Former President Olusegun Obasanjo last week lashed out at the National Assembly members over allowances.
A former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, also continued her attack on the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government over its poor handling of the country’s security challenges.
These and three other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. Obasanjo lashes out at lawmakers over allowances
On July 11, former President Obasanjo described as unconstitutional and immoral moves by members of the National Assembly to set their emoluments.
Obasanjo, who spoke at the 60th-anniversary celebration of the call to the bar of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Afe Babalola, in Ado Ekiti, said only the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) was constitutionally empowered to allocate salaries for elected officials.
He said: “The point in Nigeria which I have seen and which I can attest to is most of the people who are supposed to be operationalising or managing and seeing the constitution and democracy move forward, they are actually the ones who undermine the constitution.
“All elected people, by our constitution, their emolument is supposed to be fixed by the revenue mobilisation commission, but our lawmakers set that aside and they make laws and put any emolument for themselves.
“Even if that is constitutional, it is not moral and, of course, it is neither constitutional nor moral.”
Why it matters
The plot by the lawmakers, if it indeed was true, again speaks to the erosion of value and gross disregard for constitutional provision among elected public officials who continually use their positions for self-enrichment.
This development has, therefore, reinforced the call for a more comprehensive amendment to the constitution that would make elective positions less attractive in order to discourage self-serving individuals from vying for such in the future.
2. Ezekwesili’s criticism of APC-led govt over insecurity
Ezekwesili on July 12 berated the APC-led government over its poor handling of the country’s insecurity.
In a series of tweets on her Twitter handle, the ex-minister said she would tackle insecurity in the South-East and other parts of Nigeria in no time if handed the presidency.
She wrote: “It appears they have once again conferred on me the Constitutional Duties of the @NGRPresident, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
“They do so without handing the office to me so I can urgently, decisively, and effectively tackle the degenerate state of insecurity in the South East and other parts of the country and permanently put them to shame for their abysmal failure.”
Why it matters
The escalating security situation in Nigeria simply boils down to leadership failure.
It either means those in charge of Nigeria’s affairs have simply run out of ideas or lack the political will to tackle the problem.
The failure of the Nigerian government and military to come up with an effective response to the threats posed by the non-state agents has continued to embolden them in their crimes against the state and it’s only a matter of time before they start hoisting their flags again in communities in the North.
The menace of unknown gunmen in the South-East points to the need for the government to explore political solution to the crisis, especially regarding the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and the group’s agitation for the Biafra Republic.
3. Lukman’s endless attack on Adamu
The National Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, on July 13 slammed the party’s National Chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, for refusing to release funds realized by the party during the 2023 election campaigns.
Lukman, who addressed journalists at a press briefing in Abuja asked Adamu to render a financial account of N30 billion the party realised through the sale of forms and other donations prior to the elections.
He said: “We are expected to present a proposed national budget to the National Executive Committee, NEC, for approval by the provisions of Article 13(3A)(14) of the APC constitution.
‘’I felt embarrassed when I heard the National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, say the budget of the party has been sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.
‘’INEC is not the approving authority of the budget of the APC. The approving authority is the NEC. Till today, we don’t have a national budget. Yet we made over N30 billion from sales of forms.”
Why it matters
The feud between the three key members of the APC again suggests that all is not well within the ruling party and it’s just a matter before the matter snowballed into a full-blown crisis.
The days ahead will, therefore, prove if APC’s victory in the last general election has done well to harmonize all dissenting voices and put the ruling party on a steady keel for the future.
4. Lagos Assembly ’s push for state police
The Lagos State House of Assembly on July 12 reopened the debate on state police as the ultimate solution to the problem of insecurity in the country.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, who made the call during the inauguration of the Assembly in Ikeja, warned that if the insecurity was not quickly and effectively addressed it would have a negative impact on people’s livelihoods.
He said: “I read about the killing of some residents in Plateau State as well as the abduction of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, Mr. Paul Omotoso.
“While I commend the Ninth National Assembly for doing a lot to amend the constitution, there is a need for us to call on the 10th National Assembly to see it as a matter of urgency to make the issue of state policing a major factor of development.”
Why it matters
The parliament’s position on this subject is a reminder of the unfinished discussion on restructuring of the country which demands an honest dialogue between and among its various entities in a bid to address the separatist agitations and misgivings in Nigeria.
The Lagos Assembly should also rise beyond its rhetoric by working with its peers in other states and National Assembly on this vexed issue of state police as an ideal solution to the country’s security challenges.
5. Jega’s lamentation on Nigeria’s leadership problem
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, on July 11 decried the dearth of good leadership in the country since 1999.
Jega, who delivered a paper titled: “Importance of Personal Leadership Competencies in an Organization in Transition,” at the retreat organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Ilorin, Kwara State, said Nigeria has been experiencing bad leadership since the return of democratic rule 24 years ago.
He said: “For the past 23 years, the country has been under democratic rule, but the so-called dividends of democracy have not yet been delivered to the majority of Nigerian citizens.
“Unfortunately, there has been bad leadership, not that there are no good leaders in the country but they are in short supply while the democratic institutions are also weak.
“In general, leadership at all tiers of the Nigerian federation has not been good; it has been essentially bad and undemocratic; characterized by bad, rather than good and democratic governance.”
Why it matters
Jega’s candid view on Nigeria’s leadership problem aligns with the perception held by many about the country’s greatest challenge.
The country’s flawed leadership recruitment system that constantly churns out mediocre or poorly-prepared people for positions of enormous responsibility is largely responsible for its present position in the comity of nations.
While Jega may have hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the country, the statement is a challenge to Nigerians to get it right in their leadership recruitment process in the efforts to get the country out of the woods.
Unfortunately, however, the country bungled another opportunity at fixing the problem with the messy handling of the 2023 general election by all, without exception.
By Hamed Shobiye
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