Friday, 21 May 2010

Editorial: "Iborification" Of Corruption In Nigeria

"Iborification" of corruption in Nigeria is a system of narrowing the cankerworm of corruption plaguing Nigeria to one man named James Ibori, who once ruled Delta state of Nigeria as governor for eight years from 1999 to 2007.

This system was foisted on the public psyche by a section of the media whose proprietors, angered by the exclusionist tendency of the Yar'Adua administration. decided to take it out on the most visible beneficiary of the regime.

Fact is that Mr.  James Ibori and others like Bola Tinubu, Orji Uzor Kalu, Boni Haruna, Josiah Dariye, et al, when they held the helms in their states were alleged to have plundered the resources of their respective states to enrich their private pockets and those of their hangers on.

When most of the accused persons lost their constitutionally gurranteed immunity from prosecution, they, including James Ibori were arrested by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), arraigned in various courts and were granted bail.

Usually, those being prosecuted allege political persecution. While this allegation most times are unfounded, they have been found to be true in some cases.

chidi opara reports recall that Mr. James Ibori have never been the political darling of a prominent Ijaw leader known to be the President's mentor. We also recall  that while the President was Vice-president during the Umaru Yar'Adua administration, Mr. Ibori was named in schemes to humiliate the occupant of the office.

So immediately the then Vice-president was proclaimed Acting President, a group of elders from Delta state filed a petition to EFCC, detailing brand new allegations against Mr. Ibori. Ibori alleged political persecution, disappeared and was consequently declared wanted with all the security apparatus unleashed on his trail. chidi opara reports also recall that at the time of Ibori's pursuit, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, known to be in the same political camp with the President, who was declared wanted earlier, surfaced and was granted "administrative bail" by the EFCC. Though El-Rufai have been arraigned in court, the enthusiasm of the Ibori case is clearly missing.

We do not by any means absolve Mr. James Ibori, who have been arrested in Dubai, United Arab Emirates of the allegations against him, we are of the opinion that if the security apparatus deployed in the Ibori matter was also deployed in other high profile cases being handled by the EFCC, the nation's anti-corruption war would have been atleast half won by now.

The EFCC should not allow Ibori's allegation of political persecution to stick, this can only happen if other high profile cases are not handled with equal enthusiasm. The EFCC should never allow its attention on other equally important cases to be diverted by this "Iborification" of corruption in Nigeria. James Ibori is just one of the many high profile accused persons.

Photospeak: Europe's Debt Profile

News Release: ARG Commends Rejection Of Two-Party System

It is with utmost interest that Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) commends Nigeria ’s House of Representatives for rejecting a two-party system and for retaining multiparty democracy for Nigeria .

As we all know, the right to multiparty system in Nigeria has a constitutional basis. Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of association “with other persons” and “any political party, trade union or any association.” This also finds support in African Charter of Peoples and Human Rights and the Protocols of ECOWAS. And lest we forget, it was the legal battle and, subsequently, the victory that Gani Fawehinmi fought and won for Nigerians in the Supreme Court.

Without doubt, Nigeria is not the only country with multiparty democracy. As we speak, there are 367 registered political parties in Great Britain and 46 in Northern Ireland. United States of America, interestingly, a country we are quick to mention when issues of this nature arise, also practises multiparty democracy. Apart from its two major and three minor political parties, there are also others appropriately classifed as active, inactive and regional. Ghana has twenty and there is every proof to show that South Africa and Benin Republic practise multiparty democracy. From the foregoing, one cannot but doubt the motive of the wonderboys of our own system, those who never struggled for, but are mere benefiaciaries of the people’s struggle.

Admitted! Some of these parties are formed for the sole purpose of collecting grants and related funds from the government. However, the idea that having so many parties is unwieldy does not hold water.

Again, Nigerians should not forget in a hurry that Ibrahim Babangida’s two party contraption on Nigerians was by military fiat. Needless to repeat here also that the annulment of June 12, 1993 elections, adjuged both locally and internationally, as the freest and fairest in the country, was also by military fiat. Why then do we have to trek a despicable path that has not in any way led the people to the Promised Land?

Yes! As things stand, there are more than 50 registered political parties in Nigeria. Nevertheless, all over the world, where dominant parties have emerged, it has been through the electorate, not by any fiat.

It is our considered view that the problem of Nigeria has nothing to do with political parties. Rather, it has got to do with having a credible system and credible umpires; where people will vote and their votes will count.

So, what we need is Electoral Reforms which the National assembly has so far treated with contempt. And let nobody close the democratic space because we fought for it!

‘Yinka Odumakin,
National Publicity Secretary,
Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG