislative chamber must go beyond mere looking at the profiles and other personal documents of nominees.
“We have been so much deceived by very nice profiles of people who turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing and wreaked havoc on the nation’s economy. Thus it is not enough for the nominees to go and dangle lofty curricula vitae containing flawless academic qualifications and multiple public offices they have occupied in the past. Rather we want the Senate to focus on the things that are of greater relevance to the public interest, such as the nominees’ integrity or lack of it, as well as their past records of verifiable performance or otherwise. It must not be business as usual. Let us properly sift the grains from the chaff and separate the sheep from the goats before we trust anyone with ministerial appointments,” stressed the TUC.