Thursday, November 27, 2014 12:15 am
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, made it a double-barrel attack today, accusing many members of the National Assembly as looters and thieves and also criticising the Jonathan administration for a lot of inadequacies, such as the handling of corruption and the Boko Haram insurgency.
Obasanjo who gave a below average mark for the Jonathan presidency a few days ago, continued his diatribe at a book Launch in honour of the pioneer chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Mustapha Akanbi, in Abuja.
On Boko Haram,he remarked that it took Jonathan a long time to undermine the menace, adding that Boko Haram is not out to “frustrate anyone’s political efforts”.
He also disparaged President Jonathan’s anti-corruption campaign, accusing his government of encouraging some brigandage at the National Assembly to cover up executive misdeeds.
He accused the President Goodluck Jonathan-led executive of making direct payments to the legislature in order to cover up its wrong doings.
“Apart from shrouding the remunerations of the National Assembly in opaqueness and without transparency, they indulge in extorting money from departments, contractors and ministries in two ways.
“They do so during visits to their projects and programmes and in the process of budget approval when they build up budgets for ministries and departments, who agree to give it back to them in contracts that they do not execute. They do similar things during their inquiries.”
Obasanjo said the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration has taken Nigeria’s corruption to a new height through the huge sums of money it has been paying to the National Assembly to stop investigating its corrupt acts.
“Corruption in the National Assembly also includes what they call constituency projects which they give to their agents to execute but invariably, full payment is made with little or no job done.
“In all this, if the executive is not absolutely above board, the offending members of the National Assembly resort to subtle or open threat, intimidation and blackmail. When the executive pay the huge money, normally in millions of dollars, all is quiet in form of whitewashed reports that fail to deal effectively with the issues investigated.”
The former president insisted that over the years, the National Assembly never singled out any corrupt lawmaker except where the executive led in the indictment of a member.
He listed some of the cases where the executive led in exposing corruption in the National Assembly to include those of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari, and former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara.
He maintained that majority of the members of the National Assembly live above the law in both misconduct and corruption and cannot in good conscience carry out oversight duties on any government ministry or department.
Although he acknowledged the existence of some distinguished men and women in the National Assembly, who would not do anything to soil their hands, he laid bare his concern about the rot in the legislature: with a largely corrupt legislature, Nigeria is doomed.
“When the guard is the thief, only God can keep the house safe and secure,” he said. “But I am optimistic that sooner than later, we will overcome.
“God will give us guards of integrity and honesty with the fear of God and genuine love of their people and their country.
“Today, there is no institution of government that is not riddled with corruption, not even the military. As the people cry out, where then is the salvation.”
Said Obasanjo: “when the head is rotten, the whole body is useless”
Obasanjo urged President Jonathan to stop encouraging ‘verbal violence which may not physically hurt but has ways of degenerating into physical violence’.
According to the former leader, the greatest indictment against any administration is to be seen trying to destroy opposition of all sorts which invariably mean destroying democracy.
“Management of democracy without resorting to brute force and dictatorial tendencies must be cultivated,” the former President said. As a leader, you must not deliberately do evil or condone evil. You should know that you will one day give account to God, you may cover up here, but before God, there is no cover up.”
On the economy, he said Nigeria would continue to sink deeper and that what Nigerians are told about the state of the economy “is not truly what the economy is”.
“The economy is in doldrums, if not in reverse,” he said.
*Condensed from reports by premiumtimesng.com