“Jonathan Has No Plans To Fight Corruption” – Dino Melaye
Former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dino Melaye, is one man who many in the lower chambers of the National Assembly in the last dispensation would hardly forget. He was the vocal legislator who exposed the alleged corrupt practices of the then Speaker, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, an act that earned him and a few others, suspension from the house until it was overturned by the court.
The Kogi state born legislator reviews the unfolding drama of $3 million bribery scandal, majorly between Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola. He also spoke on the spectre of corruption in the country among other issues. Excerpts:
This house seems to have resisted the lure to crisis more than when you were were there. Can you say why?
The crisis was sponsored by the Integrity group headed by Farouk Lawan solely to humble Madam Patricia Etteh from office. But do not forget that it was the same Lawan who made it possible for Madam Etteh to become Speaker and when the same Lawan did not get what he demanded, that is becoming the Chairman of Appropriation Committee, he plotted to remove her from office.
Remember that Madam Etteh never stole one kobo. What happened was that all her budgets were anticipatory and Lawan used it against her because the committee he got was that of Education. He never liked it and the woman could not have done otherwise.
Integrity group died
The house Madam Etteh wanted to refurbish for N238million was renovated by Dimeji Bankole for N400million and the same house was eventually sold to him. So if I may ask, where is the integrity now that we have all known that the whole concept was laced with….
But the man tried…..
(Interjects) Tried in what manner. That Integrity Group died immediately after Etteh was removed from office or did you hear that the group ever held one meeting throughout the period it existed? Four weeks before the bubble burst I warned Nigerians that they should not celebrate Farouk yet with the fuel subsidy probe so his fumbling and wobbling in the course of carrying out his legislative functions is no surprise to us that know him too well.
Can you imagine that 14 years after as a national lawmaker, Farouk could descend so low to visit the residence of Femi Otedola a man he was probing? What a shame but Nigerians and Nigeria should be able to separate Farouk from the institution known as the House of Representatives because the 360 Reps took oaths individually.
The primary objective of the probe which is a resolution of the House must not be thrown into the garbage because as the Executive Secretary of an Anti-Corruption body I want the report implemented.
But why would legislators probe when they know that such ventures lead them to problems?
My brother there is no need for probes in the first place if legislators carry out their legislative functions with the fear of God and with every sincerity of commitment there will be no need for probes.
Functions of the lawmaker: The functions of the law maker are basically three, namely the act of adequately representing their people via the provision of the dividends of democracy; two, the act of making laws via motions and bills and three, oversight functions. There is no single MDA that if serious oversight function is carried out will not give account of all its activities. Once this is done and proper supervision of projects are carried out there will be no need for probes.
Probes are manifestation of satanic collaboration between the National Assembly and the Public Service. But if oversight functions are diligently carried out at appropriate times this will effectively police activities of the MDAs and that of the executive. When I was in the House they gave account of their stewardship (and) I remember we recalled one minister to give account of books bought twelve years after he left office that were still on the high seas. After proper investigation they returned the books. So proper oversight will substantially take away the stress of probes and these embarrassments are becoming too much.
Corruption seems to have assumed a larger than life proportion in Nigeria to the extent that the US has even described the fight against it in Nigeria as mere lip service. What is your take on this?
Jonathan has no plans to fight corruption in this country. That I know very well because he is a major factor in the arrogance of Femi Otedola and this has been shown clearly. How can Femi Otedola disregard the resolution of the entire House of Representatives saying it is laughable? If I were to be the Speaker I would have summoned him for contempt but the President showed his negative trend by describing the resolution of the House on Fuel Subsidy Regime as mere resolution.
Celebration of mere resolution
But let me remind the President that it was this same mere resolution that made it possible for him to be Acting President which he celebrated and even invited them (legislators) to dinner in his house.
When Arunma Oteh was indicted by the Capital Market Probe, she was asked to step aside but when Mrs. Deziani was accused by the Fuel Subsidy Panel nothing was said and she was a primary actor as Chairman of the board of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and above all the minister that supervises the petroleum sector. This is a clear case of personalizing offices and making the fight against corruption a child’s play.
The state of insecurity today in the country is alarming what do you think could be done to redress the situation?
It is very sad that our President could leave the country to attend a carnival in Brazil when this country was fast being swallowed by a conflagration that he has not been able to quench since assumption of office as Acting President. This is a clear indication of somebody that displays of insensitivity to the security of the people of this country.
To worsen the situation the spokesman of this government, Labaran Maku came out to say the president can rule from any part of the world confirming to us that Mr. President is a ruler not a leader. What Nigerians need is a leader not a ruler that can rule from any part of the world.