By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Deputy National Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Ekiti state, Engr. Segun Oni said yesterday the Buhari government will not follow the rule of law in the fight against corruption because such procedure has not achieved any positive result in the past.He challenged all those accusing officials,of the present government corruption to come forward with evidence of such corrupt act, assuring that the Buhari government will handle such evidence with dispatch.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen at the APC national secretariat in Abuja, Oni said that leaving the fight against corruption in the hands of those who cannot prosecute it would amount to admitting failure on the part of the government.
He also challenge those accusing the government of not following the rule of law to come up we an alternative way of achieving success in the fight against corruption, adding that once such alternative is given, the government will fins out corrupt persons within six months.
He said: “If the rule of law is left to be what it is, nothing will happening. If you leave this war in the hand of people who would not be able to prosecute it, it means we give up and God forbid that we should fail.
“People are talking about rule of law and so on. How much have we achieve by rule of law? Are they saying there is no corruption? If there is corruption, what has been achieved in terms of stopping it? Or we should now say we cannot stop it? Then we should institutionalise it.
“At one stage, there must be a stop. In Rawlings’ Ghana, he applied certain measures. God forbid that in Nigeria. May be we should leave things until people get so frustrated and resort to self help. Things cannot continue the way they are because everybody knows the corrupt people, but everybody is keeping their voices low even when they know corrupt people.
“Don’t lawyers know corrupt judges? Don’t judges also know corrupt judges? If the system within the judiciary is unable to deal with this, so nobody should talk? People would get so frustrated that the people out there would come out in arms against the whole system and God forbid.
“So, what we are trying to do now is to prevent the collapse of the whole system and people taking laws into their hands. If the NJC had been able to deal with the issue of corruption decisively in such a way that people are very confident, I am sure this would probably not be necessary.
“But not much has been done and people are frustrated, the whole system is complaining; people are complaining. I want to see how Nigerian judges or Nigerian lawyers could raise their hands and say, there is no corruption.
Nobody has defended the system so far. Even the CJN has not defended the system and say there is no corruption.
“What people are talking about is how we are going about it. Let them come up with an alternative ways of achieving that. Once they tell us, we assure you we will fish out all corrupt people out of this system within six months.
“Give us this time, then there would be no need for any extra measures. But if we don’t have such of an assurance from anywhere, we have to continue to do what we believe is the right way to go about it. This is an extra-ordinary circumstance and people should see it as such.”
Oni expressed confidence that “Nigerians knows that we are very serious and very sincere about fighting corruption. From the reaction so far, I think that people are happy that we are taking the fight to the doorstep of corruption.
“We therefore expect Nigerians to become more and more demanding, because the moment they know that their voices also can count, they would continue to raise their voices against corruption and Nigeria would be better up for it.
“Nobody loves corruption. Even the people who indulged in it cannot come out to defend it. Its unfortunate that we allow Nigeria to be run by the kind of people who have just left, who didn’t understand or believed that stealing is corruption; people whose mind is so worked that even when they see stealing, when they see corruption, they would look the other way.
“It is so pervasive, but we must stand up to it. Corruption is not just at the door step of political appointees or politicians, we have to ensure that everybody scrutinized including civil servants, the judiciary, the executive, the legislative and anybody in a position to hand public funds one way or the other.”
On the argument of the government job adhering to the principle of separation of power enshrined in the constitution and the non prosecution of officials of the present government accused of corruption, Oni said this was the first time the fit against corruption was being extended to other arms of government.
“You see the people who had been taken in so far were from the corridors of the executive whether they are in this government or previous government. Don’t forget, the Executive are always the first people, politicians, they are always the first people.
“Since we have been prosecuting people for corruption, how many judges have been brought before EFCC over the years? Is it an indication that the judiciary had been clean? How many legislators were brought before EFCC? It has always been the executive.
“Even when you talk of civil servants, how many civil servants has ever been brought. So, this is not a war directed in any particular direction. If you know corrupt people even in this government, if you have evidence come up and let’s us see whether government would keep quite. If you see act of corruption been perpetrated by people even in this government, say it and it would be attended to.
“The truth is , Nigeria need to be salvage from the grip of corruption, how do we go about it. Let any group, or any arm of government come up with a model that would be very effective and would devoid of what they consider as abnormalities and all Nigerians would fold our hands and watch them do it.” He said.