10042019 - Politicians, traditional rulers aiding bandits — DEFENCE MINISTER

vanguardnewspaper

40 Vanguard, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 2019

In the last two weeks I have

identified areas requiring

amendments to the law to

strengthen the electoral process

and aid the election of

transformational leaders. Specifically

last week, I advocated

an adoption of electronic

means of transmission of election

results by INEC to forestall

the growing incidents of

attacks on electoral officials

and also changes to the law

to mandate the determination

of pre-election matters well

before the conduct of the elections

themselves. Two events

have since further brought

home the need for these

changes. The first was the

admission of INEC itself during

the week that it has increasingly

come under attack

by hoodlums desirous of

snatching or destroying results

sheets so as to stop

collation, while the second relates

to two judgements delivered

by the High Court of the

Federal Capital Territory and

the Court of Appeal regarding

validity of the nomination of

the candidate of the Peoples

Democratic Party at the gubernatorial

election in Osun

State. That issues touching on

the nomination of the candidate

are yet to be fully resolved,

months after the conduct

of the election is indeed

worrying. This week I will discuss

further specific areas that

require attention if Nigeria is

to elect transformational leaders.

Full restructuring:

A necessity for the emergence

of nation Nigeria

The founding fathers agreed

on a true federalism in Lacanster

House in London between

1950 and 1960 having taken into

consideration the differences in

culture, religion, philosophy of

life, attitude to work, languages

and so on. One who believes

that his father is a fool would

sooner than later regret his own

foolishness. There is urgent

need for total devolution of powers

to enable each state or geopolitical

zone to effectively administer

its resources and social

political needs. The Federal

Government should only be

concerned with management of

common political affairs like

currency, foreign affairs, etc.

There will be less crisis and

quarrel or inordinate ambition

to become President, Minister

or Legislator. As a matter of fact,

the late Sardauna found regional

premiership more prestigious

than being the Federal

Prime Minister.

Qualification and remuneration

for Political Officer holders

Political Offices in this country

have been made too attractive,

each state spends a huge

percentage of government revenue

on salaries and allowances.

Yet there are 36 Houses of

Assembly, two national Legislative

Houses, array of Commissioners

and Ministers. In addition,

they maintain a large

number of aides and assistants

at public expense. There are

also large number of Senior

Special Assistants, Private Secretaries.

There is also the First

Lady and an array of assistants.

At the local government level,

we have the Chairmen and

INEC under 1999 Constitution:

Amend INEC law to permit

electronic transmission of

results (3)

large number of officers. Politics

in Nigeria today is viewed

primarily as a business and not

as a means of service to the nation.

In the First Republic masterminded

by Chief Awolowo,

members of House of Assembly

did not earn salaries but sitting

allowances. More importantly,

legislative business was parttime.

Furthermore, there has to be

a change to the qualifications

for seeking political office. Rather

than have a minimum educational

qualification of Senior

Secondary School or WAEC, it

should be a first degree with a

minimum of second class lower.

Such person must also be selfemployed

or have viable means

of self sustenance prior to

seeking political office. They

must also have held positions

of responsibilities. The position

of local government councillors

should be reserved for retired

and much experienced people

like teachers, professors, other

professionals and clergymen,

also on part-time, with payment

of sitting allowances only.

Events continue to

show that there is a

need for an urgent

re-appraisal of the

current two terms of

four-year term for

President and Governors

of the states

The desirability of single sixyear

tenures for the office of

the President and Governors

The Constitution of the Federal

Republic of Nigeria 1999

(as Amended) limits the period

which any individual can serve

as President of the Federal Republic

of Nigeria to two terms

of four years each.

It is not in dispute that the just

concluded elections at the State

and Federal levels generated

immense interest and palpable

tension in the country and consumed

unimaginable amount of

Naira and Dollar. Many

governors right from the date

of their swearing-in began

planning for their re-election.

As the period for selection of

candidates by political parties

as stipulated by the Electoral

Act drew nearer activities in several

states came to a halt as

many state functionaries, including

commissioners and

ministers at the Federal level

became engrossed with issues

pertaining to the elections.

Members of the National Assembly

were at a point all busy

in their respective constituencies

scheming to retain the

tickets of their parties forgetting

their constitutional duties of

law making. The result is that

important matters which require

attention are always left

unattended to.

Thus ministers who should

daily supervise the implementation

of important government

policies were busy running

campaigns. As a matter of fact,

contractors and judgment

debtors, including millions of

dollars due to my clients, were

not paid even though payment

had been approved by the

Senate.

During his first media chat,

former President Goodluck

Jonathan proposed a single

term of six years on the

grounds that re-election activities

cause a lot of unnecessary

distraction. In his words:

“Every four years you conduct

elections, you create so much

tension in the political

environment. As we are talking,

some people are busy

holding meetings for the 2015

elections. It creates series of

confusion in the political environment.

I am not saying that

single tenure, alone, will bring

100 per cent stability. There is

no political system that is 100

per cent stable, you must have

some tension. That was why I

came up with that.”

Whilst the comments of the

former President attracted a lot

of debate with some attributing

it to a desire for tenure

elongation, events continue to

show that there is a need for

an urgent re-appraisal of the

current two terms of four-year

term for President and Governors

of the states. I therefore

believe that the two-term limits

provided in the Constitution

need urgent reappraisal.

According to French political

thinker Alexis de Tocqueville:

“The desire to be re-elected is

the chief aim of the President;

that the whole policy of his administration,

and even his most

indifferent measures, tend to

this object.”

A single six-year term will

certainly pave way for the

emergence of transformational

leadership. In Nigeria, the

preparation for second term

has made our election campaign

a do-or-die affair with

tragic consequence, including

assaults and killings, burning

of electoral materials, thuggery,

malpractices, bribery and corruption

etc.

To be continued.

INEC fixes Nov 2 for gov

elections in Kogi, Bayelsa

By Omeiza Ajayi

ABUJATHE Independ

ent National Electoral

Commission, INEC, has

fixed November 2, for the

conduct of governorship elections

in Kogi and Bayelsa

states.

The announcement was

contained in a statement yesterday,

in Abuja by INEC

National Commissioner in

charge of Information and

Voter Education, Mr. Festus

Okoye.

He said, “The Commission

at its meeting held on Tuesday

approved the timetable

and schedule of activities for

the governorship elections in

Kogi and Bayelsa states

which will hold in both states

on November 2, 2019.”

He added that the official

notice for both elections

would be issued on August 1,

2019, while political parties

that intend to sponsor candidates

are to hold their primaries

for the nomination of

such candidates from August

2 to 29, 2019.

Campaigns by the political

parties in public shall commence

on August 2, 2019 and

end October 31, 2019.

The parties sponsoring candidates

are required to submit

the list of their agents not

later than October 2, 2019.

“The stated timelines are in

line with the provisions of the

1999 Constitution (as amended)

and the Electoral Act

2010 (as amended). All stakeholders

are urged to take

cognizance of and adhere

strictly to them,” said INEC.

The Commission also approved

a proposal to conduct

an extensive review and debriefing

on the 2019 general

election, in line with its existing

practice.

Okoye said this was intended

to evaluate the Commission’s

performance of the key

activities of the general election,

with a view to addressing

identified challenges and

strengthening operational

and institutional capacities to

conduct free, fair, credible

and peaceful elections.

Auditor-General’s Office lacks

manpower to audit Senate

By Henry Umoru National Assembly since 1999.

But Senator Urhoghide said,

ABUJATHE

Senate,

yesterday, took a swipe at

the office of the Auditor- General

of the Federation, AuGF,

saying that it lacked manpower

to carry out its statutory

function of auditing ministries,

departments and agencies of

government.

Responding to AuGF, Anthony

Ayine, who accused the

National Assembly of not concluding

work on audit reports

submitted by his office to the

parliament since 1999, Chairman,

Senate Committee on

Public Accounts, Senator Matthew

Urhoghide ,PDP Edo

South, also accused the AuGF

of using reports of external

auditors to write reports.

Fielding questions from Journalists

yesterday, in Abuja, at

the ongoing orientation programme

for Senators-elect/

members-elect of the 9th National

Assembly, Senator

Urhoghide also accused Atine

of failing to query the use of

one particular external Auditor

by the agency for more than

10 years.

Ayine, had last week during

his presentation to the lawmakers-elect,

urged them to

as a matter of urgency, take

steps to clear the mounting

backlog of audit reports that

were submitted them, nothing

that to the best of his knowledge,

there was no Auditor-

General’s report that had

been fully considered by the

“The much I know since I became

the Chairman, Senate

Committee on Public Accounts,

about a year and half

ago, is what I can say. When

the Auditor General came for

his budget defence, I told him

that the fact that we have not

conducted hearing on his queries

does not mean that he

should not bring audit reports.

We have not received audited

report for 2016. The Auditor

General resumed office in

2017.

“Since he came, he has not

submitted any audit report to

the National Assembly. He is

even supposed to be concluding

works on 2018, because

the law says that it must be

submitted, six months into the

new financial year. This is the

fourth month. By the time we

get to June end, he is expected

to submit audited report for

2018. He doesn’t have the

competent manpower to conduct

audit.

“Our committee was not set up

to consider audit report alone.

We have a lot of motions that we

moved, we have submitted reports

on status enquiries of those

whose audited accounts have

been submitted. We investigated

and submitted reports on the

subsidy issue, the $1bn eurobond

issue, withdrawals made

from the Service Wide Vote from

2012 till date. If we have audit

reports from 2015 till date, we

would be able to establish a pattern."

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