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Comment, Opinion

The Travesty Of Code Of Conduct Bureau In Nigeria

Posted: May 15, 2015 at 12:54 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Utum Eteng


Comrade Ogbu A. Ameh writes from Abuja as the Organizing Secretary of Socialist Workers League

In 1986, the Political Bureau in its report which government accepted observed that corruption and indiscipline were the twin bane of our political development. It was resolved and recommended the strengthening of existing machineries’ for monitoring the actions and behaviors’ of public officers  to ensure that they conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability. Following this recommendation, the code of Conduct bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal were established as the agencies to enforce the code of conduct for public officers. This provision has been maintained in the Fifth Schedule of all the Constitutions that followed there after including the 1999 Constitution. The Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal are two autonomous institutions that operate independently with clearly defined but complementary roles. Against this backdrop flowing from the grandiose political re-engineering of the General Babangida’s era, Nigeria and her people missed a rare opportunity for a rebirth. Irrespective of the inherent aberration of military intervention in politics, it always gets closer to the root of the matter. The military short-lived regime of General Buhari introduced WAI, which was a precursor to the expanded Code of Conduct Bureau which encompasses corruption and indiscipline as core targeted vices.

Indiscipline and corruption are deeply rooted in the socio- cultural attitude of a people in societies. Like the theory of the rotten fish, where does it start from? The head or the tail as symbolized by the leadership and followership in any society. The greatness of societies the world over is predicated on many variables, but prominent among them is morality and ethics. These two are interwoven attributes of a people that shape their socio- cultural attitudes to work, respect for law and authority, attitudinal disposition to inter personal relationship. Upon this, the symbolic characteristics of people from different countries are identified. Nigeria like many other countries that are high on the corruption index has much in common. The continued prevalence and institutionalized negative characteristics push the country perennially to the brinks of a failed state. In the particular case of Nigeria, both the leadership and followership are partners in the destruction of its economy, justice system which resonated in series of chain reactions

How do we explain the folly of fuel importation as top crude oil exporting country, scarcity of same product when it should be refined locally? The evil of capitalism which enriches the 1% to the detriment of the 99% is the real problem defying world peace as it pitches people and nations against each other. When people inflict such colossal pain on themselves for material gain, they need a pathological surgery. This can be carried out through consciousness building by a highly advance socialist conscious tendencies like the Socialist Workers League. The irony of Nigeria and its politics is the reason why we are perennially entangled in wave of social anomie. Indiscipline leads to corruption in varied forms and by extension snowball in social vices that clog the wheels of national development. Virtually every part of the vision, mission, mandate and power of the Code of Conduct Bureau is turned on its head.

Until this component parts are respected, observed and allowed to function within its mandate, things will no longer be at ease with us. Public officers who are the core subjects of Code of Conduct Bureau are the bastion of indiscipline and corruption. Public officers and civil servants are the bastion of corruption, indiscipline, nepotism, tribalism and ethnicism. They drive the machineries’ of government even during military regime, so they have cultivate and nurtured a culture of dubious tradition built on the twin vices fueling spate of injustice in Nigeria. As this in-coming government comes to power, let the President elect revisit and revive the latent spirit of WAI as a starting point for the change project. This starting point must take cognizance of five functional pre-requisites which concern Sociologists in their investigations. Thus; pattern maintenance, tension management, goal attainment, adaptation to environment and integration of various components

These prescriptions become imperative given the degree and dimension of trauma resulting from the prolonged state of terrorism and the attendant insecurity across the country. On the whole, against the background of latent and manifest functions of a society, these five functional pre-requisites cannot be over emphasized. Latent functions refereeing to the unintended consequences of social action or human behaviors and the manifest referring to the intended consequences. These functions are gate ways to conflicts when social- cultural and religious variables come to play. For the emerging change to be sustained and evolved, politicians must not be allowed to exploit these functional pre-requisites to their selfish gains. The people have painstakingly demonstrated their desire for change, they must be conscientise to protect and nurture it to maturity. Our affairs are entirely our making, so we owe a duty to conduct it in the best possible ways for posterity. Generations in the future will hold us responsible when they ask us what we have done with the change we made on the 28th March 2015

• Ameh wrote in from Abuja