Monday, October 19, 2015

Buhari’s ministerial nominees not the best — Mrs Sarah Jibril (Mama Nigeria)

Mrs. Sarah Jubril, Nigeria’s first female presidential candidate, was Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Ethics and Values. In this interview, she blamed some of government functionaries and Jonathan’s appointees for the woes the immediate past administration suffered. She also frowns at the infighting and alleged impunity in the current administration and says that implementation of ethics and values in the polity is the surest way to rescue the country from the clutches of corruption. Her assessment of President Buhari’s fight against corruption It is a worthy fight, a good fight on behalf of all of us. However, it is a continuous fight because even the previous administration talked about zero tolerance for corruption, that was what late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was talking about. The fight this time is coined as fighting corruption for change. The previous administration mentioned about fighting corruption by transformation agenda. The realisation of the result is the issue. It is not only the government that has been trying to fight corruption, there are other social institutions that have embarked on such initiatives. There are people in the public and private sectors, and the international community who expect Nigeria to raise the standard of fighting corruption. Fighting corruption So, Nigeria as a leading country in Africa is expected not to relent in fighting corruption. But it should be a fight on PPP level. Public and private partnership, not only the government. The government and stakeholders should partner with the private sector, the family and the institutions. They should also not sit back and leave the whole fight against corruption to the government because they are the people that pay taxes and make the population, they are the voters. They were the people that gave votes to the people that contested and became political leaders. That is why I keep talking about the stakeholders as the first fighters against corruption. This issue of corruption is a whole thing that starts from the oath taking of public officials, if you read the content of the oath of office and the oath of allegiance which are supposed to be in line with the fulfilment of the implementation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If I refer you to Section 2, subsection 15.5. It says that states shall abolish all forms of corruption and abuse of power. In subsection 23, it is talking about the national ethics. The 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended, chapter 2:23 says, the national ethics shall be discipline, integrity of labour, social justice, religious tolerance, self-reliance and patriotism. Subsection 24 talks about the duties of citizens. The fight against corruption started when the public officers took oath of office either as appointees or elected officials taking oath as senators or governors or president. Do you think the ministerial nominees are the best after waiting for four months? They don’t appear to be the best but whatever happens we must have the patience and spirit of tolerance because we will not ask people to go and riot. These people: their records are there but if Nigerians want to remain complacent and sweep things under carpet, it’s left for them, the hypocrisy about corruption continues. It is alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP governments, in the past 16 years, operated in a corrupt environment. What is your take? I think the PDP government starting from the board of trustees, the party executives, did not open their minds to understand what their slogan and manifesto stood for. The PDP government had desirable virtues, which turned out to be a moral verbalisation that did not touch their conscience and minds. The PDP government had, I will say, the best of party slogan anywhere in the world, but unfortunately the plague was philosophical understanding of the manifesto. The ignorance about the high sense of responsibility of claiming to be a progressive party, and only thinking of the slogan and not acting practically. When you have a constitution and you don’t abide by the constitution and whatever your slogan is, they are the first steps of preventing corruption. By the time we take the oath of office and oath of allegiance, and after we have read it we say, ‘so help me God.’ Raising of godly politicians The PDP government and even their predecessors had the problem of not realising that politicians in public office or civil service are supposed to ensure that the name of that God they called, they are supposed to raise godly governors. But they forget the contents of what they pronounced at the oath taking. They do not remember to obey God. How? If there were so much stealing, inappropriate behaviour and not practicalizing what the manifesto said, then it means people deviated from what they took oath to do, what they were supposed to be doing as a party. It appears to be demonic plague that they will not understand what they are supposed to be doing. There was no strength of correcting, to put back on track what was going on. And those who want to do the right thing and get back to track were blackmailed, maligned and were shut up from the presidency that was supposed to steer the country in the direction. Unfortunately, I just saw a book that says that people deceived President Goodluck Jonathan. What they are saying, believe me, those things are true. People did not have the fear of the Almighty God. There was a government by the so-called people who are supposed to fear God, progressive people that left out the fear of the Almighty God to which they took oath. They saw Mr. President coming with the money from the South-South, there were supposed to be enough money, it was God’s grace that brought Mr. Goodluck from an obscure background to the presidency. The oil money was there but the PDP missed how to use the grace of the Almighty God upon this country. And if we choose to disobey God, to disobey the words of our mouth, of course, we will go astray. So PDP lacked discipline. But you were part of the administration, what were your efforts to point out and correct those anomalies in the system? Was I not given the assignment by Mr. President to handle ethics and values? Assignment on ethics and values I will give you my schedule of duties and you will see it. Didn’t the elders in the party from the board of trustees, from the financiers, to governors, senators, Reps, councillors, council chairmen, party executives, didn’t they know about the constitution? When Mr. President gave me the assignment on ethics and values, it means they did not find out what ethics meant if they didn’t know.

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