Weekly political notes
Ex-Taraba Gov. Nyame Jailed 14 Years For Fraud
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Wednesday ordered the refund of monies diverted by former Taraba State governor, Jolly Nyame, after sentencing him to 14 years in prison.
The former governor was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly diverting N1.64 billion in May 2007.
In a 41-count charge of fraud, the commission accused Nyame of spearheading the fraudulent transfer of funds from the Taraba state’s treasury to a company, Saman Global for the purchase of office equipment and stationeries that were never delivered. He was also accused of fraudulently enriching himself and abusing public trust.
This will be seen by some as a boost to the anti-graft fight of the present administration. But it is very ridiculous of EFCC and the judiciary to have used 11 years to jail Nyame. It shows the lapses and issues with administering of criminal justice system and the failure of anti-graft agencies to carry out proper investigation. That is the reason some people and the lawyers have continued to manipulate the system and judiciary to delay or sometimes compromise judgment
There are many Nyames out there among ex-governors and Nigerians are eagerly waiting for the outcome of their trials. For Nyame, who is also a pastor, this is a disgrace and setback. But it is not over for him, as he has the right to appeal the judgment. Until the appeal reverses his conviction, he remains a convict. But anything is possible.
After all, ex-governor of Adamawa State, Bala James Ngilari, who was convicted for five years for corruption, had his conviction reversed by the Appeal Court. So, who says Nyame may not be set free at last.
I Will Sign ‘Not Too Young To Run Bill’- Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, assured Nigerians that the ‘Not too Young to Run Bill’ will be signed into law in a few days’ time.
The president disclosed this in his Democracy Day speech.
“In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run Bill,” Buhari said.
The bill was passed by the National Assembly last year to alter Sections 65, 106, 131, 177 of the Constitution to reduce the age qualification for president from 40 to 30; governor from 35 to 30; senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives membership from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly membership from 30 to 25.
As good as Buhari’s promise sounds, not many Nigerians believe that signing the bill into law will solve the country’s leadership problems. It is believed in some quarters that age has nothing to do with providing good governance and leadership in office. Superlative performance in public office, especially in Nigeria goes beyond age and qualifications. It is a thing of conscience, capacity, focus and maturity. Nobody can offer what he or she does not have.
So, instead of too much emphasis on “Not Too Young To Run bill,” the agitation or emphasis should be on the dictum “Not Too Young To Perform.” All over the world, performance remains the key parameter to judge or measure public office holders, not age.
Since 1999 till date, younger state governors have not performed better in office than the older ones. Majority of the ex-governors who are facing corruption trials today were younger while in office. The Speaker of House of Representatives in 1999, Salisu Buhari, who forged Toronto University certificate was less than 40 years then.
While, there is urgent need to give Nigerian youths chance to occupy both elective and appointive political positions, the emphasis should be on the capacity to perform and not age alone. Nigerian youths should equally know that political powers are not given on a platter of gold, they are fought for.
Meanwhile, another bill President Buhari and National Assembly should urgently pass into law is that of independent candidacy. It will help to enthrone credible candidates in elections and reduce impunity in parties’ choice of candidates in elections.
Osinbajo Meets Saraki, Kwankwaso, Other nPDP Members
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has met with members of the “new PDP” bloc of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
The meeting, which took place on Monday afternoon held behind closed doors inside the vice president’s Aguda residence.
The nPDP had requested a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari after cataloguing the group’s grievances against the APC-led administration.
It was reported that while Osinbajo led the government delegation, Senate President Bukola Saraki led the nPDP delegation.
Nigerian politicians are the same anyday, anytime. Nothing has shown that they will change. It is always about them and not about the people’s interest. Can Nigerians see the timing of the agitations of the nPDP members? It is all because 2019 elections are drawing closer and Buhari needs their support to win re-election. It is not about the challenges Nigerians have been facing in the last three years or the inability of many to afford three square meals a day. It is not about the country’s development or progress.
The nPDP was there in 2015, to help this government win election. As 2019 draws close, they appear to be losing out in the congresses, where the party’s powers now reside. So it is understandable if they want to now renegotiate their relevance.
National Assembly Members Notorious For Bribe Seeking- Jega
A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has accused members of the National Assembly of seeking bribes to carry out their constitutional duties.
Speaking, while delivering this year’s Democracy Day lecture at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday, Jega said he has spoken to quite a number of chief executives, who complained of high demand for bribes from members of the National Assembly in the name of so called oversight functions.
Oga Jega, there is element of truth in your assertion, but bribe seeking or collection is not peculiar to National Assembly members. It is a common practice among Nigerians, especially public and private office holders. Remember that some INEC personnel, who worked under you during the 2015 elections are being tried at different courts for alleged corruption. Who knows others that have not been fished out by the anti-graft agencies, because they cleverly covered their backs well?
To say that bribe seeking or giving is synonymous with Nigerians in public and private offices is like stating the obvious. That is the reason anti-graft fight has become a hard nut to crack for successive governments. The case of National Assembly is always in the front burner because Nigerians are interested in the affairs of its members. Besides, National Assembly members have not lived up to the expectations of the people they are representing.
Again, since 1999, some National Assembly members have been involved in different scandals that portray the institution in a bad light. If you beam the searchlight at state legislators, it is the same thing.
Alleged N17b Bribe: Okonjo-Iweala Tackles Gbajabiamila
Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has chided Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over claims that the former minister and her aides inserted their own projects into the 2015 budget.
Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, while clarifying the issues on her verified twitter handle on Sunday, said the lawmaker’s claims were inaccurate.
In his reaction to the claim, Gbajabiamila said he was not aware that lawmakers took any bribe.
The lawmaker, who was the Minority Leader in the 7th Assembly, however, said lawmakers had a running battle with Mrs Okonjo-Iweala and her aides over the budget, because they inserted their own projects to the detriment of some lawmakers. He added that the disagreement made lawmakers to demand that many projects be sited in their constituencies too.
The allegations and counter allegations between Okonjo-Iweala and Gbajabiamila on this alleged bribe issue are too weighty and expository. Even though, many believe it is belated and an afterthought.
Why didn’t Okonjo-Iweala disclose it when it happened? Why the disclosure now that it will have no effect? How will Nigerians believe Okonjo-iweala that she and her aides did not insert projects of personal interests in the 2015 budget that prompted National Assembly’s action?
But is Gbajabiamila, who is a lawyer and lawmaker saying that National Assembly’s response to Okonjo-Iweala’s alleged insertion of projects in 2015 budget is justifiable and constitutional? Nigerians will like the duo to be specific in their allegations. While Okonjo should disclose those who collected the bribe, Gbajabiamila should specify the projects Okonjo-Iweala and her aides inserted in the budget.
Fayose Dismisses Ex-Minister’s Defection To APC
Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti says the defection of former Minister of State for Works, Dayo Adeyeye, from the PDP to APC will not affect the party’s fortune.
The governor made the disclosure in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday.
Fayose said Adeyeye’s defection to the All Progressives Congress had merely confirmed his earlier position that he was never a loyal and committed member of the Peoples Democratic Party.
According to him, “I am not bothered by the action taken by the former aspirant in the just concluded PDP governorship primary election in the state. His move to APC will not in any way affect us. This is because majority of those he thought were behind him did not defect with him.
“In fact, one of his two party agents for the last primary is still with us in PDP and you know what that means,” Fayose said.
It is expected of Fayose to be dismissive of Adeyeye’s defection. Such is typical of Nigerian politicians. But Fayose knows in his heart that Adeyeye’s defection is a minus for the PDP ahead of the election. It is known that Adeyeye was among the PDP bigwigs in the state that made Fayose’s victory in 2014 possible. Fayose cannot deny this.
One major task before Fayose ahead of the election is to work extra hard, including stooping to conquer in order to avert more defections from the PDP. These fears and concerns are genuine and it could be PDP’s albatross in the election. This is in view of the fact that the federal might and financial strength that facilitated Fayose’s election in 2014 is now at the disposal of the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Meanwhile, Adeyeye’s action depicts desperation and lack of morals, an attitude that is common among Nigerian politicians.
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