Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity Clauses

Since the ‘escape’ of the self-styled “Governor-General” of the Ezon, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha from British justice, the uproar is on again that the real impediment to dealing with suspected corrupt governors like him is Section 308 of our Constitution which provides for the immunity clauses. This same uproar greeted us when another governor, Joshua Dariye of Plateau state, in almost similar circumstances, escaped back to Nigeria from British justice as well. In fact, from that time, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu has made it his duty to let the world know that our Constitution is “wrong” to include the immunity provisions of Section 308.
 
Curiously, before the Dariye affair, Ribadu never pointed out this particular Section as an obstacle to prosecution of corrupt governors even when he had ample opportunities to do so in various forums. In official speeches after official speeches, when addressing “constitutional constraints”, Ribadu only pinpointed Section 35(2) which protects the right of any person arrested or detained to remain silent until after consultation with his/her lawyer and Section 36(11) which protects the choice of the accused in criminal proceedings not to give evidence during trial. Therefore, this latter-day damascene realization that Section 308 is an obstacle and the missionary zeal with which he’s now pursuing the matter has more to it than meets the eye. Perhaps, we should start by first removing the immunities that Mr Ribadu and his officers enjoy under Section 41 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004. Maybe that way, he would better appreciate their necessity for governors doing far more sensitive and important jobs in the public service.
 
At any rate, Section 308 actually shouldn’t have created this much furore because the provisions need only to be interpreted literally. Below are the provisions:
 
308. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Constitution, but subject to subsection (2) of this section â€"
 
(a) no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against a person to whom this section applies during his period of office;
 
(b) a person to whom this section applies shall not be arrested or imprisoned during that period either in pursuance of the process of any court or otherwise; and
 
(c) no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies, shall be applied for or issued:
 
Provided that in ascertaining whether any period of limitation has expired for the purposes of any proceedings against a person to whom this section applies, no account shall be taken of his period of office.
 
(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.
 
(3) This section applies to a person holding the office of President or Vice-President, Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this section to "period of office" is a reference to the period during which the person holding such office is required to perform the functions of the office.
 
 
We can see from subsection (3) that the Constitution did not provide immunity for more than four public offices â€" the offices of the president, vice-president, governor and deputy-governor. This shows clearly the intention of the drafters not to abuse the privilege by strictly limiting it to only the highest executive positions. Moreover, even in doing this, subsection (2) makes clear the circumstances under which these persons cannot claim immunity. These are (a) in civil proceedings instituted over the officer’s official acts/conducts or acts/conducts related to the functions of his/her office and (b) in civil or criminal proceedings where he/she is a nominal party. What subsection (2) tells us is that the immunity clauses are not absolute. It shows that in spite of the provisions of subsection (1), there are indeed circumstances in civil or criminal proceedings against these persons where the immunity clauses will not apply. The question we must therefore ask is whether those circumstances, along with other provisions of the Constitution and national laws, give enough leeway to successfully prosecute a corrupt governor without circumventing the immunity clauses.
 
Without a doubt, it is quite clear from reading the provisions of subsection (2) that it is possible to prosecute a corrupt governor through the ordinary courts without impinging his immunity if the charge(s) is/are couched and presented in such a way as to be considered as in breach of his official duty, or if he’s joined as a nominal party to an action, even though he remains the main target. For instance, if we consider the cases of Dariye and Alamieyeseigha, there is enough evidence to show that there are ways in which some of their alleged corrupt acts could properly be defined as committed in their official capacities, after all, the act of diverting funds legally budgeted for a specific project/purpose to private accounts or awarding over-inflated contracts could be successfully argued to be a breach of this nature. Also, from available evidence, it’s obvious that the governors usually have collaborators within the government, whether in the form of the Commissioners for Finance or other officials at the highest levels dealing with state finances. Federal authorities serious about fighting corruption could institute criminal proceedings against such persons and bring in the governor as a nominal party. Properly interpreted, the provisions do not protect the governor from being sued for official corruption; rather, they are meant to protect the officeholder from being sued over matters not to do with his office or his conduct in office, because such actions will naturally affect his ability to concentrate on the job. Of course, it’s possible to raise issues as to what constitute acting in “official capacity” or who qualifies as a “nominal party” for the purposes of this Section, yet the point must be made that the Obasanjo-led Federal Government has not deemed it necessary to ask for a judicial interpretation of these pursuant to its anti-corruption campaign.
 
Of course, one is not unaware of the case of Fawehinmi vs IGP (2002) which went up to the Supreme Court and in which the court adopted the literal interpretation of Section 308 to declare that Governor Tinubu is protected by the immunity provisions over the “Chicago” certificate scandal. While some of us remain uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s position because it tended to perpetuate an injustice by allowing Tinubu to continue to profit from his act of criminal forgery, even where such an act is the basis upon which he was declared governor and the basis upon which he claimed immunity, the fact remains that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and its decision is final. However, to say it has set a precedent in this matter would be taking it too far. Rather, it should be distinguished because the facts of Tinubu’s case and those of governors alleged to have stolen or diverted public funds are different. Tinubu’s alleged act of forgery has nothing to do with him being governor; it was a criminal act allegedly committed before he became governor and therefore covered under Section 308 (1a). While it might seem that Section 308 (1b) and (1c) protects Alamieyeseigha and Dariye if indeed they’ve committed the crimes alleged, this would however depend on how the court interprets the terms “official capacity” and “nominal party”, depending on how the charges are framed or in what capacity the governors are charged, that is whether as substantial or nominal parties. Nonetheless, it is instructive to note that the Supreme Court makes clear in that case that a person protected under Section 308 can be investigated by the police for any crime or offence as required under Section 4 of the Police Act for the purpose of preserving whatever evidence that is available. According to Uwaifo JSC, this evidence “may be useful for impeachment purposes if the House of Assembly may have need of it. It may no doubt be used for prosecution of the said incumbent Governor after he has left office. But to do nothing under pretext that a Governor cannot be investigated is a disservice to the society”
 
The above apart, Section 52 (1) of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000 provides for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate a governor if accused of corruption and for a report of the counsel’s findings to be made available to the State House of Assembly for the purpose of impeachment. At any rate, because the purpose of such actions (including court actions not covered by the immunity clauses) wouldn’t usually be to directly remove the governor from office through judicial pronouncement (if through the courts) or via the direct findings of the independent counsel, it is enough to use the floor of the court or the findings of the independent counsel to expose the governor’s corrupt deeds and make his position untenable thereafter. The Constitution and our laws do not envisage that the courts should usurp the power of the people who elected the officials to remove them or the power of the parliament to discipline them when they err. Thus, while the immunity provisions are there for the serious-minded and honest persons to be able to do their job without fear of frivolous prosecution, they do not in themselves make it impossible for these select officials to be investigated, indicted, removed and prosecuted where there’s a genuine case against them. Since the immunity clauses in question only apply when they’re in office, an investigated and indicted governor duly impeached by the legislature on the basis of evidence provided and the failure of his own defence against those charges is open immediately to be tried for his alleged crimes in the ordinary courts just like any other accused person. It’s obvious that our Constitution and related laws against corruption have set processes in place, which if honestly followed by the authorities concerned would yield effective results.
 
The reason why these simple steps may not work now is because the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal have lost the moral authority to be trusted having showed themselves to be no more than instruments of presidential witch-hunting. The way the EFCC for instance have been acting in the Bayelsa affair is instructive. It has no business inviting members of the House of Assembly to Abuja or Lagos; it has no business trying to blackmail/bribe them to impeach the governor and it has no business publicly insisting that it would continue to do so in order to get the governor out. In the circumstances, it has given ammunition to those who oppose the impeachment on the ground that the whole thing is politically motivated, even where there is strong evidence to indicate the criminal culpability of these governors. And it really could have been very different, if only Obasanjo had kept the promise he’s been making for more than two years now, which is to make such bodies as the ICPC and EFCC more accountable by making them answerable to an independent civil society oversight body. But, of course, it was vintage Obasanjospeak â€" promising something he has absolutely no intention to deliver, especially where delivery will check his penchant for manipulation, lawlessness and impunity. As for the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the fact that it has once more made itself available to be used by EFCC and Obasanjo to supposedly try Alamieyeseigha in the face of judicial pronouncement that it has no such powers says so much about how terribly bastardized it’s become.
 
To Obasanjo, the arrest and prosecution of Alamieyeseigha in the UK presented him with one huge opportunity to kill a thousand birds with one stone. In his eagerness to strike the killer blow, he dispatched the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bayo Ojo to London to tell the British court that Nigerian laws are powerless to deal with Alamieyeseigha, especially as he has immunity under the Constitution, notwithstanding the fact that this same Ojo was the one that used the immunity clauses to successfully defend Dariye a few months earlier. But while Mr Ojo’s idea of justice changes with whoever is paying or bossing him, it didn’t occur to him and his Abuja bosses that the British would find such blatant lack of principles strange in our nation’s chief law officer, quite apart from the fact also that a plain reading of the provisions makes clear that the immunity clauses are not absolute.
 
First, by using the floor of a British court to proclaim the inadequacy of our nation’s laws, especially the purported inadequacy of our Constitution to deal with a thieving governor, Mr Obasanjo was hoping to win international support for his criminally selective anti-corruption fight at home. Secondly, he was hoping to give the impression that only the British and the international community with their supposedly strong and well-tested laws can deal with such big fishes from Nigeria as Alamieyeseigha. Thirdly, and more importantly for him in his bid to win international support, is the idea of using the excuse of wanting to remove the obstacle of immunity clauses as the Trojan horse in his quest to tinker with the Constitution to serve his self-perpetuation purposes.
 
Obasanjo knows that touching the Constitution this late in his constitutionally sanctioned tenure would raise eyebrows internationally. But desperate to find a ‘legitimate’ entry point, the immunity clauses are increasingly appealing to him as convenient targets, especially if he could link it all up to his much-touted intention to fight corruption effectively. Indeed, he has to give the impression that in his attempt to fight corruption at the highest levels these immunity clauses are proving to be the real handicaps. In fact, he is already beginning to surreptitiously use his attack dogs in the national legislature to test the waters and they’re becoming more vocal again now that Alamieyeseigha has given them an excuse. The righteous indignation emanating from sources close to the president against the immunity clauses are therefore not surprising and not surprising also is the fact that some genuinely honest and patriotic commentators and leaders of thought are inadvertently falling for the Obasanjo gambit as well.
 
In all this, as I’ve pointed out earlier, it is the third-term agenda that is the focus of every effort and calculation. Alamieyeseigha being held in the slammer in Britain was pivotal to the plan. In fact, Obasanjo was actually beginning to move in that direction by instigating the removal of the Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly and his deputy, preparatory to installing a new governor who would do his bidding. Then, he would have turned to the other governors and even without saying so too loudly, let them know that they wouldn’t be safe anywhere abroad, brandishing before them as proof the fate that then would have befallen Alamieyeseigha. So, while threatening them with his “friends” in the international community abroad; at home, Obasanjo would unleash on them the Cerberus that is the EFCC. But all this would be designed to force the governors into a corner and to make them do his bidding once they see no other way. Thus, just when they begin to think their ass is grass, he’d give them what would seem to them in such a sticky situation as a way out.
 
Obasanjo’s way out for the fear-stricken governors would then be to ask them to go back to their states and get their various Houses of Assembly to approve some proposed constitutional amendments, which would include provisions for a third term for him and the governors who cooperate. Of course, most of the scoundrels we have in State Houses around the country would jump at the opportunity â€" the opportunity to continue to steal the nation blind at the cost of returning Baba and themselves for a third-term! By the time Obasanjo would have finished suborning the national legislature as he’s always done and the accursed amendments passed, the various Houses of Assembly having being ‘softened’ by their respective governors, at the usual price, of course, would now be ready to rubberstamp the whole thing. That way Obasanjo would have ‘constitutionally’ extended his tenure by making out that a national clamour forced him to continue. And he would also be able to tell those who oppose him internationally that he’s doing so “constitutionally”, even if it all stinks of the morality of an alley cat.
 
But then, Alamieyeseigha’s return has thrown this whole plan into disarray and now Obasanjo must go back to the drawing board. Nonetheless, the key element of the plan (which is to find an excuse to tamper with the Constitution as it is) still stands. Alamieyeseigha’s obvious looting of the Bayelsa coffers (which is exactly what they are all doing, even at the federal level) still provides Obasanjo with the best opportunity for rousing the nation against the immunity clauses at this moment, but only as they apply to the offices of the governor and the deputy-governor. Though he does seem to have the immediate problem of how to sell the selective removal of these immunity clauses to the other governors in cahoots with him and also the vice-president who is no longer in his good books, Obasanjo’s calculation is that he would ultimately ‘bargain’ this away as far as he gets the third-term amendments through. After all, the whole hoopla about immunity clauses is only a ruse to get them to agree to tinker with the Constitution to extend his tenure.
 
While Obasanjo grapples with the fallout of the Alamieyeseigha affair domestically, the political leaders and influence-peddlers in the international community are still all hedging their bets over political developments in Nigeria (especially because of the oil interests). They’re all content to sit back and watch Obasanjo dodging, ducking and dribbling his way around his self-created conundrum. But, even then, neither the British nor the Americans are ready to buy his endless tales and excuses hook line and sinker any longer. They are all quite aware that the immunity provisions in the Nigerian Constitution are no more protective of the state officials concerned than those available in their own countries or under their own laws. The Americans, French, British, Germans, Japanese or Russians know immunities of this sort are available for their political leaders, because, in truth, they are not meant to protect the public official from prosecution when there are genuine grounds to pursue a case against him/her, but to prevent unnecessarily litigious fellows or political opponents from using the floor of the court to pursue vendettas or mischief in the name of seeking justice. Not only is the protection from such frivolous law suits essential for the public officials concerned to properly discharge their duties, but it also ensures stable, credible and effective administration.
 
In any case, whatever Obasanjo’s design per constitutional tinkering or third term, Nigerians ought to know that blaming the immunity clauses for the inability of the federal authorities to fight corruption where governors are concerned is a red-herring, not only because the provisions do not provide absolute immunity as we can see from its limitations under Section 308(2), but also because there are other constitutional provisions and other operative national laws that make it quite possible to investigate, remove and prosecute a corrupt governor in a lawful and democratic manner. The truth of the situation is that the Obasanjo-led government at the federal level is using the guise of an anti-corruption war to pursue its own anti-democratic interest of self-perpetuation. That is why Obasanjo’s latest attempt to bark at the British via his protest letter to the British Prime Minister over Alamieyeseigha’s escape is being totally ignored. It’s no coincidence that Downing Street is keeping a studious silence over the issue while no one in the press has raised it in any of the Prime Minister’s morning press briefings. More importantly, no Member of Parliament (MP), Labour or Opposition, has raised it during the Prime Minister’s Question Time on the floor of the Commons or at any level within the government, except the half-hearted and essentially impotent yarn of the British High Commission in Nigeria. It is increasingly becoming clearer that Obasanjo is the only one who does not know that the rest of the international community have become wise to his real designs.
 
Nigerians must sit back and consider this issue properly so that they don’t unwittingly get railroaded into providing Obasanjo his much-needed excuse to make his self-perpetuation possible. The question they must ask themselves is whether the immunity clauses are preventing Obasanjo from honestly fighting corruption in every other area where these immunity clauses do not apply. Are the immunity clauses responsible for him tampering with the Electoral Act of 2001? Are they responsible for him presiding over the 419 elections of 2003 as main beneficiary? Are the immunity clauses responsible for his continued Ghana-must-go politics at the National Assembly? Are the immunity clauses responsible for the non-probe of the COJA contracts scandal, the NNPC or the NPA? Are they responsible for him entering into that accursed agreement with the Abacha clan which officially permitted them to walk away scot-free with their stolen loot? Are the immunity clauses responsible for him, the EFCC and Justice Binta Murtala-Nyarko working out a mere six months jail term for Tafa Balogun in the name of fighting corruption after the fellow has stolen a whooping N17 billion? Of course, we need not forget also that Balogun wasn’t actually sentenced for corruption, but for a breach of Section 38 (2b) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, which is more or less saying he’s being jailed for failing to cooperate with the authorities and not for stealing any money! Are the immunity clauses the reason he invited back an indicted certificate forger, Salisu Buhari to come head an educational parastatal? What has he done about his friends and associates, for instance, Nasir el-Rufai and Chris Uba who’ve been officially exposed as having abused their office or the privilege of being close to him? What moral right does the president have to play holier-than-thou when his late wife and children have been fingered in some of those corruption cases making the rounds?
 
The problem to me seems obvious. Here we have a president who lacks the political will to honestly fight corruption, not only because the problem has become endemic, but more because he himself is part of the unproductive establishment that is sustained economically and politically by corruption. Yet, he has the effrontery to present himself before us as someone genuinely fighting the disease when almost every action he takes in that regard reeks of selectiveness and ill-motive. Worse still, he’s seeking a way to use this excuse as a means to extend his time in office beyond the constitutionally stipulated tenure. In this regard, he’s prepared to change the rules of the game when the game is almost over as he’s now calling on unsuspecting Nigerians to join him in doing this in the name of fighting corruption. Yes, we need to fight corruption, but Obasanjo and those around him are not morally competent or politically credible to lead the charge. They are damaged goods and they know it.
 
 
 
Kennedy Emetulu,
 
London
 
 


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Re: .Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity Clauses
Mango posted on 12-02-2005, 09:29:23 AM
Thanks for a fresh angle on this issue. My fear for 2007 is that I cannot see how the current political machinery will produce a new President with the moral status to fight corruption and govern fairly. The signs are that we will get another OBJ or worse. All the current candidates in the frame are, like OBJ, a product of the morally bankrupt and corrupt class of politicians. Even more worrying is the fact that it will be a monumental task for an upstanding type of politician to get the ticket in 2007.

So that tells me that we are going to have to rely on one of the thieves to emerge and fight the other thieves, that are not currently on his/her side. Just like OBJ is now fighting those that he cannot easily control.

I think our best hope is that these people will fight amongst themselves, and hurt themselves so much that political office will cease to be as attractive to them as it is now. Then the real leaders who want to serve the people will emerge.

So in conclusion, let OBJ continue to bring down corrupt politicians, regardless of whether he is selective in his targets. At some point, those that he is targeting now will muster enough power to fight back. Hopefully, they will destroy themselves, and we will get our country back. There is no honour among thieves.

By the way, are you the Kenn on the ChelseaBlog and cfc-net? I might make it down to the bridge for Liverpool CL game next week, work permitting.

Regards,
Mango
Buhari is a better bet!!!
Unregistered posted on 12-02-2005, 11:56:53 AM
In general a good paper except it seems to fall into the same trap others before have. This is in suggesting that there is no credible alternative to Obasanjo. What a fallacy!

Try Buhari. He is not corrupt and the sharia smear is only that. He may not have the international gravitas of Obasanjo but what Nigeria needs right is internal development first before foreign direct investment can follow. There can be no denying that Buhari is a true patriot and can straighten Nigeria out as he demonstrated before. The political classes are scared ****less of him because they know he takes no prisoners and that they will all head one way (do not pass go, do not collect £200).

Buhari is untainted by business connections as has been suggested of Obasanjo, Atiku, Marwa, Kalu etc. What he lacks in charisma he makes up in steadfastness and a total devotion to the cause of Nigeria.

Buhari however has not got N40bn to prosecute a PDP type campaign. Has anybody asked where PDP got that kind of money from for the last election and what compromises they made? Has anyone asked how much the governors sourced from their "contacts" to fund the campaign and where these contacts got the money from? We can see Transcorp buying up the place and others as yet unnamed rolling in it while the country continues its downward spiral into chaos. Whereas Buhari turned down Abacha money, PDP and others grabbed from wherever they could get it.

If we truly want principled leadership, the resources are there in Nigeria but the same elite who colluded to remove Buhari populate the PDP today and have narrowed the political space. What we need are robust institutions and the PDP has built none. What we see is the continued undermining of the constitution, the legislature and the judiciary.

Mango, "let Obj continue to bring down corrupt politicians selective or not" but his time runs out in 2007.

Aluta!

Gwobezentashi
Re: .Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity Clauses
Unregistered posted on 12-02-2005, 12:09:28 PM
Alamieyesiegha: Nwabueze flays role of EFCC- CDHR, IPC kick over closure of Bayelsa Radio
By Chidi Obineche, Peter Anosike and Nana Ahmadu
Friday, December 2, 2005

Constitutuional Lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabueze has questioned the role of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions, (EFCC) in the celebrated moves to oust the Bayelsa State Governor , Chief Diepreye Alamieyesiegha from office.

The criticism came as the Committee for the Defence Human Rights (CDHR) condemned the closure of the Radio Bayelsa on the order of the federal government, describing the action as anti-people, that is not in tandem with democratic ethos.

The International Press Centre (IPC), also condemned the closure of the Glory FM Radio Station owned by the government of Bayelsa State as well as the arrest of the station's General Manager, Mr.Brighten Sorgwe by policemen believed to be acting under instructions from the Federal Government.
While condemning the action, Coordinator of the International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement yesterday, described the action as condemnable.

He stated that "while we recognise the need to combat corruption at all levels, closure of media houses and arrest of journalists who carry out their legitimate duty under the guise of anti-corruption initiatives are unacceptable."

The statement said that where there are perceived tendentious reports as claimed by the authorities, the federal government ought to have approached relevant institution(s) for appropriate response. "The closure of Glory FM and arrest of Mr. Sorgwe has followed a trend observable in the relationship of this administration where the media has come under attacks by the government or its agencies."

Nwabueze in a statement, Thursday, said he was compelled as a constitutional lawyer, to raise publicly certain questions about the move to remove Governor Alamieyesiegha from office by impeachment.
Describing the entire episode as a mockery of the constitution, due process and democracy, he averred that section 188 of the constitution in the impeachment of the governor of a state by its House of Assembly, does not warrant it taking the members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly to EFCC office in Lagos, to sign an impeachment notice prepared by it, whether or not duress was used to obtain the signatures.

Observing that the legislators are under investigations by the EFCC for the N100million given to each of them for constituency projects, he declared that their signatures on the impeachment notice has been initiated by such undue influence.

Contiuning, he asked that, "Do not the context structure and tenor of the provisions in section 188 (2) of the constitution as well as the serious nature of the removal of a state governor from office by impeachment make it clear that the sub section contemplates and requires a FORMAL OPEN act of presentations on the floor of the house?"
He explains that going by that section, whenever a notice of any allegation in writing signed by not less than one third of the members of the House of Assembly was presented
The CHDR stated that with recent action, it is now clear that the federal government is selective in its anti-corruption, stressing that corruption is not fought the way and manner the present government is pursuing.

CHDR in a statement signed by National Publicity Secretary, Olugbega Soloki, opined that the issue of corruption should be tackled but not in a way that will not follow constitutional pattern and due process of law. According to CDHR "We are amazed at this brazen display to naked power by Obasanjo government, much as there is need for the government to fight corruption, it must not be selective. The recent closure is not tandem with democratic ethos, but a reminder of the despotic rule of military between 1983 and 1999'.

Rather than the forceful closure of the station, the government should allow the process of impeachment of the Governor that has commenced to take its full course which is constitutionally recognized way of dealing with an erring governor, CDHR averred.

The Organization however called on the federal government to order the immediate reopening of the station so that the citizen of the state can continue to enjoy one of the dividends of democracy, namely freedom to information without restriction as allowed by law.

In the same vein, CDHR also berated the Nigerian police force for the arrest and detention of the publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr.Yinka Odumakin, describing it as unnecessary intervention by the police.

CDHR contended that arrest is uncalled for, because the disagreement in Afenifere also rear its head in virtually every political organization, the ruling PDP inclusive, but even where lost, PDP members are not being treated that way.

It is in the light of the above that CDHR calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr.Yinka Odumakin, while Afenifere should be allowed to sort out its differences internally.
Meanwhile, a member of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Mr. Kenechukwu Okolocha has described the actions of the Bayelsa Governor as the product of PDP corrupt system, pointing out that a lion cannot give birth to a sheep.

According to him, the expulsion of Alamieyeseigha is like a pot calling the kettle black as most of the party members have traits of corruption inherent in them.
"If you look at it from the context of the manipulation and corrupt electoral system that produce those pretending to be exercising executive mandate at the centre at present, you will know what I am talking about.

It is also the same system that encouraged a man to abduct a sitting governor and nothing happened to him. The same system encouraged a group of gangsters to invade Anambra State and visited mayhem on the institutions of government without the law blanking an eye.


DAILY SUN 02/12/2005
==========================================================

There is no moral superiority if the State uses unconstitutional methods to snare criminals(big or small). In such guise the State would be no better than those it seeks to prosecute!!
Re: .Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity C
Kenn posted on 12-03-2005, 07:41:32 AM
Mango,

Yes, I'm the same Kenn of the ChelseaBlog and CFC. Nice to know you're a True Blue. I was also looking forward to the Champions League affair against the Scousers until a few days ago when other family commitments turned my plans upside down. But wherever I am on the day, I hope to watch it on television. You are the lucky one!

As per the issue under discussion, you seem to think the evil forces would hurt themselves so bad as to give us an opening? Well, I don't think so! Politics does not allow a vacuum. The worst and the most effective of the evil forces will prevail and lord it over us still, except of course we wake up as citizens to our own oversight responsibilities within the political system. If anyone is waiting for one evil force to clear the Aegean stables for us, all they need do is recall what happened when Babangida was chased away...
Re: .Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity C
Kenn posted on 12-04-2005, 13:24:10 PM
Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sorry Mr Unregistered, the Blue Tide rules the waves! We will be sweeping every opposition in front of us, including the Sorry Scousers, and you know it! What was the score again that last time we met in their own backyard? Good, you know it now. The same score-line will do nicely, thank you.
Re: .Fighting Executive Corruption In Nigeria: The Problem Is Not With The Immunity Clauses
Joseph Monehin posted on 12-05-2005, 10:25:37 AM
I agree entirely with the writer. The problem is not the Immunity clause.
Was it immunity that prevented Makanjuola (Obasanjo's Cousin) from being prosecuted? What about Akwanga and his cohorts of the National ID Card infamy? How come Anyim and N'aaba are no longer being pursued for corruption once they ceased to be threats to his Imperial Excellency? What about Prof. Okebukola who is still occupying his position as NUC Chief Executive even when it was confirmed that he assisted Prof. Osuji to raise the bribe sum for Wabara and Co? Any discerning mind can see that the EFCC and ICPC are both agents established to whip non-compliant and non-connected opposition public officials into line.
We still need the immunity clause so that our political leaders will not be distracted by lawsuits. At least the courts had pronounced that there is no immunity against investigation. Let the relevant agencies investigate and document all suspected cases of abuse of office and let the concerned official be prosecuted as soon as they leave office.
By the way, how come Abubakar Audu has not been charged to court more than 30 months after he left office. In those days, immunity was also the reason why the ICPC claimed it could not do anything to him.
Let the immunity clause be. A sincere government can still fight corruption even with the clause. Let all public officials declare their assets publicly by the time they take office and when they leave office, not secretly to the Code of Conduct Bureau, another agency for witchunting their master's enemies.
In summary, we are saddled with a government of scape goats (Fabian Osuji, Mobolaji Osomo, Tafa Balogun, Adolphus Wabara, DSP Alamieyesegha, etc) and sacred cows (Bode George, Chris Uba, Peter Odili, Tony Anennih, Chimaraoke Nnamani, etc).
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