Nigeria’s Political System Is ‘Very Dysfunctional, Counterproductive’ – Oyebode

Professor Akin Oyebode speaks during an interview on Channels Television on June 12, 2020.

 

 

A professor of law, Akin Oyebode, has faulted the political system in the country, 21 years after the return to civil rule.

Speaking during his appearance on Channels TV’s Democracy Day programme on Friday, he believes the present system is counterproductive for the nation’s development.

Assessing the nation’s democracy since 1999, Professor Oyebode said, “I think this is a work in progress.”

“The question of the Nigerian political system; it’s problematic, it’s an ongoing issue.”

“The word restructuring might be problematic to some people but to most objective observers, the system we are operating is very dysfunctional and counterproductive,” he added.

 

The professor of law recalled that he was among the over 400 delegates who attended the 2014 National Conference (CONFAB) organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to him, the question of the nature of the polity and what needed to be done to ameliorate its dysfunctionality resonated very loudly at the event, but nothing has yet to be done six years later.

Professor Oyebode stressed that it was not the duty of the National Assembly to create a national constitution.

He said, “The CONFAB came up with over 600 resolutions, but nothing has been done to date to effectuate those recommendations which would have made the Nigerian polity a little bit easier to understand to enhance its functionality.

“If you don’t want to touch the recommendations of the CONFAB, then you need another forum, not the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly is to make laws for the peace, order, and good governance of Nigeria; it is not a constituent assembly. It is neither the place nor the role, or function of the National Assembly to give us a constitution.”

Nigeria’s Constitution Is Military, Illegitimate – Professor Oyebode

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode.

 

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, has described the Nigerian constitution as military in nature and illegitimate.

Oyebode made the comment Tuesday on Sunrise Daily during a discussion of the Nigerian Senate’s recent decision to review the constitution.

He noted that the current constitution does not reflect the will of the Nigerian majority since it was cobbled together by a few people and imposed on the country.

The renowned academic also pointed out that it was not in the Senate’s place to give Nigerians a new constitution. “We got it wrong,” he said.

Oyebode went on to call for the composition of a constituent assembly that represents the totality of Nigerians.

The new constitution, Oyebode noted, should elaborate on true federalism.

What Oyebode actually said?

“It is not for the National Assembly to give Nigerians a constitution. It is the constitution that will give birth to the National Assembly. The job of the National Assembly is to make workaday laws for the peace, order and good government of Nigeria. So it is the constituent assembly that will deliberate and fashion out a fundamental law for Nigeria.

“If we agree that the military decree that is masquerading as a constitution is worse than useless; then of course we have to go about replacing it with a basic law of Nigeria.

“We have to elaborate on true federalism. We need devolution of powers. We should not be running to Abuja for every little thing.

“What we have been operating under the military constitution is a quasi-federal arrangement. So the constituent units don’t have the freedom to legislate on matters that affect their constituents.

“It is not the national assembly that should give us a new constitution. We the people or our representatives formed into a constituent assembly should discuss the modalities of living together. 

“What we’ve been having, talking of the Decree 24 of 1979, is an illegitimate instrument. Where did we people gather to discuss and agree to live together? We never had that. It was a product of a military dictate. What you had was the Abdusalam constitution – I believe 29 Nigerians were constituted to draft the 1999 constitution.

“Nigerians now have the right to enact to themselves the fundamental law that will regulate how they are living together. 

“If the infelicities of that constitution are well known, we would be wasting time recounting how unworkable a quasi-federal set up is for a country that has over 400 ethnic groups. And that’s why we’ve been in the jam that we find ourselves. 

“I think we have to get it right finally by setting up a constituent assembly that will produce a draft constitution which will be voted on by the generality of Nigerians.”

Amotekun: AGF Misdirected Himself – Oyebode

 

A professor of law, Akin Oyebode, has said that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, misdirected himself when he declared Operation Amotekun an illegal security outfit.

The AGF on January 14, 2020, said the Southwest-driven paramilitary organization called “Amotekun” runs contrary to the provisions of the Nigerian law.

Professor Oyebode said the comments attributed to Mr. Malami, only attempt to stop the Southwest Governors from self-help in addressing insecurity in the region.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Govt Builds Grazing Reserve To Tackle Herders, Farmers’ Crisis

 

 

In a chat with Channels Television, Professor Oyebode said issues relating to defence is on the exclusive list and Nigeria does not need to create another Army to protect it as a Nation.

“The AGF misdirected himself in his statement by linking it with defence; defence is a matter on the exclusive list, we don’t need different Army’s in the country.

“In terms of stopping people from self-help, I think the Amotekun solution is noble and quite attractive.”

He gave examples of similar moves done by other regions in the country, stating that the initiators of Amotekun should be lauded rather than condemned.

“In different parts of the country, different states have devised interesting methods of law enforcement. In the religious-minded part of the country, we have Hisbah which handles matters that are offensive to Islam.

“Even in the Northeast, you have the Civilian Joint Task Force who helps the military in maintaining order, rather than condemning the Southwest, I think they need to be saluted and congratulated.”

The President Needs To Rejig His Kitchen Cabinet – Oyebode

The President Needs To Rejig His Kitchen Cabinet Oyebode

 

A professor of law, Akin Oyebode, says there is the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to reorganise his cabinet.

He recalled that it took the President six months to appoint ministers in his first term, stressing that such a delay should be avoided this time around.

Professor Oyebode, who was a guest on The Inauguration on Channels Television, believes that without any change, there won’t be any significant difference between the President’s second term and the last four years of his administration.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Osinbajo Sworn In For Second Term

 

He said, “It seems we are in for more of the same. There’s not going to be any dramatic shift in the way we carry on or the way the President runs his government.

“I think the President needs to rejig his kitchen cabinet. His advisers have to advise him on the propriety of action. This doesn’t take the people into account.”

The professor also faulted the absence of a speech by the President after he took the oath of office for a second.

He, however, said he understood the Presidents decision for a low-key inauguration on the grounds that there may not be a need to over-celebrate when his victory was being challenged at the Election Petitions Tribunal.

Professor Oyebode said, “Maybe he is still suffering from the problem of the judicial because the matter of his presidency is hanging in the air and so, he might not want to overdo it because the court still has to decide.”

Talking about electoral jurisprudence, Professor Oyebode condemned the trend where, according to him, the court now takes ‘very interesting drastic position’ on electoral matters.

“The judges are now replacing themselves from the electorate. It seems the judges now decide who holds political office; it’s not a good day for Nigerian democracy,” he said.

The professor made the comments shortly after the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Tanko, administered the oath of office on President Buhari.

The President was inaugurated shortly after Justice Tanko swore in the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Inauguration: Oyebode Faults Absence Of Presidential Speech

Inauguration: Oyebode Faults Absence Of Presidential Speech
Professor Akin Oyebode

 

A professor of law, Akin Oyebode, has faulted the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to give a speech after he took the oath of office for a second term.

Professor Oyebode stated this on Wednesday during a special programme on Channels Television, The Inauguration.

He said, “We have to separate issues; the ceremonial event of 12th of June is different from the inauguration of the President. The President has from today; begin a new term of office.”

READ ALSO: Buhari, Osinbajo Sworn In For Second Term

“If his speechwriters were properly guided, he would have spoken about the need to change the architecture of security, the new ministers,” the don added.

“He had four years to prepare for this transition; this is motion without movement. The yearnings, aspirations, goals, dreams of people would seem to have been dashed.”

Professor Oyebode said the failure of the President to give a speech was almost contemptuous.

According to him, an address would have given some inspirational statements that would give the people some succour.

The professor also condemned the failure of the organisers to promote the culture of the Nigerian people at the event to mark the beginning of another four years for the President.

He said, “This military parade with Scottish back pipes introducing the President reminds me of the fact that we don’t even have a culture; a political culture so to speak.

“We have to lean very heavily on the militarist culture to give the whole ceremony some semblance of ceremony.”

“For me, I am grossly disappointed at those who are behind the planning and organisation, they are taking Nigerians for granted”, Professor Oyebode added.

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Tanko, administered the oath of office on President Buhari at about 10:42 am.

 

The President was inaugurated shortly after Justice Tanko swore in the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

Police, Power Sector Top SERAP’s List of ‘Most Corrupt Institutions’ In Nigeria

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

A survey conducted by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed that the Nigeria Police and the Power Sector are the most corrupt public institutions in Nigeria.

The survey which was launched by Professor Akin Oyebode on Tuesday in Lagos said the exercise captured responses of Nigerians and 70 percent placed the Judiciary, Education and Health ministries next, to complete a top five list.

Oyebode noted that; “Nigeria is looked upon as a giant of Africa. Yet Nigeria could not conduct free, fair and credible elections. It is a smear on the image of Nigeria. If we do away with selective enforcement and condonation of corruption, we will build and live in a better society. Corruption is a refined form of stealing. The politicians are stealing our common patrimony. Development of the people is almost inversely proportional to the level of corruption.”

READ ALSO: Five-Year-Old Kidnapped In Delta Rescued In Nasarawa – Police

However, the survey highlighted that the high levels of corruption in public institutions in Nigeria had not changed in the last five years.

According to the survey, “a bribe is paid in 54% of interactions with the police. In fact, there is a 63% probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police. That is almost two out of three.”

“Corruption remains a significant impediment to law enforcement, access to justice and basic public services such as affordable healthcare, education, and electricity supply. Several Nigerians have to pay a bribe to access police, judiciary, power, education and health services. Corruption is still a key concern in the country with 70% of Nigerians describing the level of corruption as high and in the same measure, stating that corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years.”

“The police were the most adversely ranked on this indicator. For every 100 police interactions reported by the respondents, there was a bribe paid in 54 interactions. The prevalence levels stood at 37% in the power sector and 18% in education, 17.7% in the judiciary and 14% in the health sector.”

The survey urged the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council should investigate complaints of bribery and corruption against police officers and review all outstanding cases of judicial corruption.

“The Inspector General of Police should receive and investigate complaints of bribery and corruption against police officers filed by members of the public. The police should liaise with community leaders and civil society organisations in regard to incidents of police bribery and corruption within the community.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council should identify and review all outstanding cases of judicial corruption and refer such cases to appropriate anti-corruption agencies. They should apply the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in a consistent and transparent manner, with full respect for the fundamental guarantees of fair trial and due process.”

According to SERAP, the survey targeted a total of 2,655 respondents selected from seven states spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the capital city of Abuja.

Nigeria’s Constitution Is An Illegitimate Instrument, Says Oyebode

 

Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Mr Akin Oyebode, has described the Nigerian Constitution as an illegitimate instrument.

The professor said this on Monday, during a special programme on Channels Television to mark the country’s 58th Independence day anniversary.

He stated that the Constitution is outdated and needs to reflect the spirit of the current age.

Read Also: Nigerians Have Been Poorly Served By Past Leaders – Oyebode

“The problem I think the Patriots pointed out some time ago is that that constitution, decree 24 of 1999 is a military dictat. It tells a lie against itself.

“What you are brandishing as the Constitution of Nigeria is an illegitimate instrument. The Patriots have said it and Ben Nwabueze continues to say it. I attend meetings on the black table where Ben Nwabueze presides, and he will tell you that the constitution is a fraud, that we have to jettison it and do an autochthonous constitution for ourselves.

“So, let us recognise the limitations of the 1999 so-called constitution. We need a constitution which reflects the spirit of the age,” he said.

Oyebode further stated that a lot of the problems that have persisted in the country were a result of the attitude of the people.

He said, “A people get the government that they deserve.

“If Nigerians are complacent and they will not stand up to immoral conduct, then we justify that particular conduct and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and quite sincerely the judges too, they have part of the blame but they don’t have all the blame”.

Nigerians Have Been Poorly Served By Successive Leaders – Oyebode

 

Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Mr Akin Oyebode, has stressed the need for restructuring, saying that Nigerians have been poorly served by past leaders.

Mr Oyebode said this on Monday during a special programme on Channels Television to mark Nigeria’s 58th anniversary.

He said, “Well, in 1960, I was just 12 years old and we had dreams. 58 years later, we’ve been poorly served by the succession of leaders that we’ve had”.

When asked what form the restructuring should take, the professor stated that there have been various suggestions. He, however, stated that a major aspect would be reducing the power at the center.

“People have different attitudes to restructuring.

“There were two suggestions, one by the late Alex Ekwueme to reconstitute the Nigerian Federation into eight geographical zones and the other by General Abacha who wanted six geopolitical zones in terms of constituting the federation.

“The jury is still out on whether we should be six geographical zones or eight.

“We want to Federal Government to shed weight,” Mr Oyebode said.

It’s Not A Hyperbole To Say This Govt Is Clueless – Oyebode

It’s Not A Hyperbole To Say This Govt Is Clueless – Oyebode
File photo: Professor Akin Oyebode appeared as a guest on Sunrise Daily on February 14, 2017.

 

A professor of law, Mr Akin Oyebode, has criticised the present administration as a clueless government.

The don said this on Friday in Lagos when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

He was reacting to the comments made by the Founder of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates, who faulted part of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

READ ALSO: FG’s Growth Plan ‘Doesn’t Fully Reflect People’s Needs’, Says Bill Gates

 

The ERGP is a medium-term plan for 2017-2020 launched by President Buhari in 2017, which sets out an ambitious roadmap to achieve a seven per cent growth rate for Nigeria by 2020.

Going by Gates’ evaluation of the ERGP at the expanded National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Thursday in Abuja, Professor Oyebode said it was not an overstatement to describe the present government as clueless.

“There was a time we used to call the Jonathan government clueless and today, it’s not a hyperbole to say this is a clueless administration, in many respects,” he said. “And it doesn’t need a Bill Gates to tell us that we are not doing what we need to do.”

 

Despite the release of the Dapchi schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists on February 19, the academic believes much is still expected from the government.

He pointed out the gap between the government and its citizens and took a swipe at the National Orientation Agency (NOA) for not being efficient in discharging its duties.

Oyebode added that although the defenders will not agree that “the government is on the ropes”, Nigerians are tired of the routine style of administration.

According to him, there seems to be a “tremendous rapport if not support” for the antics of Boko Haram.

The professor decried that such situation is worrisome because the government has yet to convince and win the hearts and minds of the people.

“We should be able to convince the people to have faith and confidence in their government; but when you see the people celebrating and joyfully hailing those who did them ill, who kidnapped schoolgirls; then something is amiss,” he said.

Professor Oyebode, however, advised the government to put in more effort in sensitising the ordinary people in the troubled North East, saying the amnesty granted repentant Boko Haram members is not enough.

 

APC Yet To Get Its Grip On Governance – Akin Oyebode

Akin Oyebode

 

A professor of law at the University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode, says the All Progressives Congress (APC) is yet to get its grip on Nigeria’s governance.

He said this on Sunday during his appearance on a special programme on Channels Television, to review the political events in the country since the beginning of 2017.

Despite the fact that it has been more than two years since the APC took over power at the centre from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the political expert said the ruling party is yet to acknowledge that it won the election.

“The APC has not demonstrated the requisite panache for governance,” he said. “I think they are still yet to come to terms with the fact that they won an election.”

According to the don, the seemingly unstable condition of both leading parties has led Nigerians to a situation he described as a “terrible conjuncture” in the nation’s politics.

“You have the bus of the APC with a knocked engine and you have the bus of the PDP verging us for a second ‘one chance’ (you know what Nigerians mean by one chance); we have … a really no choice and people are talking of a third force,” he added.

The professor further stressed the need for the ruling party and other political parties to be up and doing to ensure adequate checks and balances in the nation’s governance.

He was worried that the PDP was unable to deliver as much as possible to the people during its 61-year reign, while the APC is yet to take a stand as the ruling party.

Oyebode said: “PDP lost the presidential election but by default, APC is in power but in the last two and a half years, we’ve not seen that grip on the nation stay – including the last few days, what we have seen.

“So what I am saying really is that the PDP was in power for 16 years and with all the thieving, stealing which I understand was not the same thing as corruption, and then you have the APC government unable to establish a firm grip on the political system.”

Buhari Should At Least Speak To Nigerians – Akin Oyebode

oyebodeA Professor of International law and Jurisprudence at the University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speak to Nigerians from his vacation base in London.

According to the professor, this move has become even more necessary after President Buhari’s phone conversation with the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

Mr Oyebode added that Nigerians have a right to know the whereabouts of their president and it would only be fair for him to address citizens in order to dispel rumors in the country about his health.

“I have seen pictures in the papers and he looks okay, and the wife says pray for him and all that, to assure us that everything is okay

“If the president can find the time to talk o Donald Trump, then he should be able to talk to us.

“He believes that it is not enough to hear that everything is okay with the president”.

The professor made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily.

This is coming days after President Buhari wrote to the National Assembly on February 5, 2017, stating his desire to extend his leave in order to complete and receive the results of series of tests recommended by his doctors.

He was billed to return from the 10-day vacation on Monday February 6, 2017.

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has since been performing his duties as Acting President.

Oyebode Debunks Claim Of Crude Oil Ownership By Northern Elders

Akin-Oyebode-Professor-of-Intl-LawA renowned Professor of International Law, Akin Oyebode, has debunked a claim by some northern elders that the oil resources of the Niger Delta should be controlled by them because of their vast land.

The Professor described the argument as mischievous and provocative.

He went on state that the principle of burden and benefit, provides that when a people suffer degradation and pollution as a result of oil exploration activities, they should also have the privilege of enjoying the benefits from such activities.

As a way of resolving this dispute, Oyebode has therefore called for the adoption of the 2014 National Conference Resolution on Derivation Formula.