THIRTEEN PERCENT DERIVATION FUND: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS
The principle of derivation as encapsulated under the proviso to Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. It is geared towards providing recompense to the producers of any natural resources for the expropriation and sequestration of their rights to control and manage same, by the Nigerian State.
The percentage of revenue paid to the oil-producing states from the oil that is produced from their areas has been a matter of contention since oil was first discovered in Nigeria. The 1999 constitution provides that at least 13 percent of the revenue derived from natural resources should be paid to the states where it is produced, though there have been substantial delays in calculating and paying these sums. The federal government only began making payments in accordance with the increased allocation in January 2000, although they fell due from June 1999, and in practice has never paid the 13 percent minimum. Nonetheless, allocations from the federal government to the oil-producing states have increased markedly since 1999, rising to 25 percent of the amount paid out to states from the “federation account” in 2001 (the equivalent of just over U.S.$1 billion), from 12 percent in the second half of 1999 (or approximately $120 million). The main oil producing states – Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers – have about 10 percent of the population of Nigeria. These payments have not satisfied residents of oil-producing areas who feel they still do not receive adequate benefits from the oil. Individuals and groups from across the political spectrum in what is known as the “south-south” zone of Nigeria have demanded that the oil producing states assume “full control” over their natural resources, and pay tax from those revenues to the federal government. They also demand the repeal of a number of laws that give control over land and mineral resources to the federal government.
Despite claims of neglect and abandonment, investigation has revealed that governments of oil-producing states in Nigeria had over the years, failed to utilize the resources provided them to develop their states and the region. Data obtained from a series of reports from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, revealed that oil-producing states in Nigeria received N7.006 trillion as payments under the 13 per cent Derivation principle over the last 18 years, from 1999 to 2016.
The oil producing states are Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Abia, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, and of recent, Lagos State. Analysis of the payments showed that from 1999 to 2003, N360.4 billion was paid to oil-producing states; N1.338 trillion were paid to the states between from 2004 and 2007; 2008 to 2011 saw the states receiving N2.36 trillion, while from 2012 to 2016, the states received N2.947 trillion. Ironically, the 2017 budget of all the states, inclusive of Lagos, stood at N3.165 trillion, about half of the amount received by the states from the Federation Account under the 13 per cent derivation principle.
The huge sum notwithstanding, the Niger Delta region is still suffering from massive infrastructure decay, widespread poverty and environmental degradation, among numerous others. The 13 per cent derivation fund has been a subject of controversy between the oil-producing communities and their various states government, with the former asking the Federal Government to stop paying the money directly to the communities and not into the coffers of the state.
The federal government has announced on several occasions the priority it gives to development in the Niger Delta, including by establishing a Niger Delta Development Commission. But the announcements have not led to significant improvements on the ground. In particular, little of the money paid by the federal government to state and local governments from the oil revenue is actually spent on genuine development projects: there appears to be virtually no control or proper audit over spending by state and local authorities-despite the federal government’s creation of an Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) with the mandate to investigate such wrongdoing
Recently, the revelation of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that President Muhammadu Buhari approved and paid the arrears of the 13% derivation fund to Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Akwa Ibom states came like a bombshell. Wike spoke on the arrears during the inauguration of the N17billion Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School. The governor said President Buhari’s gesture was the major source of revenue for his projects, including the flyovers, the law school and the cancer centre. He was quoted as saying: “Monies that were not paid to the Niger Delta states since 1999 mainly 13 per cent deductions, the President approved and paid all of us in Niger Delta states.” Wike repeated his comments at two other events afterwards.
Wike’s revelation has raised another series of questions such as what have the other governors who received a similar windfall been doing with their own? How much was received by each state? And did they just receive it and keep quiet? How will they expend it? Or will they just walk away with it or utilize it as campaign funds in an electioneering period like this or use it for other extraneous purposes that are not related to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state who are supposed to be the major beneficiaries? Another important question that comes to mind is how such conspiracy of silence was possible in a democracy and where there are a plethora of checks and balances put in place which is expected to put people in the know.
We at CACOL, would like to know the exact amount collected by each of the states involved, how the money was spent or is being spent. We would also use this medium to call on the anti-corruption agencies to investigate the governors of the states concerned including Rivers, so as to be sure that the quantity and quality of the projects executed is commensurate with the money collected.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the activities of some committees of the National Assembly alleged to be passing budgets for ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government illegally.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the organization’s Director of Administration and programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he remarked, “It would be recalled that President Buhari, while laying the 2023 Appropriation Bill before a joint session of the National Assembly on October 7, 2022, slammed committees of the parliament who were bypassing him and approving budgets for government-owned enterprises without his approval.”
It is instructive to note that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts has confirmed the allegation by the President, Buhari, that some committees of the National Assembly are passing budgets for ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government illegally.
The Punch newspaper reported that the committee, after making the discovery, wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and the Clerk to the National Assembly, Amos Ojo, to confirm if Buhari actually transmitted the MDAs’ budget to the parliament or not.
The action of these dishonourable legislators is not only an affront to the president but one illegality too great being committed against Nigeria and Nigerians.
Going by the principle of separation of powers, the legislators ought to know their limits when it comes to budgetary processes of the government and its MDAs. The President is expected to transmit budgetary proposals of MDAs to the National Assembly, while the clerk transmits passed budgets to the Presidency for implementation.
We at CACOL would like to use this medium to condemn the action of these legislators and call on the Senate and the House of Representatives’ Committees on Public Accounts to investigate the Chairmen of the committees involved in this illegality and report them to anti-graft agencies for appropriate prosecution and sanctions.
The country is currently grappling with so many challenges most of which are man-made and corruption is at the root of most of the country’s woes. Hence, this illegal action of these committee Chairmen must not be condoned and the allegations against them must not be thrown under the carpet. Members of the public should be put in the know regarding the outcome of investigation into the case and those found culpable should be made to face the full wrath of the law so as to serve as deterrent to others.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the move by the House of Representative to investigate the alleged failure of the Nigeria Police Force to account for firearms totalling 178,459 as of January 2020.
In a release, issued by the Director of Administration and Programmes of the anti-graft organization, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran, noted, “It would be recalled that The House of Representatives has mandated its Ad hoc Committee on Arms to investigate alleged 178,459 arms reported to be missing by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu”.
According to the 2019 audit report, the arms which include AK-47 rifles and other assorted rifles and pistols from different Police formations nationwide could not be accounted for by the Nigeria Police. The House resolved to probe the missing arms following a motion moved by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), on Thursday, during plenary. Leading the debate, Mr Okechukwu lamented the poor record-keeping of the police on arms and ammunition. He said the missing arms could be connected with the spike in insecurity across the country.
Speaking in support of the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase (APC, Plateau), said the investigation will reveal a lot. He, however, argued that there is no need to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the matter, rather an existing committee investigating arms should be charged with the probe. Consequently, the committee investigating arms procurement chaired by Abubakar Fulata (APC, Jigawa), was charged with the investigation.
The Chairman of CACOL opined that “It is very unfortunate that the Nigeria Police Force has become a shadow of its former self as a result of maladministration of various funds budgeted for firearms, welfare, logistics and capacity building of the rank and file of the force over the years but which vanished into thin air This is a classic example of how much damage corruption and mismanagement of scarce resources have caused us as a nation and has made law enforcement a herculean task for the Force.”.
The issue of alleged missing firearms is just a tip of the iceberg, considering the monumental misappropriation going on in the circle of those saddled with the responsibility of carrying out various procurements for the Force. It is a known fact that the Police Force has been permanently incapacitated, disabled and rendered helpless majorly by the non-availability of firearms and the use of superior firearms by various enemies of the State which has deprived the Police of carrying out its primary duty of maintaining law and order within the country and also made the use of the Armed Forces inevitable even for internal security.
Concluding, Mr. Adeniran commended the House of Representative’s effort geared towards unraveling the whereabouts of the missing firearms and urged the Committee Members to carry out their duties without fear or favour and those found wanton should be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Comments Off on THE IMPERATIVENESS OF RECONSIDERING THE REJECTED ELECTORAL BILL AND THE NEED FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION TO REDUCE CORRUPTION IN THE AGENDA OF POLITICAL PARTIES: A CASE FOR DIRECT PRIMARY AND ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS IN THE NEW ELECTORAL LAW.
THE IMPERATIVENESS OF RECONSIDERING THE REJECTED ELECTORAL BILL AND THE NEED FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION TO REDUCE CORRUPTION IN THE AGENDA OF POLITICAL PARTIES: A CASE FOR DIRECT PRIMARY AND ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF RESULTS IN THE NEW ELECTORAL LAW.
Gentlemen of the Press, you’re welcome to today’s Press briefing.
It is no longer news that the President has refused accents to the amended electoral bill that was passed by the national assembly since November 9, 2021. It is unfathomable that the presidents knowing that he is not likely to assent to the bill delayed it for that length of time without giving a hint that he was not likely to assent to the bill. He didn’t need to wait for that length of time before letting the public know that the bill will not be assented to by him. If he had given a hint, a lot of consultations and further clarifications would have been made to him by the sponsors of the bill and concerned public during the grace period that he had to assent to the passed bill unfortunately he didn’t do that and that is not a good democratic practice.
We are all aware of what led to the need to amend the existing electoral law. Several shortcomings have been identified, the most prominent ones are the issues of modes of how party primaries should be held and transmission of electoral results these two items have generated a lot of debate. Not many people gave consideration to the security implication that the president cited as one of the reasons he didn’t assent to the bill. Those who raised the question of funding were convinced that the proponents of direct primary system that each party should have perfected his own strategy to carry out that exercise while the INEC have assured Nigerian public of its readiness to ensure that electronic transmission of electoral results works effectively. We believe that the president ought not to take the words off those who are directly concerned about the issues arising on those plans. He would have left the parties to determine how they hold their own direct primary elections because every member is expected to be as important as the other. We don’t believe that hand-picked delegates should impose their will on the generality of membership of a political party. That the principle of equality of membership should hold sway at the level of political parties.
It is unnecessary for the president to take it upon himself to canvass on behalf of smaller parties knowing fully well that by virtue of the law that guides formation and registration of political parties in Nigeria, no political party is expected to be small as far as the existing law is concerned.
As far as human beings and political party structures exist in all parts of Nigeria and the elections have been holding at different times during the same period when the security challenges were identified, it should not be the sole concerned of the President to act on behalf of the legislators who are direct representatives of people of those regions. If the legislators of people of those regions deem it fit that direct primary will hold then it is not for the president to take over the function of the House of Representative members that represents the federal constituencies in those areas and the Senator who is representing the senatorial district of those areas. They ought to have brought it up if it was a serious concern during the debate on the bill and trashed it out before they agreed to pass the bill. So it is out of place for the president to begin to canvass on that premise. We believe the President could have been differently convinced by opponents of the bill to withhold his assent and it is our hope that the national assembly will take the alternative option of getting the bill passed whether the President like it or not.
Notwithstanding the above, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership had been nursing its own misgivings about the bill when it was being processed, we knew that our views were not being properly represented in the bill, but we believe that half loaf is better than none at all, that as long as the bill was passed inclusive of the issue of direct primary and electronic transmission of electoral results we could raise other arguments for the further amendment of the bill in its future. Ordinarily, CACOL would have canvased that the bill should not be passed as it was, this is because of some of the ingredients of true democracy that we observed are lacking in the Act as it were:
1.) Is lack of political ideological direction by virtually all the political parties that have been registered.
2.) is the bogus requirements by the INEC that all registrable political parties should have offices in all parts of the country
3.) Lack of anti-corruption agenda in virtually all aspects of the manifestos that have been presented by all the registered political parties.
4.) Inadequate and nebulous social inclusion agenda in virtually all the political parties.
5.) This is apart from the generally accepted weakness of sanctions for those who violate electoral law. We also know that the electoral law provided upper ceiling for how much individual contestants and their political parties can spend on their campaigns but there is no serious monitoring mechanism, sanctions and machinery for imposing the sanctions contained in the existing electoral law.
Some of these inadequacies will be further addressed in this briefing.
Ideological leanings: Part of the gaps is that the new law as passed by the national assembly does not make ideological leanings compulsory for all political parties. That means setting up and registration of political parties are amorphous without any concrete bases upon which the citizenry would pitch their interest vis-a-vis their hope for a better country.
There ought to be ideological leanings for all political parties so that whoever is voting knows the kind of government that will be formed at the end of the election. So we are thinking about if it is going to be left leaning, it should be fully left leaning, if it is going to be socialist it should be socialist, if it’s going to be welfarist it should be clearly spelt out how things will be done. If it’s going to be fully capitalist, it should be fully capitalist. People should not be left groping in the dark.
We know the principle of socialism where everybody contributes to the pool according to his ability and everybody draws from the pool according to his needs. If it is going to be welfarist it should be clearly spelt out that the welfare of the citizenry would be paramount in the minds of whichever government is formed after the election and that nobody will be left without basic needs including jobs, education, health care, accommodation, etc and the capacity to engage in trade or any form of business and establishment of business outlet should not be in doubt. If it’s going to be capitalist, let us know the extent of capitalism that the party wants to practice. Are they going to liberalize the supply of oil? Are they going to commercialize energy, power, water and other amenities like this? If at all they will commercialize, they should let us know to whom? Is it to the private sector or to individuals? Are they going to leave the oil rigs in the hands of well-connected individuals and companies? What will be the policies on local content of everything that is being done in the economy? Are we going to keep importing all our needs without manufacturing anything locally? Are we going to be a raw material producing country forever?
The amended bill does not make any provision for anti-corruption safeguards and social inclusion. What we expected is that the new amended law would include safeguards that will make it compulsory for political parties to ensure that anti-corruption agenda will be prioritized. An anti-corruption policy has to be clearly stated on how the party feel that anti-corruption war should be fought and if they form government how they are going to wage the war against corruption, for example, the fight against corruption should not be a fire brigade approach, political parties should have pre-stated it that if we win election, anybody found guilty of corruption crime that is up to a particular amount of money, this is the kind of recommendation that will be made to the judiciary. If it’s going to be life imprisonment or death penalty or total suspension from participating in politics or holding political office, it should be clearly stated, so that anybody that is voting for that political party knows how good they are going to deal with the issues of corruption once they are voted into power.
Then there should be a policy on religion, parties should be allowed to state clearly if they are religious party or ethnic party so there should be policies on religion, ethnicity and the likes. But if a party is neutral then religious consideration should not be brought into it and whenever they want to state their manifesto they should make it clear that religious and ethnic leanings will not be given any pride of place. And the case that we don’t want Christian/Christian, Muslim/Muslim ticket will not arise in any political party. We believe that merit should be the target, there are several States where you have Muslim/Muslim ticket even when they have other religions and they are still surviving so why won’t they allow that to happen at the national level.
We believe that political parties that have similar ideological and political leanings should be made to pull together and all political parties don’t have to have what they call national outlook. If a political party decides that it has only the capacity to operate in just one local government, they should allow him register to run in the local government. If it is a state, he should be allowed to run in the state, if it is in just a region or a section of the country it should be allowed to run in that region or section of the country without any harassment and they should make it clear in their manifestos and programs. During campaigns, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to monitor their campaign and campaign materials so that it will not go out of what is contain in their manifestos. Whatever they say should be in accordance with what has been documented in their manifestos that will be submitted to INEC. And necessarily there should be a law that will make it compulsory that they should stay within the limits of the ideologies they have avouched so that people will not be disappointed at the end of the day.
We also expected that every political party should state clearly its policies on power, technology, trade and commerce, economy, military, police, foreign policy, education, food, work, and all other aspects of our national life. Their monetary/financial policies should state clearly if individuals will be allowed to accumulate as much material wealth that are possible without control or if there will be certain level of control or upper ceiling for how much material wealth individuals can accumulate for himself. The same should apply to corporate entities. Then how they are going to implement the existing laws on money laundering, currency trafficking, human trafficking, drug trafficking, etc. all these should be clearly stated.
The cost of politicking should also be clearly stated. The law should develop a scheme by which political spending will be monitored and anybody that violates the laws and regulations should be sanctioned accordingly. If it has been stated that the president should not spend more than 20 billion naira for his campaign a machinery should be set in motion to monitor his spending anytime he crosses the bar somebody will raise a red flag and that will count against the candidate or the party at the end of the day where the party may lose nomination or election.
The monetization of the polity should also be given prominent place by the new electoral law anybody that is found to be bribing voters and officials either before, during or after elections would be sanctioned in a particular way so that at the end of the day we will know that there is full level playing ground.
The law should also be realistic about whatever is specified as minimum spending for political parties and candidates during election giving consideration to the size and population of Nigeria and if need be campaign should be restricted to news media – print and electronics and maybe social media but if physical campaign should be launched it should also be specified that it may not be outside the state capital so that smaller parties should be able to have their way wherever they have the capacity.
Nigeria as a country should develop its own national ideological leaning that will put upper ceiling on how much an individual can accumulate. Once it is streamlined, then the propensity to commit electoral fraud or corruption will be reduced to the barest minimum and getting to office at all cost will also be reduced since every citizen will have upper ceiling of how much they can accumulate which would have been prestated.
Any political party that is coming into office should determine how it is going to do it and as soon as a new government is formed it will be based on the ideological learning of the political party.
We have observed that in recent time, the idea of political party’s candidate selection process enjoys unrivalled eminence in political discourses and analyses in Nigeria. However, party primaries and conventions are mere platforms of voice affirmation of elite’s consensus, which most times renders candidate selection process less credible. The process through which candidates emerge is often fraught with controversies, which often lead to violence and litigations. In fact, a greater percentage of those that emerge from party primaries are products of imposition, consensus and compromise. Emerging through consensus is not an aberration neither is it undemocratic but it becomes a problem when it is orchestrated by the party’s godfathers who see themselves as the owners of the party. We believe that experience is the best teacher and that godfathers should only play advisory roles and not lord it over when it comes to the modus operandi of the elected office holders.
Another issue that has attracted our attention is the one that has to do with social inclusion in our democratic processes. Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society—improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity.
For example, on the issue of gender balancing in the democratic space in Nigeria, the trend in the political parties paints a gloomy picture. For example, only one position, that is, that of the Woman Leader out of the twelve positions in the National Working Committee (NWC) of a party is usually occupied by a woman, the rest are male-dominated. Even at that, in some Muslim-dominated Northern states, between 2007 and 2015, for example, the Woman Leader positions were given to men. Similarly, the youth is still viewed as a boy/girl child to be fed, clothed, housed and tended to by their parents. For most political gladiators, a 30 year old person is still a child and is not capable of being assigned any position of responsibility in government. The common verdict in this regard is, leadership is not for boys and girls.
Same could be said about the persons with disability. This underrepresented group is politically reduced to an insignificant actor whose only democratic value is the voting card. None of the foremost parties in Nigeria has any semblance of disability policy either in their constitution or in their manifestos. Unlike the youth and the women that are represented at the National Working Committee (NWC) of the parties through their leaders, the disabled persons do not have such official portfolios designated to them. Apart from not having their own in the NWC, Board of Trustees (BoT), National Executive Committee (NEC) of these parties, the disabled persons experience a total black out in the affairs of these parties at all levels. Nobody is willing to lend them any support, apart from assisting them to vote during elections. This segment of the society remains the most politically marginalised and democratically suffocated.
The question we may want to ask is why are women not in top positions in the party structure and in elective positions? The answers are not far-fetched. In Nigeria, party structures are typically male-dominated. Another significant constraint to women’s political participation is the lack of material resources available to women. Politics in Nigeria is about money and elections cannot be won without adequate funding. The Nigerian economic environment, like the political environment is also clearly dominated by men. It therefore, follows that the Nigerian woman is marginalized, politically and economically.
Just like the women, Nigerian youth are also under-represented within their respective parties. A close scrutiny of the parties’ constitutions will expose the huge gap that defines the dismal place all parties in Nigeria place on the position of youth in party operations. In the Nigerian context, following the African Union (AU) categorization, the youth represents a group of people within the ages of 18 and 35. However, most of our political parties as presently constituted have their youth leaders that are above 40 years.
Moreover, apart from the position of the party youth leader, no youth is in the other organs of the party. Nigerian youth are not adequately incorporated into the various committees and sub-committees of these platforms.
What we expected is that the new amended law would specify affirmative actions that would ensure social inclusion not just by mere words but there ought to be concrete figures that every political party that worth its onions will work with. For example, if affirmative action for female folk is 35% and that of disabled is 5% that of youth, actually the youth should cut across all facets, so we expect any aspect of it to contain at least 35% of youth. So if 35% are women, female should form 35% of that 35% the same thing for the disabled. If the disabled should form 5% then disabled female should form minimum of 35% of that initial 5%. These figures should be the minimum, it may be higher than what is proposed here. And the law ought to make it compulsory for political parties to adhere strictly and implement it in their respective parties.
Clearly, one of the main challenges political parties in Nigeria face is that of internal party democracy. The most noticeable trend that runs through all narratives is the culture of exclusion and underrepresentation of some segments of the society. Political parties in Nigeria, overtly or covertly, fail to accord the underrepresented groups such as women, youth and the disabled a place within the democratic space. Party constitutions relegate these groups to the background in the affairs of the parties. Party structures are equally not accommodating to these groups. In Nigeria, more women are likely to vote than men yet women are underrepresented in the leadership of their parties and elective positions in the country. Many factors are responsible for these challenges and they are worth summarising here.
As explained earlier, the cost of politics in Nigeria serves as a hindrance for the marginalised groups because politics is oiled through monetary values that are beyond the capacity of the underrepresented groups. In Nigeria, party financiers or godfathers typically exert their influence in deciding who eventually picks the party’s flag. State governors particularly wield enormous power within their respective parties. The governors, being the main financiers of the party, especially at state levels, believe that they have the ‘right’ to impose candidates on the party. In most instances, such undue influence leads to internal wrangling because a level playing field is lost in the process that produces the candidates. This explains why most election-related legal tussles are cases that mostly originate from pre-election activities of political parties. Political parties have become clearing houses for political patronage by godfathers who satisfy the material needs of their clients along the primordially segregated lines of ethnic and sectional agenda. In line with this, party primaries, conventions and congresses have been turned into platforms of producing godsons as candidates for elections. Another related issue is the delegate method. This method of candidate selection is open to fraught, manipulations and abuse by the godfathers who hijack the delegates by buying their votes and subsequently imposing their candidates and surrogates.
Another factor responsible for the underrepresentation of certain segments of the society in the political parties is the patriarchal nature of the Nigerian society. In most African countries in general, and Nigeria in particular, patriarchy is centrally embedded in all structures and institutions of society. As a result of the patriarchal nature and character of the Nigerian society and democratic practices in Nigeria, party structures, organs and elective positions are male-dominated, giving rise to the gender insensitivity that has become a feature of the political parties.
Recently, the media reported that there were sharp disagreements among senators during the consideration of a bill seeking to promote women empowerment and gender equality.
The bill, which was eventually stepped down, is designed to create equal opportunities for both the male and female gender in the country.
It was obvious that religion, ethnic affiliation and section 42 of the Constitution as amended, led to the split that reared its head at the Hallowed Chamber.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by Senator Biodun Olujimi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ekiti South, is titled “A bill for an Act to make provisions for the empowerment of women and gender equality and to establish a legislative framework for the empowerment of women”
The document was presented for second reading, but after much heated debate, the sponsor was forced to withdraw it after some senators who kicked against it, cited “socio-cultural and Islamic concerns.”
According to the sponsor, the bill is designed to align all aspects and implementation of laws relating to women empowerment as well as address issues relating to appointments and representation of women in decision making, positions and structures.
Gender equality in political parties also has crucial implications for democratic legitimacy and resilience. On a basic level, a democracy without the participation of half a country’s population is not a democracy. Women and men are entitled to equal civil and political rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international commitments. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence indicates that women’s political participation can lead to tangible democratic gains, including greater policy responsiveness to diverse citizen needs, reduced risk of conflict recurrence, and higher levels of political stability. Parties that take women’s participation seriously can also benefit electorally by accessing new groups of voters and signaling their commitment to social change.
We believe that social inclusion can serve as a veritable tool in engendering anti-corruption stance within the political parties.
DIRECT PRIMARY ELECTORAL SYSTEM IN THE NEW ELECTORAL BILL.
On the new electoral bill that was passed by both chambers of the National Assembly which made direct primary mandatory for all political parties for the emergence of their candidates for general elections, we want to throw our weight behind the bill and we believe that its high time we fine-tuned the principles of democracy we operate in this country, so as to meet the best practices in other advanced democratic climes.
We have looked critically at all the shades of opinions about direct primaries and we noticed that the direct primary system will guarantee returning power to the people where this government of the people, by the people for the people would be seen operating fully for the benefit of the people. That was why the two chambers accepted for the benefits of direct primaries outweigh that of indirect primaries. Therefore we stood fairly and still standing for direct primaries.
We also believe that the amendment constituted a right in itself to voters’ fundamental human right of having their votes count. Therefore, we believe the president had the duty to protect their rights by signing the bill. President Buhari should show high sense of responsibility by signing the bill. Not only to sign the bill, he should do so in good time. This is to forestall unnecessary apprehension because delay in doing so may raise tension and create agitation among Nigerians.
The direct primaries model will curb impunity in the electoral process and would force politicians to go back to the grassroots. They will no more distance themselves from the electorate. It is now that relevance in politics will count as against vote-buying and imposition of candidates by the powers-that-be during primaries using the indirect method.
Based on the fore goings, we want to recommend as follows:
1. There is need for increase sensitization on Anti-Corruption and Accountability in Elections at the grassroots level.
2. The anti-graft body EFCC should be involved in electoral process for screening of candidates who want to contest for an electoral office to ensure his integrity and incorruptibility.
3. The Media need to increase their reportage and investigations on Corruption and Accountability issues before, during and after Elections period to enhance political parties and their candidate to incorporate Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues in their Manifestos and Agenda.
4. Civil society groups should embark on massive civic awareness of the electorates on the dangers of corruption in electoral process and its impacts on their future;
5. There is an urgent need for anti-corruption campaigns to percolate down to the grassroots and even to the level of primary and tertiary institutions to stem the tide of rising cyber-crimes (A.K.A Yahoo Yahoo) among our youths.
6. Political Parties must be engaged to mainstream Anti-Corruption and Accountability into their manifestos and Activities.
7. There is an urgent need to amplify the voices of the people at the grassroots because most of them do not even have access to their elected representatives once they are sworn in.
8. We would like to use this medium to call on all the political parties to redress this anomaly and try as much as possible to incorporate these marginalized sets of people into the scheme of things in their various political parties.
9. Finally, we urge Mr. President to assent to the new electoral reform bill which consists of the e-transmission of results and direct primary. We are afraid that the controversy and cacophony of voices over direct primary may wittingly or unwittingly scuttle the entire Electoral Bill, and thus throw away the baby with the bath water.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has
commended the ruling of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi,
Lagos, that ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and properties
traced to Abidemi Rufai, the suspended aide of Ogun State Governor,
Dapo Abiodun, who is facing wire fraud charges in the United States of
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and
Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo
Adeniran, he noted, “It was reported that a Federal High Court sitting
in Ikoyi, Lagos, has ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and
properties traced to Abidemi Rufai”.
It would be recalled that Rufai was arrested by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York on May 14
over alleged $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud from the Washington
State Employment Security Department, in the United States. He was
indicted for alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity
The court order, covers Rufai’s property located at House 11, Omodayo
Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos and funds in his
accounts domiciled in Sterling and Zenith banks. Justice Tijjani
Ringim made the order sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by
a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ebuka
The EFCC joined Rufai, his firm Omo Mayodele Global Investment; and
Sterling Bank PLC as the first, second and third respondents in the
suit. Okongwu told the judge that it was essential for the court to
grant the prayer of interim forfeiture to preserve the res and prevent
further dissipation of the defendant’s funds in his Sterling Bank
account. He then furnished the judge with an affidavit sworn to by an
EFCC investigator, Usman Abdulhamid, detailing the agency’s
investigation of Rufai in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Justice Ringim, in a bench ruling, granted the EFCC’s
order as prayed in the motion paper.
We at CACOL are elated at this ruling, we believe in the principle of
dignity of labour. It is so shameful and pathetic that some of those
our youths are looking up to are engaging in sharp practices not only
at the local level but also at international scenes. They have
continually drag the name of the country in the mud and are so bold to
flaunt their ill-gotten wealth in public and also find their ways to
the seat of government thereby compounding the already battered
leadership issues we are currently facing in the country. This is why
culprits of corruption need to be deprived of their evil
accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to
face the consequence of their acts as a just supper”.
The CACOL Boss added, “We therefore hail the decision of the judge,
Justice Tijjani Ringim to order the interim forfeiture of the said
assets and funds of the accused after taking into consideration the
evidences presented before the court. We hope the ruling of the court
will serve as an eye opener to those who are still perpetrating this
heinous crime against humanity and make them have a rethink so that
together we can all build and live in a corruption free society”.
Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
For the pioneer secretary-general, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Debo Adeniran, extending invitations to citizens by security agencies is not all that matters, rather, the outcome of such invitations that should be of concern to the generality of Nigerians.
Adeniran, who is the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) added that there are occasions when people make remarks or give information that are not generally available in the public space. When this happens, security agencies may think that such persons could help them shed light on the issues they raised or the remarks that they made. “It has happened to me a couple of times, even in the days of military rule.
“Of course, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have freedom of speech, association, to hold opinion and disseminate it along the dictate of the law. What should not be tolerated is a situation whereby people who do not make inflammatory remarks, are unjustly invited. It should be noted that there is no freedom that is absolute anyway,” the consultant educationalist added.
He said even when citizens resort to protests, “as long as the protests are not violent, the government does not have any business stopping it. What government should do is to send its agents to join the protesters, listen to their demands, and take the information back to government for it to know the grievances of the citizenry. It is not the business of government to be over sensitive, and resort to stopping peaceful protests with brute force. That is not acceptable in a democracy, and is a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
“Even though we agree that no right is absolute. But the government should be tolerant of opposing remarks. Instead of chasing after the messenger, government should find a way of fixing the complaints and ensuring that there is good governance, accommodation and tolerance.”
Attempts to get the Presidency to comment on the travails of Mailafia, the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 general election failed as presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina failed to respond to emails or calls and text messages sent to their mobile phones.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the right decision in a bid to calm frayed nerves at the University of Lagos.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “it would be recalled that due to the aftermath of the announcement of the removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the University’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting of the governing council held in Abuja, there have been several reactions from different quarters.
On our part, as a concerned civil society organization, we tried to intervene in the crisis. It is on record that a letter was sent to the President, Muhammadu Buhari on 11th December, 2019 titled “MISAPPLICATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS: MATTERS ARISING” in which we suggested that “the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as the Visitor to the university could also seize the constitutional provisions to, direct the National Universities Commission (NUC) to set up a visitation panel to visit and examine the state of University of Lagos (UNILAG) as at today and act upon their findings and recommendations”.
It should also be noted that in our press release dated 19th August, 2020, “we called on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University”
The CACOL boss said “it gladdens our heart when we read the government’s position on the crisis as contained in a statement issued on Friday night by the Director, Press and Public Relations, in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong. The statement in which the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and the chairman of its Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), was directed to step aside pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. The statement also directed the Senate of the university to “nominate an acting vice-chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the Governing Council.”
CACOL therefore commends President Muhammadu Buhari’s wisdom for intervening in the crisis rocking the University before it goes out of hand. The decision taken by the President was in line with our earlier position as stated in the letter we sent to the President and our last press release on the same issue.
We have always believed in the principle of University Autonomy which is the institutional form of academic freedom and a necessary precondition to guarantee the proper fulfillment of the functions entrusted to higher-education teaching personnel and institutions.
We hope this intervention will not in any way violate the autonomy being enjoyed by the university and also believe this will bring a lasting solution to the crisis and engender peace and mutual co-existence between all the stakeholders of the university.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has chided the Governing Council of the University of Lagos headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin on how Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was controversially removed as the university’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting held in Abuja.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “With bated breath, we received the news of the hasty removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe”.
“We have been drawn to the lingering crisis within the topmost hierarchy of the university of Lagos management, occasioned by allegations of mismanagement of funds by certain officials of the university on one hand and the alleged overbearing attitude of the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, which has weighted negatively on free administration of the school that threatens the traditional and symbiotic relationship between the Governing Council, the Senate and the university’s Vice-Chancellor as the Chief Accounting officer of the ivory tower on the other end”.
“We have tried to intervene in the crisis as a concerned Civil Society Organisation and our intervention became necessary considering the primal position the affected university holds as one of the premier universities established shortly after Nigeria’s independence in the 1960s and its impressive array of alumni that cut across all social strata in the country”.
Though we were able to gather some information from a cross-section of the University community representing both sides of the divide, we could not take a stand, specifically because we could not hear the Pro-Chancellor’s side of the story directly as all our attempts including the letter of request were rebuffed on the ground that the university’s law forbade him from discussing the issues with an off-campus organization like ours.
Although, a few of the direct stakeholders including Professors sounded out at Akoka and the College of Medicine Campuses of the institution supported the Governing Council but most of them were on the side of the Vice-Chancellor.
Inasmuch as we are not saying the embattled Vice Chancellor is right or wrong, our major interest is that due process guiding the removal of a Vice-Chancellor must be followed. The fact that the selection of the Acting Vice-Chancellor announced by the Governing Council was not known to the Senate who runs the day to day activities of the University left much to be desired of the whole process leading to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
Moreover, the four labour unions of the university namely, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) also kicked against what they described as arbitrary removal of the Vice-Chancellor and even staged a protest on Thursday, 13th of August, 2020 to demand for his reinstatement.
It is a popular saying that whenever two Elephants fight, it is the grass that will always suffer, this is what seemed to be playing out at UNILAG as the administrative impasse within the University of Lagos will no doubt not only affect the majority of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University but also affect other areas of administration, research and teaching.
CACOL strongly recommends that the way out of this quagmire is the immediate reversal to the status quo and to allow all and sundry especially the primary stakeholders which include all the Unions in the university to agree that due process has taken its course. It is University of Lagos today; it may be another University tomorrow and if the right things are not done now, then it may turn out that the wrong precedents would have been laid for such future rascality and arbitrary hiring and firing of Vice-Chancellors in our citadel of learning.
“It is disheartening that almost a week after the announcement of the sack of the Vice-Chancellor, there has not been an official statement from either the Ministry of Education or the National Universities Commission (NUC). This seemingly conspiracy of silence from the two principal agencies of government who should be in the know concerning the running of the reputable institution of higher learning is loud enough to send the wrong signals to other stakeholders and even members of the public”.
We therefore call on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University now and bring all warring factions to the roundtable with a view to ensuring that lasting peace and harmony reign on the campus, so that the goodwill and the brand the university has built over the years will not be brought to disrepute and the University as a whole will not be irretrievably demarketed.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies to commence a necessary investigation into an allegation of a multi-billion naira fraudulent scheme engaged in by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director of Administration and Programmes, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “It would be recalled that an online news medium SaharaReporters reported that the IGP had used his office to unlawfully compel and in fact threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the establishment of a Mopol Training School in Endehu, Nasarawa State. It was gathered that the same project was included in the 2020 budget of the Nigeria Police Force but was rejected by the National Assembly. But desperate to fulfil his desire, the Inspector-General of Police had each Squadron Commanders cough out nothing less than N500,000 monthly for the purpose of erecting different structures in the training school”.
“It was also reported that the IGP does not mind how these Mopol leaders get the money for the project, whether through corrupt means or otherwise, he does not care. The directive has made the Mopol Commanders do everything through corrupt means to raise millions of naira monthly to build the project just to satisfy the ego of the IGP and keep their positions too. The training school is about to be inaugurated on August 12 and the same Mopol Commanders are to be used as Guinea pigs to test run the facilities from August 16,”.
“SaharaReporters further reported that the Inspector-General of Police had insisted on having the training go on at the facility despite the warning of health experts due to the risk of participants contracting and spreading Coronavirus”.
“In view of the above and in order to keep the anti-corruption war as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari on track it is appropriate for this allegation to be investigated. We are of the opinion that given the enviable position being occupied by the Inspector-General of Police as the number one Law Enforcement Officer of the country, allegation as grievous as this should not be written off with a wave of the hand”.
“It is instructive to note that the Force has been embroiled in a number of corruption allegations leveled against its rank and file. We must not forget that in a 2019 public survey by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project titled “Corruption Perception Survey”, the Nigeria Police Force emerged the most corrupt public institution in the country”.
The Chair of the anti-corruption organisation added, “Considering the strategic and critical role of the Police Force in maintaining law and order, it is of great importance for the head of this agency of government to be above board at all times. If the allegation leveled against him was true, then the popular saying that when the head is rotten the whole body is sick can then be likened to the situation playing out in the Nigeria Police. A corruption-free Police Force under a corrupt head will be a mirage as the officers will perpetuate their corrupt tendencies with brazen effrontery. We therefore call on our Anti-Corruption agencies to swing into action now by investigating the allegation leveled against the Inspector-General and come out with their findings on the case.
DIEZANI: CACOL COMMENDS JUDICIARY FOR SUMMONING EX-MINISTER, PLEADS FOR JUDICIOUS PROSECUTION
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed The Federal High Court in Abuja for ordering a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear for arraignment on money laundering charges preferred against her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissio
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the order by The Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu summoning the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear for arraignment on money laundering charges with great delight”.
It would be recalled that the judge gave the order in a ruling on an ex parte application shortly after it was moved by EFCC’s lawyer, Faruk Abdullah. The judge ordered the defendant who was alleged to have fled to the United Kingdom shortly after leaving office in 2015, to appear in court to answer to the 13 counts of money laundering involving $39.7m (N14.29bn at N360 to $1) and N3.32bn said to be proceeds of unlawful activities. Justice Ojukwu, in her ruling, ordered that the summons she issued on Friday should be published on the website of the EFCC and a national daily in a conspicuous manner said the development would make it easier for Mrs Alison-Madueke to be aware of the invitation.
Due to Diezani’s absence, the judge had repeatedly adjourned the case, which was filed on November 11, 2018. On November 12, 2019, the judge gave EFCC till March 10, 2020 to have the ex-minister extradited from the United Kingdom to Nigeria to face trial or the charges against her would be struck out. The judge had said she would no longer allow the case to continue to clog her docket if no progress was being made.
The EFCC lawyer, in a document filed along with the motion ex-parte, said the Commission sought to question Mrs Alison-Madueke, without success, in relation to many allegations against her, including her role as the Minister of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) to Septa Energy Limited, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited by NNPC. He said it also wanted Mrs Alison-Madueke to respond to questions about her role in the chartering of private jets by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Ministry of Petroleum Resources and her role in the award of contracts by NNPC to Marine and Logistics Services Limited.” Mr Abdallah said the agency was investigating Mrs Alison-Madueke’s business relationships with Donald Amamgbo, Afam Nwokedi, lkpea Leemon, Olatimbo Bukola Ayinde, Benedict Peters, Christopher Aire, Harcourt Adukeh, Julian Osula, Dauda Lawal, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Leno Laithan, Sahara Energy Group and Midwestern Oil Limited.
He added that Mrs Alison-Madueke was also required to clear air on her role in financing the 2015 general elections, particularly the money that were warehoused at Fidelity Bank Plc in 2015 prior to the elections.” He said it equally wanted the ex-minister to speak on several items, documents and jewelleries recovered from her house at No: 10, Chiluba Close, off Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja, and some identified property that were linked to her in Nigeria, UK, United States of America (USA), United Arab Emirate (UAE) and South Africa.
The anti-corruption Crusader said “We want to commend the judiciary for taking this bold step. We have been at the forefront of criticizing the corrupt and shady deals perpetrated by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke while holding public office in Nigeria. Whereas, in saner climes, the investigation and prosecution of a criminal case of this magnitude would have been tidied up and concluded by now, it is lamentable that the case had been tardy but we are glad that after so many years this case is coming up again. We commend the courage and determination of Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of The Federal High Court, Abuja for granting the ex-parte application of EFCC and for her resolve to look into the case in toto and dispesence justice accordingly. We hope the renewed vigour the case has received with the recent court order summoning Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke would hasten the prosecution and trial of the accused”.
The CACOL’S Chairman added “In recent times, we have seen public office holders after siphoning the commonwealth of the citizens of this country running into billions to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures and thereafter be running from pillar to post in order to evade arrest and the attendant judicial prosecution. This is why we commend the decision of the court and also enjoin the prosecution team to do a very diligent and meticulous trial to bring Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and all her accomplices to book to serve as necessary deterrent”