Graft: Ribadu, rights groups, APC back Tambuwal

December 11, 2013 by Niyi Odebode, John Alechenu, Friday Olokor, Ihuoma Chiedozie and Ade Adesomoju 337 Comments

Culled from The PUNCH
Wednesday, |December 11, 2013
The   All Progressives Congress, the Campaign for Democracy, the  Human Rights Agenda Network  and a former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu,  on Tuesday  told President Goodluck Jonathan  to see  the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu  Tambuwal’s criticism of  his administration’s anti-graft war as a wake-up call.

They said the criticism should not be dismissed with a wave of the hand  because  it came from the speaker, who is not only a Peoples Democratic Party member like Jonathan, but  the nation’s number four citizen.

Tambuwal had at an event organised by the Nigerian Bar Association to mark the 2013 International Anti-Corruption Day in Abuja on Monday , said the President’s body language did not show he had the political will to stem graft in the country.

The APC, in a statement  by  its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended Tambuwal  , saying by speaking out on the way the Jonathan government was handling the anti-graft war, he had displayed patriotism and dedication to the nation.

It described the Jonathan administration’s fight against corruption as tepid.

The party said the speaker exhibited a rare leadership trait by shunning partisanship  to  speak out  against the poor manner the Jonathan government was handling glaring corruption cases.

The APC said, “Tambuwal and President Jonathan belong to the same political party(Peoples Democratic Party), but this did not deter  the speaker  from rising above crass partisanship when the issue involved borders on national interest.

“This is the stuff of good leadership.  Tambuwal has shown that he is indeed the Speaker of the House of Representatives and that the entire country is his constituency.”

It noted  that corruption had eaten deeper into the national fabric  since   Jonathan  came to power.

The party  added ‘’We have raised the same issues raised by the Speaker several times in our regular intervention, but the administration has dismissed our concerns on the altar of partisanship.

“However, now that no less a personality than the country’s number four citizen and a top member of the PDP is the one raising the issue, and coming against the background of Nigeria’s slide in the 2013 rankings released recently by the global anti-corruption body Transparency International, we hope the administration will realise that it has only been paying a lip service to the anti-graft battle, and perhaps make amends.”

It said the speaker was totally right in talking about the President’s body language.

According to the APC, this is a reflection of the deceptive actions he (President Jonathan) has taken on serious issues.

The serious corruption cases,  it stated, included the fuel subsidy scam, the pension scam, the fraud involving the excess crude account and Oduahgate .

The APC added, ‘’These are slam dunk corruption cases that should have been handed over to the anti-corruption agencies for summary disposal. Instead, the President – thinking Nigerians will merely scream and forget after some time  engages in his usual distracting method of setting up committees, the report of which he will then put away to gather dust until another corruption case rears its ugly head.”

The party said that Nigerians were not stupid, adding that they understood that President was shielding corrupt people  as long as they were willing and able to contribute funds to his (President’s) campaign slush funds.”

The HRAN, a coalition of over 200 human rights   organisations and activists,  accused  the Jonathan administration of lacking  the commitment to  fight corruption.

In a statement it released to mark the 2013 International Human Rights Day, HRAN    pointed to the failure of the  government  to act on reported scam cases  in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the SURE-P programme as  clear indications that

Jonathan was not  serious about  anti-corruption campaign.

The statement, which was signed by the Chair, Steering Committee of the group,   Mr. Chino Obiagwu, added that corruption and  abuse of office  were the  main causes of   human rights abuses.

“HRAN is concerned that many cases of corruption in the last two years have not been properly dealt with, clearly indicating that the Jonathan administration is not committed to the fight against corruption,”    the statement added.

Also,  Ribadu advised  Jonathan  to accept  Tambuwal’s advice in good faith.

Ribadu said ,”My own and what I will want to add is to talk to President Jonathan directly and say please listen: when people talk, especially serious people, people, who are in strategic positions in our country, when they tell you something take it and improve yourself.

“The message of the speaker is that of Mr. President, wake up, what you have been doing is not going well especially with the fight against corruption. And all that he (speaker) said are nothing new.

“They are all that we as Nigerians are aware of and we see it and we live with it daily. I want to appeal to the President that as our leader, the President of 160million Nigerians, Nigerians are telling him the reality and the truth, especially when it comes to the fight against corruption, let him listen to speaker Aminu Tambuwal.

“What he said is the truth. What he said is what Nigerians believe. What he said is the fundamental thing that today all of us are worried and concerned. . It is not to come out say they are going to fight or they are going to be defensive. It is a matter of telling you for you to correct yourself.”

But  the  Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders and Afenifere   argued that   corruption   in the country  should  not only to the attributed to the Executive, but  to   the Legislative arm of   government.

CACOL , in  a statement   said, “Mr. Speaker should realise that the National Assembly is a part of the whole. It is fair to remind Tambuwal that his allegation has left no arm of the present government vindicated of corrupt practices.

“Had it been the House had played its oversight functions – as stipulated  by constitution – it would not have been that easy for corruption to fester in the country.

“The Speaker lacks the moral ground to either accuse Jonathan of corruption or shift the blame on any other person, because he is also guilty as he had alleged.”

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