Another Electoral Reform Committee Not Necessary – Dele Ashiru

Dele-AshiruA lecturer at the University of Lagos Political Science Department, Dele Ashiru, has berated the Nigerian government for its refusal to implement the recommendations of past committees that have been set up to review the country’s electoral system.

He was a guest of Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, October 4, the day the Federal Government had fixed to inaugurate the electoral reform committee to be headed by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

Ashiru wondered to what extent the recommendations of past electoral committees have been implemented in Nigeria, particularly the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel.

“This is a panel instituted by government to look at grey areas within the electoral process and I dare say that the panel had done a commendable job, at least according to all those who have assessed the report of the Uwais’ panel.

“So, one is surprised that another panel is being instituted when critical recommendations by the Uwais panel are yet to be implemented,” he said.

He described the Nnamani panel as diversionary and unnecessary as he also wondered what area of the electoral system had not been covered by the Justice Uwais report.

Mr Ashiru highlighted some of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais panel which he believed if implemented would provide solutions to many challenges faced during elections in Nigeria.

He mentioned the need for the Electoral Offences Commission and the exemption of INEC from the internal affairs of political parties, as key recommendations that should be implemented.

“What this government should be doing, which I think should represent the ‘change’ upon which they campaigned is to take the bold step in implementing these recommendations,” he maintained.

He also condemned the choice of Senator Ken Nnamani as the head of the committee, saying he is a “known partisan politician”.

“What manner of reform do you expect from a panel composed of purely politicians?” he asked.

University Don Sceptical Of Positive National Conference Outcome

AshiruA lecturer of Political Science with the University of Lagos (UNILAG), has expressed fears that the National Conference holding in Nigeria, which adjourned until August 4, will go the way of other similar conferences held in the past.

While giving his opinion on the outcome of the conference on Tuesday on a Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Dele Ashiru, said that the disagreement over how revenue should be shared and the devolution of power were issues that needed to be resolved.

He expressed displeasure with the way the delegates were selected to represent Nigerians saying that they do not represent the mandate of Nigerians.

”One issue with the National Conference, is that when you nominate people to go to the conference and those names do not approximate Nigerians’ mandate, it is doubtful whether they can represent the true aspirations of Nigerians. From which sector of Nigeria society did they get them from and are they negotiating on behalf of the people they never discussed with but nominated by the president and not representing anybody,” Mr Ashiru said.

On the relevance of the issues that were discussed at the conference and the resolutions reached so far, he said that the devolution of power was a welcomed idea, explaining that “once the power is devolved it will reduce the quantum of resources at the Federal level and put people in charge of their own destiny, empowering them to hold political office holders accountable for their actions and inaction. Everybody hides their indolence on the premise that it is a federal exclusive item when they fail to deliver good  governance”.

He also spoke on the resolution of the conference for more states to be created, pointing out that “everyone is talking about creation of state because they know they will get money and development will circulate, with derivation money to share”.

Mr Ashiru called for true federalism, pointing out that some of Nigeria’s problems would be solved if every federating unit, whether state or region, was allowed to control resources in their respective areas and pay a certain percentage. He also emphasised the need to take away all issues on the exclusive list such as currency, foreign policy and defence.

He stressed that Nigerians needed to engage the fundamental areas and solve the problem from those fundamental points.

“Also the people need to be empowered enough to be able to demand accountability from whoever is leading them or we will just be gravitating the way we are doing now,” the political scientist said.

 

Nigerians Must Be More Militant Towards Corruption – Babatunde Gbadamosi

Babtunde GbadamosiA political analyst, Babatunde Gbadamosi, on Saturday said citizens of Nigeria are “doing very badly” in the fight against corruption and called on the people to assume a more militant stance against the bane of corruption on the society’s progress.

“We must be more militant about corruption. We must be more vigilant about corruption and we must be more bi-partisan,” Mr Gbadamosi stressed.

Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Gbadamosi said some agencies and non-governmental agencies were “doing quite well” in terms of whistle blowing but he discredited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for having a “rather chequered history”.

He cited an example of former Delta State governor, James Ibori, who was jailed in the United Kingdom for the same offences he was declared not guilty by a Nigerian court.

This, he said, puts a “massive, giant, ugly question mark on the integrity of the judiciary in Nigeria”. He, however, commended the efforts of the Chief Justice in sanitising the Judicial arm of government.

On the legislative arm of government, Gbadamosi expressed doubts that lawmakers were prepared to fight corruption as a budget presentation of 4.7 billion Naira by the EFCC was denied by the National Assembly.

While blaming politicians for the rot, Gbadamosi said that the PDP cannot be absolved from the stain as some of its members were corrupt, just as there were in other parties.

Responding to a comment that citizens who advocate stringent measures against corruption are the most corrupt ones, by President Goodluck Jonathan, a senior lecturer at the Nigerian Law School, Nelson Ogbuanya, said “the president was right.”

He went further to say that the trend was cultural, as corrupt persons and those who benefit from corruption were quick to speak against it. He maintained that corruption had become cultural, as ethnic groups expect their natives, who are in positions of power, to secure the wealth and good fortune of their tribe first.

On his part, a lecturer of the department of political science at the University of Lagos, Dele Ashiru, insisted that “you cannot fight corruption outside the State and once the State itself is corrupt or is corruption personified, there’s really nothing the agencies can do in terms of fighting corruption.”

He stressed that corruption was a global phenomenon; hence, it should not be fought from a partisan standpoint. “The important thing about corruption is what you do or refuse to do about corruption,” he said.

 

Boko Haram Is A Failure of Leadership – Ashiru

Dele Ashiru UNILAGA Political Scientist at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, has attributed the state of insecurity in Nigeria to a failure of leadership, occasioned by the nature of Nigerian politics.

He also extended the purported leadership deficiency to the military forces which he accused of fighting terrorism without a strategy. Ashiru was Channels Television’s guest on Sunrise Daily.

He made reference to the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, whom he accused of putting blames on the media rather than confronting the situation as the Chief of Defence Staff. He also berated the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, for putting the responsibility of fighting Boko Haram on the people.

He asked, “Which people? The disillusioned people? The people who are on a daily basis being challenged by the failure of Government at all levels?”

“Boko Haram didn’t start as a terrorist organization; it became a terrorist group after the killing of Mohammed Yusuf. Until as we speak, the military captured Mohammed Yusuf alive, handed him over to the Police – if I’m correct, and between that space of two minutes, the guy was gone” he said, while explaining his earlier statement, “we must address the issue of justice.”

He noted that there cannot be peace without justice, irrespective of what the challenges facing the country were. He explained, “Whether you talk about militancy, agitation, or terrorism; at the root of all of these is the question of justice. There is injustice everywhere.”

He insisted that “Those who were extra judicially killed for whatever idea they profess deserve some form of justice and you need to also increase intelligence gathering.”

He continued, “Some people have been named; senators, governors – Kabiru Umar, was arrested in a government lodge in Abuja; Zakari Biu (Commissioner of Police who was dismissed for  engineering the jailbreak of Kabiru Sokoto). There is some kind of unholy alliance between some characters within the Nigerian state.”

On the role of the people in the fight against terrorism, he enthused, “the people can help only if they are sure that they have a leadership that can protect them in all ramifications.”

National Conference: Delegates Should Be Elected Not Chosen – Ashiru

A Political Scientist, Dele Ashiru, has criticised the planned selection of delegates to represent Nigerians at the proposed National Conference, insisting that it should be by “election”.

He said that his opinion was informed by the fact that the same people who had put Nigeria in its current position would be selected, if the delegation would be based on selection.

“The delegates should be elected from a list of persons put together as an electoral college,  made of a group of stakeholders and elder statesmen that have impacted the nation,” he emphasised.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Ashiru stressed that “the composition of the conference seem to under estimate what the conference is supposed to do”. He said that the conference world present a great opportunity for Nigerians to handle and address issues, but insisted that “recycling people that have put the nation into the situation it is” should not be allowed.

Mr. Ashiru further pointed out the need to ensure that at least 50% of people that would be in the conference had the mandate of a group of Nigerians.

He insisted that those going for the conference should get the mandate of Nigerians, as the final document from the conference would be aggregated into the constitution.