Recent Supreme Court’s Judgements Aimed At Dousing Tension – Elebute | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Recent Supreme Court’s Judgements Aimed At Dousing Tension – Elebute

Posted: Feb 28, 2016 at 9:50 am   /   by   /   comments (1)
Dr Tunde Elebute, is currently the Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Lagos Mainland Province.  He spoke with Ejikeme Omenazu  on the recent sack of heads of Federal Government parastatals, President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft crusade and the 2016 budget delay among other issues. Excerpts:

Would you say that the anti-graft crusade of the present administration has been successful so far? Do you agree that it is distracting President Muhammadu Buhari from other functions of government?

I do not believe that the prosecution of the anti-graft crusade is adversely affecting government’s functions. The problem of corruption is deep rooted and anything done to check it is not a waste of time. So far, the crusade has been successful. A lot of money is being recovered. It is teaching people lessons that they can be held accountable for their roles while in service. Monies, which were thought to be lost, are being returned by people, some voluntarily. Thus, more money will be released for government projects. People will now be more careful how they handle public office.
Some people have been accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of being partisan and one-sided in the prosecution of the war. But, I do not think so. I the past, governments set up panels to investigate cases of corruption and no one will hear of the outcome. This time, we are seeing result. Names of people are being made public. Many are now in court, while others are being investigated. Money is being returned by people. It was not so in the past.
Government needs money to function and money is now coming in through the recovery of the loots. Even if the crusade takes Buhari the whole of his first year of his administration, it is not a waste of time. He set up the Prof Itse Sagay Committee, the EFCC and ICPC and other agencies are working on the corruption cases. The ministers are working in their various ministries. So, the crusade does not take the whole of Buhari’s time. He must be busy on other things too.

The 2016 national budget has been experiencing hiccups since The President presented it to the National Assembly. Why is this so?

Formerly, it is believed that ministers settle the lawmakers before budgets are passed. This way the lawmakers overlook so many things.  Moneys are allocated to non-existent institutions. I see incompetence, insincerity among people who handle the budget. Because we now have a new Sheriff in town who will not play ball, these things which would have been overlooked in the past, are now being uncovered. Now the officials and departments are disagreeing with each other. You do not expect the President to read everything. People should exhibit good attitude to work. There is a lot of inefficiency in government service, especially among those who type documents. Nigerians should learn to work well and be patriotic. They should also be more careful in handling crucial matters like the budget. What is happening now is embarrassing and disgusting.

What do you think will be the effects of the National Assembly not passing the budget on time?

Firstly, the budget will not be implemented fully by the end of the year. At the end of the day, they may not implement it up to 50 per cent. When the budget is finally passed, there may not be enough time to implement it. Next time, the budget should be sent to the National Assembly early, say by October, so that it will be passed by December and be ready for implementation in January. Although the National Assembly should pay attention to details and scrutinize the budget, they should work hard to pass it by the end of February so that there will be enough time for implementation.

The Supreme Court has come under attacks following the rulings on the Abia, Akwa Ibom and River states governorship elections appeals. Would you say that such attacks are justified? 

****I want to believe that the Supreme Court does not just look at the technicalities of cases. They may want to look at the nation as a whole. With the drums of war being sounded in places like Rivers State, the Supreme Court had to douse the tension so that peace would reign.**** It happened during the time of President Shehu Shagari and Chief Obafemi Awolowo when the Court ruled on what is twelve two thirds of 21 states. It was also in this sense that the President Goodluck Jonathan conceded victory to President Buhari even when the election results were still being announced, to give peace a chance.
I believe the Supreme Court Justices are looking at the effects of their judgments. Their decision doused tension in the states and the nation. The Justices are experienced. Their rulings have shown that President Buhari does not influence the Judiciary. If he does, his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have had the judgments. I do not agree with those who are alleging bribery. As a nation, the judgments are good for us. We need peace. Let Nigerians have rest. If that is the price we have to pay for peace to reign, let people accept the judgments, and let the nation continue to exist peacefully. I commend the Supreme Court Justices, although some people are condemning them. There cannot be any development without peace.

Would you say the recent sack of Heads of Federal Government agencies appointed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan is justified?

It should be expected, although the government cannot justify all cases as some of them are performing very well. I do not agree that they were working against President Buhari. The president should look at individuals who were doing well and offer them positions. If you look at it very well, people campaigned for Buhari and worked hard for his emergence. So many people stepped down for others to be elected. Some people spent a lot of money on the election. So, they need to be part of the government and be carried along. But, if there are people who are good among those sacked, they should be given another chance to serve, even if they are not members of APC.

Attachments area