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
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”
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
NIGERIAN ROADS: A TALE OF WOES
Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was established by Act No.7 of 2002 enacted by the National Assembly and assented to by President Olusegun Obasanjo. With this Act establishing the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency and for matters connected herewith, FERMA became Nigeria’s first institutional mechanism for monitoring and maintaining all Federal roads in the country. First Governing Board of FERMA chaired by Engr. Guy Otobo was inaugurated by the then Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih on 27th January 2003.
The Mission of the agency is to efficiently and effectively monitor and administer road maintenance with the objective of keeping all federal roads in good and safe conditions while the Vision is to become the most efficient road maintenance management organization that will enhance the economic well-being and interest of Nigerians.
From the foregoing, it can be observed that the agency has not lived up to expectation going by the present state of roads in the country. Most of the federal roads that dotted the length and breadth of the country are crying for attention.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed once disclosed that most of the bad roads in Nigeria belong to the states. The minister argued that most bad roads in the country were within the jurisdiction of states. She made this statement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that held on the 13th of November, 2019 in Abuja.
She went further to state that the Federal Ministry of Works was the biggest beneficiaries of funding in the 2019 budget as it was adequately reimbursed for the purpose of roads rehabilitation in the country.
Ahmed acknowledged that the government had not done enough to rehabilitate roads all over the country but still attributed most of the bad roads in the country to the states.
In the same vein, and contrary to general reports making the rounds that Nigerian roads are terrible and not motorable, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola was also reported as saying that Nigerian roads are not as bad as people think.
Fashola made this statement late last year after one of the Federal Executive Council meetings. He dismissed reports on the poor state of the country’s roads as exaggerated. In his words “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he had told State House correspondents.
We found this statement by the honourable minister as a clear indication that some of those occupying public offices are not in tune with the terrible realities of their fellow citizens’ daily experience.
Despite the claims made by the Ministers, ordinary Nigerians plying the roads know the true situation of our roads. Most of the roads are now death traps. It is worrisome that in addition to the adverse effects of the poor state of the roads, kidnapping and armed robberies, loss of vital man-hours, loss of lives and merchandise and enormous damage to vehicles on a daily basis are recorded, thus adversely affecting the growth of the developing economy like Nigeria’s.
For example, the current state of the Lagos – Sango Ota – Abeokuta express way that links Lagos and Ogun state is appalling and an eye sore as virtually all sections of the road has completely broken down. Major bus stops like Obadeyi, Kola, Salolo, Moshalashi, Alakuko, Toll-Gate, Joju among others are characterized by crater-sized potholes and gullies resulting in commuters and motorists spending long hours in traffic, accidents and damage to health and vehicles which is immeasurable in monetary terms and health costs. Sometimes, petrol tankers and container trucks have fallen at bad portions of the road, causing havoc to people.
One can only wonder the essence, importance or relevance of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), if federal roads under their direct supervision can deteriorate to such an inhuman state without any intervention to mitigate the suffering of the commuting public. More annoying is the fact that the Ministry of Works and Housing who happens to be the supervising ministry of FERMA is maintaining an unholy silence. Is it that the Ministry is unconcerned?
Though we are aware of the fact that the Lagos Sango Abeokuta express road is a federal road, we believe that the Governors of Lagos state Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Ogun state counterpart, Dr. Prince Dapo Abiodun can harmoniously and as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the suffering commuters in both states, whose manhour, lives and livelihood is being jeopardized by the unmotorable state of the Lagos Sango Ota Abeokuta express road, by directing their respective states ministries of works and roads intervention agencies to urgently provide palliatives to the road.
Apart from the federal roads, the roads that are within the purview of the states are not faring better. In fact, state-owned roads are just as horrible as the stretches of roads controlled by the federal government. In Lagos state, from the expressways to the inner streets, it is a tale of complete abandonment and neglect. The dividends of democracy in terms of infrastructure development promised to be delivered to the electorates by the politicians are just nowhere to be found.
Knowing how Lagosians crave good roads, the Governor, a day after his inauguration, signed an executive order, directing the state Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to run at least two shifts and work till 11p.m and the state Public Works Corporation to commence patching and rehabilitation of bad roads to address the perennial problem of traffic in the state. Till date, Lagosians are still waiting for this order to be carried out in some areas.
From the mainland to the Island, particularly, the densely populated areas of Ikeja (like Ipodo Street), Coker-Aguda (Akin Olowolagba Street), Somolu (Haastrup Ajimoke Street off Apata Road), Mushin-Odi-Olowo (Agege Motor Road before Olosa bus stop, Idioro), Ikorodu (Church Street, Odogunyan, Frontage of Ikorodu West LCDA, Odonla Road, Ojuemuren Street Odogunyan, Sagamu Road), Yaba (Herbert Macauly by Birrel Avenue, Kadara Street, Oyingbo, Ladipo Street off Bornu way) Lagos Island (Idumagbo Avenue, Oroyinyin Street off Adeniji Road) the story is the same as one is faced with the embarrassing sight of the decrepit roads that dots Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan city despite the high internal revenue generated by the government.
So bad are the roads in Lagos thatThe Economist Intelligence Unit and World Bank in their 2018 Global Liveability Index, ranked the state as the third worst city for humans to live in the world. The state was ranked 138 out of the 140 cities considered for the ranking. This, however, was a slight improvement from the 2017 ranking, where the country was ranked 139th out of 140 cities on the index. According to the ranking, Lagos only outperformed Dhaka in Bangladesh and Damascus in war-torn Syria. Out of an overall score of 100, Lagos was rated 38.5 points. The 2019 least liveable list has 10 cities with five from Africa. Lagos, Nigeria tops the list for the continent. This is Lagos’ third consecutive time as the worst liveable city in Africa.
Similarly, Ogun State that happens to be a close neighbour to Lagos is fast becoming a State identifiable by its bad roads. From Toyin to Giwa, Oke-Aro, Lambe, Matogun, Isaashi, Akute, Ajuwon, Alagbole, Agbado to Agbara, Lusada and all other major roads in that axis where some major factories are located, the sad reality is the same.
Recently, it was reported that the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun was fully aware of the challenges occasioned by the deplorable condition of Sango-Agbado Expressway and other roads. The statement was credited to the Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, who inspected the abandoned project. This followed his earlier inspection of the Ojodu-Abiodun-Denro Ishasi-Akute and Oke Aro-Lambe-Matogun roads some weeks back, as engineers from the ministry visited the area to further assess the roads.
Akinsanya, who said it is worthy of note that the construction of the 32km Sango-Agbado road was started by the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, decried how the project was left unattended to months before the end of Amosun’s administration.
He said: “The Prince Dapo Abiodun-led Administration is now engaging contractors, as the government evaluates how to rescope, accelerate and get the contractors back to site towards completing the road for use by the people”.
The key to economic growth and development in any nation is the provision of basic infrastructure such as good road network. We believe the rehabilitation and completion of the various roads will revive economic activities in the axis while ensuring the safety of persons, goods and vehicles.
In addition, we feel the pains and agony being encountered by the commuting people on our roads who have had to endure both the physical and psychological trauma of traffic gridlock all over the state caused by the poor condition of roads.
Your Excellency, the pains and agony commuters are enduring on our roads on a daily basis can only be mitigated by the commitment of both the federal and state governments of the states concerned to deliver dividends of democracy to the people through reconstruction, rehabilitation and completion of various road projects that litter the various parts of the states in particular and the country in general. There is an urgent need for both the Federal and the State Governments to redouble their efforts and commitments to addressing the hardship being faced by road users across the country. Alternative means of transportation like the rail and the waterways should also be improved upon to reduce the pressure n our roads.
Therefore, we are calling on your office to immediately swing into action by directing and mobilizing the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to provide palliative measures for temporary relief pending the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the federal roads in Lagos state in particular and other states in general.
Anti-corruption groups, including Transparency International and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, have condemned the Lagos State House of Assembly for sending wives of the state lawmakers to Dubai at the cost of N80m.
The Speaker of the House, Madashiru Obasa, had told a panel of inquiry set up to probe corruption allegations levelled against him that the N80m was spent on training the wives of 20 lawmakers in Dubai with a budget of N4m each, adding that he declared the event open.
Obasa had said, “We gave N4m to each of the participants for air ticket, hotels, feeding and local travel. An air ticket to Dubai alone costs about N2m.
“The House of Assembly is above common standard of excellence and we have to train people, and this comes at a cost. Learning is not cheap and I have never collected N80m for estacode at a go before.”
But speaking to The PUNCH, Auwal Musa, aka Rafsanjani, the Head of TI in Nigeria, said it was saddening that N80m would be spent on such an event when the health and education sectors in the state were in shambles.
Rafsanjani, who is also the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, said an act could still be deemed as corrupt even if it is approved officially.
The TI head said, “If this is not corruption, what would you call this? The truth is that there is something called official stealing, looting and diversion of funds and it is happening across Nigeria and what the Lagos Assembly has done is just to tell you what is going on in other states.
“It is also a reflection of what is happening at the federal level because states usually emulate the federal. Nigeria’s democracy has been hijacked by those stealing the funds meant for development. Imagine how many communities would have clean water if that money was spent on development?
“Imagine if the money was used in equipping a primary health centre? Why spend it on legislators’ wives?”
Also speaking, the Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said, “For me, it is not really the N80m that matters but the fact that the state is not supposed to spend a dime on the wives of lawmakers who are not even elected officials. These legislators are already receiving outrageous allowances which ought to cater for their families.
“They need to explain to us why it was important for the wives of lawmakers, women who were not elected, to be trained in Dubai.”
Similarly, the Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the spending could not have been included in the state’s budget.
“Lagos Assembly has 40 lawmakers out of which 37 are men. How come it is the wives of 20 that were taken for that controversial event? That money could not have been included in the budget. I don’t believe the wives even travelled but the money was just transferred to them.”
He called on anti-corruption agencies to investigate the trip.
Suraju said, “Constitutionally, it is inappropriate; these are not members of the parliament.
Keynote address by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL at the Summit on Civic Education #EkitiVote2018 organised by Ekiti Project Vote 2018 at Christ School Alumni Hall, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria on 22 February, 2018
I must express my delight and appreciation for the honour and privilege of being Chairman/Keynote Speaker at this all important and very auspicious Summit on Civic Education organized by #EkitiVote2018. I am truly humbled and doubly honoured as I have also been nominated for the esteemed ‘The 2018-2019 Ekiti Project Vote Role Model /Ambassador Award’, just as I thank the organisers for deeming me worthy of this honour.
The significance of today’s event at such a crucial and decisive period when our country, Nigeria is preparing for yet another set of elections coming up between 2018 and 2019 cannot be overemphasized considering that the coming electoral processes present another opportunity for Nigerians to decide those that would govern them in the nearest future through the ballot.
Our Vote, Our future
The theme of the Summit “Ekiti 2018: Our Vote Our Future” is very apt based on the nexus it highlights; that is the connectivity between voting in the present and the socio-political and economic consequences on the society in future. As they say the people deserve the kind of leadership get because they through their votes establish a social contract between them and those that govern.
The importance of voting as a civic responsibility is paramount to the success of democracy as it is the only legitimate way to participate in deciding how governments emerge and the means through which the people can take control of their socio-economic destiny indirectly through their elected representatives. By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold certain democratic values enshrined in the founding document, that is, the constitution of the country.
The voting process empowers and grants the people the right to voice their opinion, and agree with or disapprove of the actions taken by the stewards of public trust, who we help put into office to represent us. Many people do not exercise this right yet they will bash, ridicule, make declarations about and slander the people elected into office and the government itself and ultimately condemn themselves to a fate of ‘suffering and smiling’.
It is instructive to highlight that with the experience of recent elections, particularly the 2015 general elections, the chaos that hitherto characterized our electoral system have been greatly diminished whereby the votes of the people are evidently counting as the country’s democratization process deepens.
If as a people we are worried about the trajectory and direction of our country, if we are concerned about our fate as a people; then we must bring down the walls of apathy by shunning petty sulking and complaining, we should instead take action by performing our civic responsibilities.
We must accept that the present in terms of governance performance is as a result of the choices we made in the past elections in same the way our future socio-economically will be determined by our voting patterns in the oncoming elections.
It is based on the foregoing that civil populace must be enlightened on the consequences of their actions or inactions as far as carrying out their civic responsibility of voting is concerned particularly.
It therefore behove on the civil society organizations, community based organizations, political parties and relevant government agencies especially the National Orientation Agency, NOA and the Independent National Election Commission, INEC to make concerted efforts in the civic education of the people. Efforts such as this summit and other strategic tools must be deployed in reaching the minds of the people achieve a populace that is at all times conscious of their civic responsibilities.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, less than 40% of registered voters [28 million out of 58 million in 2015]; meaning less than 20% of our total population have been deciding our fate as a nation through their votes in elections! With less than 20% of the population that have been voting; the reality is that the winners of the [presidential] elections have been elected by less than 10% of the population [in 2015, the winner of the election had less than 15 million votes out of a population of more than 160 million in total]. With our population being very youthful, the number of registered voters in Nigeria should be within the range of 90 million to 100 million people!
The implication of all these is that only a minority of our population has been participating in elections, even worse, is that our leaders have been elected by an even a smaller minority of our population.
We must wake our people from their sleepless slumbers; we must facilitate a qualitative and quantitative collective consciousness that would enhance the participation of the silent majority. It is such a consciousness that can galvanize people to getting registered on the voters register; getting their PVCs; participating in the campaigns by interrogating the candidates and parties with the coming elections.
Quintessentially, it is significant to point out that routine election as a democratic practice does not necessarily translate to collective control of the socio-economic existence of the people. Even though our constitution provides for government to ensure the socio-economic rights of the people whereby their security and social wellbeing is prioritized in a way that the wealth of the people is not concentrated in a few hands as required of a democracy, the aberration of this reality is what obtains.
Consequently, as the 2018 – 2019 elections approach and with the excruciating conditions of living of the majority, Nigerians must rise in unison to struggle for the assertion of their socio-economic rights as dialectically required components of a democracy under best practices. Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution should be the guide in the choices we make in the elections by ensuring that the governments at all levels commit to the security and social welfare of the populace before earning their votes.
The economic practice of neo-liberalism that has continued to be imposed on country by successive governments is antithetical to democracy given that it has only succeeded in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Bretton Woods institution dictated neo-liberal policies which have failed almost in every country it had been imbibed must be abandoned to achieve a socio-economically harmonious existence of the people.
Beyond elections, Nigerians must invigorate the struggles for social emancipation holistically because the present status quo will perpetually ensure penury in their lives if the system is not overhauled and replaced with a more humane one that would guarantee the social welfare and security of life and property. Today, if Beko was to be alive, he shall definitely lead the campaign for socio-economic rights, not campaign for one thieving party or the other through the rituals of four yearly balloting:
SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE: LET’S DEMAND FOR ITS ENFORCEABILITY IN THE COURTS OF LAW AS NIGERIANS:
The right of all Nigerians to work and to be well remunerated must be recognized
Right of all to be well Sheltered – Housing for all
Right to Education at all levels at the expense of the State
Right to receive medical treatment at the expense of the State
Social Welfare Schemes for Nigerians, for the aged and physically and mentally challenged
Unemployment Benefit Package for all adults that not productively engaged.
Fair wages for fair labour
Management of the commanding heights of the national economy for the benefits of the entire nation and never concentrated in the hands of a cabal.
Bridge the gaps between the wretched and the super-rich, economic inequalities and social injustice.
“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” — Frantz Fanon
The electorates of Ekiti must shun amala and ‘stomach infrastructure’ politics now, and that is the generation role history has imposed on us. Once again, I thank the organizers for this delightful opportunity, I am humbled.
Thank you all for your attention. Long Live Ekiti! Long Live Nigeria!!