A professor of Public Law, Yemi Akinseye George, has suggested that appointments of friends and close associates into strategic positions in the country remain an albatross to successfully fighting corruption figh and the overall well-being of the country.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) indicated that the war against corrupt practices and persons in the country is not yielding the much desired results as expected by Nigerians.
At a media presentation of its latest report titled: “No escape for the corrupt: Lifting the lid on asset declarations in Nigeria”, put together by Socio- Economics Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the professor said the fight against corruption has not been effective, for instance, the Assets Declaration Initiative of the federal government through the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
They Public Law expert decried the level of disharmony among the anti-corruption agencies, saying that such discord would not only hamper the corruption fight but make every effort futile. He called on every anti- corruption agencies to work hand in glove with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since the task of fighting corruption so taxing and should not be left in the hands of CCB alone.
‘Collaboration and unity of purpose is key. The EFCC, ICPC and office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) must see themselves as partners in progress and not otherwise,’ he said.
George called for constitutional review of the constitution to give room to a better and more generally acceptable way and manner of appointing and firing some political appointees if expected results must be met.
He moved for the balkanization of the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice from one person to allow effective and efficient job to be done.
‘The constitution at the moment does not serve public interest. The National Assembly needs to review some sections of the constitution so that the appointment and removal of heads of anti -corruption agencies and other MDAs would no longer be in the exclusive hands of the president but it must pass through the NASS.
‘We do not want a situation where a president will wake up one morning and appoint or fire someone at will, such actions destabilizes and frustrates corruption fight. How can a board made up of politicians succeed in fighting corrupt persons at the other side. Are they not the same people? Nigeria do not need cronies but experts and professionals to head anti- corruption and MDAs, whose track records are clean after public scrutiny. How can two anti- corruption agencies be at each other’s neck, it is quite appalling.’
He said that the most potent antidote for corruption is ‘prevention’, this according to him would be achieved if the right persons (in the sight of the public) are in the right places and time with the adequate constitutional backup and independence.
‘We are not really fighting corruption, we just appear to be doing something, CCB must be supported and strengthened, there should be checks and balances, they government knows what to do, but the political will to take actions is not there.
‘If the power to fire the service Chiefs does not exclusively rest on the president, Nigerians wouldn’t have been wailing and imploring the president to fire them since the security situation in the country has worsen. We can’t wait forever. Someone needs to rise now and put things in order- this must start with the NASS because they have the power to right the wrongs by subjecting every strategic head of critical MDAs to Public scrutiny, monitoring and firing where and when necessary,’ he stressed.