CACOL urges PMB to sack Fashola

By Nofisat Marindoti, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, (CACOL) has implored President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola whom they believe has misrepresented the campaign promises of APC and the change Nigerians expected.

This was stated in a press release signed by the group's executive chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran and made available to our reporter in Osogbo, Osun State.

According to the release,"It is important to point out that the President has held on to the existing Cabinet members for too long even in the face of the glaring failure of many of the Ministers. The Power, Works and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola stands amongst the failures with many others that tows behind. In our view, Fashola has been the main Minister that has most misrepresented the campaign promises of APC and the change Nigerians expected. All the actions and policies of the Ministry have compounded the sufferings of Nigerians in multi-folds; from lack of power supply to the illogical hike in electricity tariffs, from continually decaying infrastructure to death traps as roads with a Housing sector that is ‘non-existent’ or in absolute comatose.

"He has made history by achieving the lowest, ZERO, mega watts for more than 18 hours in history of power generation in Nigeria; he has nothing to offer than damage, we call on Mr. President to ask him to honourably resign or he should be sacked!

"As a matter of fact the whole Cabinet needs to be overhauled, only the few of them that have demonstrated enough competence and capacity to deliver should be retained. Mrs. Kemi Adeosun should also take a bow or be sacked because she had been overwhelmed by the challenges of fixing the prevailing economic situation. Almost all other Ministries are either prostrate or in comatose, some are even approaching non-existence in status.

"Nigerians can hardly tell what the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Health, Aviation, Commerce and Industry, Solid Minerals Development etc. are doing in these very challenging times for the country. They all appear to have gone to slumber following the lack of clue on what to do."

CACOL also urged the FG to find an urgent solution to the increased cost of living.

"Fundamentally, we demand for the government to confront the skyrocketing increases in the cost of the very basic needs of life; from food to water, fuel to health services, dwindling income to the rapidly increasing unemployment and under-employment rate and etc.

"It is the socio-economic development of the country for the benefit of the majority of the people that must be focused upon and prioritized by government above the selfish interests of the largely extremely corrupt and wealthy political class.

"The government must abandon its fixation on neo-liberal policies because they are basically anti-poor and pro-rich and the reality is that the policies have failed woefully in most of countries it has been practiced because they only further impoverished the people."

COCAL however claimed that Nigeria has made unprecedented gains during the two years of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group noted that the gains were in the areas of the anti-corruption war, decease in insecurity and socio-economic development.

In an overview of the governance in the last two years, COCAL stressed that even though the country might not be where it is expected, it has surely improved from what it was before.

"Without doubts, the last two years, under the President Mohammadu Buhari’s All Progressive Congress, APC-led Federal Government vis-à-vis government performance has indicated that Nigeria, although the country may not be where it should be yet, it is definitely not where it was prior to the electoral-quake which kicked the previous regime of corruption out of power in the 2015 general elections.

"But for the 16 years of systematic despoliation of the country by the previous regimes of the erstwhile behemoth called the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and accompanying of re-fixing an entity that been so voraciously and violently raped and abused, perhaps, the change the Nigerians vehemently yearned would have recorded greater success in terms of achievement.

"Really, it is very glaring that our country, Nigeria, was at an extremely dangerous precipice; where the economy was in shambles with corruption and insecurity of lives and property at astronomical heights leading to the increased sufferings and excruciating pains of the ordinary poor, working and toiling people who constitute the majority.

"We said last year that one year of governance after May 29, 2015, had definitely been topsy-turvy in almost every sector, but there were remarkable and impressive strides achieved in some, particularly the anti-corruption war and the war against insurgency. We added that some other aspect of governance were utterly disappointing and reprehensible in with regard to performance calibrations.

"Two years on, the difference in terms of improvement is relatively low particularly with regard to socio-economic and infrastructural development. Health, Power, Housing and other social services remain grossly inadequate considering that the gap that exists between the poor, who are the majority and a tiny minority in terms of accessibility, is still very yawning!

"The administration has as one of its short-coming the seemingly un-detachable attachment to the dictates of the neo-liberalism which is responsible for the increased impoverishment of the people as result of economic perambulation and gerrymandering of the government."

"Beyond the gloom: the anti-corruption war has achieved unprecedented successes, security of lives and property has improved

"It is quite clear to every Nigerian and the people who have followed the developments in Nigeria’s anti-corruption battle in past 2 years under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari that the administration has to a very large extent been able to fulfill its promise to tackle corruption and its perpetrators frontally and ‘brutally’. And yes, it is indeed one of the most shining achievements of the past 2 years which has kept the hope of a lot of Nigerians alive that our country is treading on the right path in terms of ridding the society of the Frankenstein monster called corruption, a bane that has been the major albatross to social-economic development.

"In spite of the commendable gains of the anti-corruption war, some elements who apparently choose to be mischievous have been trying to play down the achievements of the drive. The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL with our 10 years of experience in fighting corruption as a civil society organization understands profoundly that corrupt elements and corruption cannot be excised in a jiffy or in one fell swoop in the country. But some people, especially the publicly exposed suspected corruption criminals keep bringing up very frivolous issues to discredit the process that expose their criminal acts. This is tendency which is incurably corrupt, attempts to enforce on the progress of the anti-corruption drive artificial impasses at intervals to frustrate or to dampen its momentum; they prefer that no effort is made at all at halting sharp practices in the country.

"That tendency prefers media trials; they opt for appealing for the sympathy/support of the undiscerning citizens and whipping up ethno-religious sentiments than to prove their innocence in the courts of law. And this is all in the bid to wriggle through the labyrinths of the justice system and its lacunae to tactically evade justice.

"The truth is that the increased momentum of the anti-corruption battle since the ascension of Buhari to office has increased the heat in the kitchens of corruption in the country to a very highest of degrees of centigrade than all the hitherto attempts by past regimes. Equally, the heat has been cross cutting, that is, it has not left out any sector, arm of government, ethnic or religious group in the anti-corruption drive; instead the anti-corruption fight has been taken to the doorsteps of the high and mighty including members of the Executive, the Legislature and even the Judiciary.

"The implementation of the Treasury Single Accounts, TSA policies is a historical landmark achieved by the present regime; we are all aware that after the first six months of the operation of the TSA initiative, the Federal Government was able to save about 2.2 trillion Naira, an amount that is about half the budget for 2015. The TSA has been able to block and plug hitherto existing holes of corruption in the system and thereby greatly nipping corrupt intentions and tendencies in their buds’ for the dual purpose of accountability and transparency in the public sector.

'Fundamentally, we must understand that the battle against corruption is process and this makes quick victory impossible. Corruption had eaten so deeply into the fabric of society and has led to us the existing quagmire, but the present scenario emerged via protracted and cleverly woven processes; it will thus take clinically organized revolutionary processes which will involve the majority i.e. the victims of corruption to achieve maximal victory over corruption.

"The anti-corruption agencies have become more enlivened and re-energized since President Buhari came and this is because of his political will and zeal for fighting corruption. They have all become more proactive with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC taking the lead under the leadership of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, the indefatigable and fearless anti-corruption icon with about 200 convictions of corruption criminals in its ‘kitty’ within the last 2 years.

"The Department of State Security, DSS in October 2016 busted corrupt acts of scary and alarming proportions in the judiciary in a sting operation it carried which revealed the apparent rot in temple of justice among other shining achievements. The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offenses Commission, ICPC in last 2 years has filed 70 cases; secured 11 convictions from 1, 569 petitions, an unprecedented achievement in the history of its existence.

"Interestingly, all these impressive achievements are unprecedented and achieved within the ambit of the rule of law as against the blackmail from so quarters that the whole anti-corruption war that was being prosecuted without respect for the extant laws of the country.

"Apart from the N204, 888, 835, 727, 25 recovered via the efforts on the anti-corruption agencies; vehicles and properties of humongous values have been seized from corrupt elements. And recently recoveries of stashed cash (in various currencies) abandoned by rogues are being made because of the imminence of their apprehensions and because they are extremely desperate to evade justice based on the punitive that awaits them should they be judiciously prosecuted.

COCOL also urged the President not to relent in carrying out its agenda but rather fix some places in order to sustain its goals.

"However, there are issues that must be addressed if the pace of the anti-graft war will be sustained and improved upon. The lack of enabling laws, paucity of funds, inadequate manpower/personnel amongst many other factors encumber the anti-corruption drive. Agency rivalry promoted by corrupt political interests and mischief makers is also a challenge added with absence of training and re-training of personnel with commensurate emoluments.

"We know that certainly that there will be more successes in terms of convictions corrupt elements; seizures, confiscation and forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth as long as the present administration do not compromise the fight against corruption on altar of political expediencies. More convictions will happen if the tempo of the anti-corruption fight is heightened even more with increased capacity building for the anti-graft agencies, but the moment the administration makes any slip that allows the pro-corruption interests to gain ascendancy again in public and private spaces, then the country could as well be seen as going back to the days when looting of our commonwealth was done with bare-faced impunity.

"It is our conviction that the revelations so far are just the tips of the colossal iceberg of corruption in Nigeria and the moment anti-graft agencies wake-up to their duties like we are witnessing then many more convictions will still be achieved, the government might even need to build more penitentiaries.

"The tense atmosphere of insecurity that had enveloped the country for long has been greatly doused especially in the Northern East and South-South parts with peace rapidly returning to the erstwhile troubled communities. Other significant security related achievements include the release of 103 girls out 276 girls abducted from Chibok, Borno state in 2014 and the return of the militants from Niger Delta region to the dialogue table."