List Of Nigeria’s Ministers Is Like A ‘Mix Bag’ – Prof Oyebode

Akin-Oyebode-Professor-of-Intl-Law on Ministers A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Professor Akin Oyebode on Wednesday gave his opinion about the choices of Ministers and portfolios given to them by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He says the list of Ministers looks like a ‘mix bag’.

“You have some very brilliant and interesting people, with tremendous antecedents and some a little bit less so. I have a feeling that we have a bitter-sweet experience with the ministers that have just been appointed, especially in relation to the portfolios assigned,” Professor Oyebode said.

On the reduced number of ministries, he said that the government had taken the decision as a deliberate attempt to save funds.

“Enforcing The Slimming Diet”

According to him, the decision was in line with the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress during the campaigns that brought President Buhari in.

“The focus of the government is diversification of the economy so that we will not continue to rely on petroleum products. So, we have to look into other areas like solid minerals and agriculture.

“I suppose that these are the things that informed the President in streamlining and enforcing the slimming diet on the Nigerian bureaucracy,” he said.

The Professor of Law said that the choice of Mr Babatunde Fashola, was not a wrong one, as he [Fashola] had “in the last eight years handled things that are involved in the type of responsibilities that Buhari has trust unto him”.

“When you put somebody in charge of Power, Housing and Works, that is a mega ministry. Fashola did a lot in Lagos State in terms of transformation and I think President Buhari wants to exploit his antecedents and track records as a miracle worker. I think it is a challenge that Fashola will rise up to, Professor Oyebode explained.

“Tail Wagging The Dog”

On the choice of the Minister of Education and the Minister of State for Education, he said it was a tragedy, insisting that a professor, who had ran, a university should not be a sidekick to an accountant turned communist.

“It can only happen in a country like this,” he said, further insisting that Tony Anwuka deserved more than being a Minister of State for Education.

President Buhari had named Mr Adamu Adamu the Minister of Education and Mr Anwuka the Minister of States for Education.

But Professor Oyebode was of the opinion that Mr Adamu had no experience in the education sector.

“The core competency is missing from Adamu Adamu and that is why I call it a case of the tail wagging the dog.”

On the choice of the Minister of Finance, Professor Oyebode was pessimistic that Kemi Adeosun, who was made the Minister of Finance, could handle the Nigerian economy.

He insisted that experts in the field could have been a better choice and envisaged a review of the cabinet, which he said was not far-fetched.

Nigerian Electorates Told To Prioritise Individuals’ Performance Not Religion

Akin_Oyebode_ProfessorNigerian electorates have been asked to first consider the performance of candidates vying for political positions before their religious affiliations and ethnicity.

A Professor of International Law with the University of Lagos, Professor Akin Oyebode, said on Friday that the issue of religion that delayed the choice of a running mate for the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), was skin deep because “it will not put food on the table”.

“We know what the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has put on the table in the last 15 years or so,” he said, referring to the APC as the joker in the 2015 presidential election.

Before the selection of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as the running mate of the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, critics, including a former president, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, had stressed that a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the party would be a flaw for it in the presidential election.

Professor Oyebode said: “The choice of Buhari and Osinbajo seems to be a ticket that should be given a considerable attention.

“What people do not know is that Osinbajo is an activist against corruption. He set up the integrity NGO in terms of good corporate governance,” he said.

The Professor further pointed out that General Buhari’s track record on anti-corruption was also a good point for the party.

“With what we have seen before now and what is promised for Nigeria for a turn around, I think we are in for interesting times and I am optimistic that there would be a dare choice in terms of the ticket.

“We should not border so much about the process that brought professor Osinbajo in.”

He further explained that the sentiment on the religion of the candidates was as a result of what was happening in the north-east.

“Religion factor is a red-herring, but good governance should be the acid-test for any arrangement that we have.

“Nigerians are asking for a change and to bring the change you have to be circumspect so you do not throw away the baby with the water.

“Nigerians should vote, either to keep the status quo or they want to move Nigeria forward. If we are not okay with what we have seen in the last 15 years, then the time for change is now,” he said, emphasising that the ballot box is a platform to change the trend of things, if Nigerians feel they are not as they should be.

Professor Oyebode also stressed the need for people in governance to ensure that individuals of  integrity are chosen to head institutions, in order to make them outstanding.

Giving his opinion on the state of the nation, Professor Oyebode, who was a delegate at the national conference held few months ago to fashion out a new constitution that will move the oil rich nation forward, expressed fears that “not much will come out of it despite all the promises that the recommendations will be actualised”.

“The report is still gathering dust on the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. We wanted a new constitution for Nigeria because Nigeria has been living a lie.  What we have is decree 24 of 1999 which is masquerading as the constitution of Nigeria.

“The National Assembly seem to have stolen all the recommendations of the conference, but  if you want to move Nigeria forward, look at the leadership we have had from 1999 to date.

“Nigerians should ask themselves if their lives have been better since 1999. If their lives have improved then they should vote for what they have, but if has not changed, then the 2015 election is a platform that they should use to make a choice that will change their state.

“That is what democracy is all about. The right to choose and to use the ballot box to vote out a government that is under-performing.

“You must challenge the government. Ask uncomfortable questions of your leaders. We should do away with the carry-go mentality.

“Critics are not enemies because it is the supreme act of patriotism to be critical of your government. The more critics we have the better for our country.

On whether the girls that were abducted in April by members of the Boko Haram sect would be rescued as the government had continued to promise, he said “the rescue operation of the Chibok girls is a lost cause”.



Fashola, Oyebode Urge Nigerians To Vote Out Incompetent Leaders

Governor-FasholaLagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Thursday said Nigerians must have the courage to change leaders who does not live up to their responsibilities.

The Governor who spoke at the Lecture and Awards Ceremony for the Mike Okonkwo Educational and Youth Initiative Essay Competition (MOEYI) which took place at the Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan said it is no longer democratic when the people have allowed a bad government to serve out its full terms before saying it should be changed.

He noted that just as the voting public must be ready to change a bad government, it must also work vigorously to keep a good one in government, adding that that is where the choice is inherent and embedded in a democracy.

The Governor stressed that the United States of America and the United Kingdom have had several scores of Presidents and Prime Ministers in position but no one can easily recall the names of at least a quarter of them off hand because in those countries the voting public have been quick to remove those who perform below expectation and also kept those who performed very well for as long as the Constitution allowed it.

“Either you like it or not, elections have started because Permanent Voters’ Cards are being issued now. Are you busy at work? Stay at work. Those who wish things to happen, stay away from there and those who want things to happen get involved in them. Somebody will probably collect your card or they would return it if it is unused.

“What is happening in February is ballot day, part of the process of elections. After balloting takes place disputes would be resolved because petitions would be filed. When all of that is finished, it is to return valid candidates and remove unsuccessful candidates and what ends the process is that electoral offenders should also begin their own part of it”, he said.

Governor Fashola likened the job of an elected leader to that of a football coach, stating that whenever a football coach falls short of his expectations, he is simply given the boot and that Nigerians should not hesitate to give a non-performing leader the boot from office.

The Guest Lecturer, Professor Akin Oyebode, urged the governing class to do all that it can to assure the people that their vote would count.

He maintained that democracy would not have come of age in the country except and unless and only to the extent that the people are able to vote ruling governments out of office in a free, fair and peaceful manner just as some of Nigeria’s neighbours have done.

“We just cannot continue having more of the same and think we are making any progress. For me, change represents the touchstone of democratic practice and the earlier this is brought to the consciousness of all and sundry, the better our chances of being on the ascendancy of democracy, socio-economic and political development generally”, Professor Oyebode added.

Nigerian Government Tasked On Sanctioning Corrupt Public Servants


Professor Akin Oyebode stressed the need for corrupt public servants to be punished.
Professor Akin Oyebode stressed the need for corrupt public servants to be punished.

Nigerian leaders have been asked to reel out the appropriate sanctions to those who engage in corrupt practices if the country is to make progress in its anti-graft campaign.

Participants at the third Nigerian Governors’ Forum taking place in Lagos, Nigeria’s south-west region, emphasised that sanctioning corrupt public servants would make others desist from such acts.

A professor of international law, Professor Akin Oyebode, says the entire Nigeria populace must join in the anti-graft fight.

“Once there is general agreement regarding what can be considered unacceptable conduct, it will be a short step towards proscribing stiff and severe penalty for whoever breaks the “‘eleventh commandment’.

“As we all know, our God decreed 10 commandments to humanity, but the eleventh is the most important commandment, ‘thou shall not be found out’.  If people get away with corrupt practices they can now pontificate in a sanctimonious manner about propriety in the society. But what we have lacked, in my view, is the sense of punishment and what has thrived is the notion of impunity.

He pointed out that it was not corruption that is as much the problem as the failure of the society to punish those who have been found corrupt.

The former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Justice Musthapha Akanbi, tasked politicians on ensuring that they give priority to the fight against corruption.

Justice Akanbi said that all efforts must be backed by a commitment from the leadership, adding that the people must at all times be part of the struggle to fight corruption.

The Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, also emphasised the need for Nigerians to join in the fight against corruption by discouraging extravagant life style and imbibe the right values.

He said that such practice would help reduce corruption in Nigeria.

“I have very serious doubt whether it is possible to prevent corruption. When you look globally I don’t know any nation that has dismantled her systems – the police the courts – because they have prevented corruption.

My perspective therefore is about reducing the incidence of corruption. When we reward people for work not done, we grant national honour to people who have demonstrated no honour. I can be in one part of the country doing something totally unconnected with what is happening in my state and I become a permanent secretary, without being at work and 20 billion dollars suddenly gets missing, then the police who should be the one in charge of securing all these actually have their own pockets picked because their own pension is stolen? And all seems to just be well. I cannot contemplate what will happen next.

“It is a question now of values. A society where people spray money and step on money, I think that that is a mind-set that raises question. If you can step on your own sweat, something is wrong,” the Lagos State Governor said.

A re-examining of the value system, he said, is key to solving the problem of corruption in Nigeria. 



Military Intervention Saved Egypt From Collapse – Prof Oyebode

A Professor of International Law at the University of Lagos, Akin Oyebode on Friday averred that the intervention by the Egyptian military in the nation’s democracy saved the country from total shut down.

Prof Oyebode, a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that the ousted President, Mohamed Mursi displayed political ‘naivety’ by ignoring the citizen’s demands for better governance.

He added that Mursi has been playing with power even though he ‘merely’ won the election.

Speaking about the over 20 million Egyptians who signed a petition against the Mursi led government, Prof Oyebode described the Egyptian Army’s moves as ‘calculated’.

He warned that all African countries should be weary because nothing invites the military more than bad governance.

Although ex-president Mursi was educated in America and had a doctorate degree from the University of Southern California where he was made assistant Professor, Prof Oyebode said “he ought to have demonstrated greater political savvy”.

He added that the exit of Mursi signals the collapse of religious politics in Egypt, ‘the epicenter of Arab civilization,’ which was the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda.

Mursi “did not do enough to bring all the groups together” even though “he inherited a divided country,” he said.

Prof Oyebode was of the opinion that the situation in Egypt is an unfolding scenario and the international community needs to wait for the outcome of the ‘debacle’.

Shettima blames past governments for Boko Haram insurgence

The governor of Borno state, Kashim Shettima, has blamed past administrations for neglecting the north east geo-political zone over years, and this he claim has led to the Boko Haram insurgence.

He lamented the poor attention given to the region and urged the federal government to come up with a road-map for development of the region.

The governor made this known while addressing a security summit on terrorism and other related crimes in Abuja on Tuesday, and he noted that  job creation for youths must be taken seriously to stem the tide of crimes.

Governor Shettima also restated his belief in tackling terrorism through dialogue and economic empowerment.

He called on government officials and the political elite to shun acts of enriching themselves alone and take affirmative steps towards empowering and improving the living conditions of the poor as a panacea to checkmating growing insecurity in the country.

Government officials, security experts and diplomats were also at the gathering to discuss how to resolve the security problem that has bedeviled the country.

A lawyer and public analyst Professor Akin Oyebode expressed reservations about the recently passed Anti-terrorism Act of 2011 but argued on the stiffness of the punishment tied to the offenses.

Security experts call for a new approach in fighting terrorism, urging the government to do away with the use of force.

They called for the use of  intelligence based approach, training of forensics experts and major improvement in the use of high tech equipment.