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Withholding Lagos LG funds is an example of executive lawlessness– Nwike, ex-deputy gov

Posted by By BUCHY ENYINNAYA on 2005/07/07 | Views: 522 |

Withholding Lagos LG funds is an example of executive lawlessness– Nwike, ex-deputy gov

Former Deputy Governor of old Anambra State, Dr Chudi Nwike, says that it is providential that God decided to use Governor Chris Ngige to uplift Anambra State from the nadir of archaic politics practice.

Former Deputy Governor of old Anambra State, Dr Chudi Nwike, says that it is providential that God decided to use Governor Chris Ngige to uplift Anambra State from the nadir of archaic politics practice.

“I think that it is in fact providential that God has decided to use this young man who never wanted to be governor in the first instance. I want to put it on record, as a means of encouraging him to do more, if he can.But even the much he has done, he has broken the jinx that the state is always in the news for negative things. We can be sure of continual positive development from here on,” he said.
He submits that Anambra State was previously at the nadir of modern development and thanked God for the efforts of some worthy sons of the state, especially, Gov. Ngige, whom he described as the most popular living legend in Anambra today.

Anambra State
I must put it on record. It is my duty as an Anambra indigene and as well as a patriotic Nigerian to say that Dr. Ngige is an apostle of positive change. Believe me, what Dr. Ngige is doing in Anambra State is simply unbelievable. In fact, I think that it is providential that God has decided to use this young man who never wanted to be governor in the first instance. All he wanted was to be a senator, to join hands with other creditable Nigerians to make laws for the development of the country, Nigeria. It’s like a seed dying before germinating. Anambra State was at the nadir of its existence before Ngige came in as governor. I have been deputy governor and I know what I am talking about. The state was synonymous with everything uncomplimentary. It was always in the news for bad and discomfiting reasons. But if you like, you can go and see now. People may want to trivialize it, but please feel free to go and see what is going on in that state now. I am immensely proud of how the state is developing. In the area of infrastructural development, roads that have not been touched since the civil war ended are now wearing a better look.

Chris Uba versus Chris Ngige
I think we have gone beyond that. That one is history. They are not bothering anyone anymore. And they can’t bother the governor anymore. It’s all history. The matter is as good as settled because the Supreme Court has made it clear that all those processes cannot remove the man. That is clear, that you don’t remove a sitting governor because he had written a letter of resignation. And you don’t go burning down the state because you want the governor to leave. All these things will not make the governor leave. They will not. They are not even burning the man’s house. They are burning the property owned by Anambra State and in effect all Anambra people. The issue now is let us move forward.

N16 million allowance for senators as against nothing for the masses
I don’t know what the financial arrangement or remuneration for senators or legislators is. I don’t know what their conditions are. But if it is in line with the conditions attached to their office, what can you do? You may argue that with general situation of poverty in our country, that the amount is outrageous. I may agree with you. But, if no law is being broken, it is a matter of public opinion. Compare this to what happens as the citizens are being told to tighten their belts. It seems ridiculous. N16 million to just one person then you tell the others, the silent majority, to make sacrifice. They would only look at you and shake their heads.

Anti-corruption crusade
I don’t see any anti-corruption crusade on ground. Arresting or sacking a minister or trying Afolabi, Tafa Balogun is neither here nor there. If you want to fight corruption, the basic things should be done. Let everybody account for his source of wealth. Accountability in capital letters. It’s the only way to fight corruption. This is because what we are doing now implies that if one is not caught, at the point of taking the money, then it has become his own. And there is no way you can stand behind and find everybody at the point of looting or taking what does not belong to them. But we can say you have been a General in the Nigerian Army for 30 – 36 years. We know your salary, your emoluments and all those things. At the end of your service, how come you worth more than you would ordinarily have earned over the years? If the answer is not convincing, then, we would want to know whether you were trading while serving or you inherited a fortune from your parents.If not, we want you to tell us how come another retired General who served for that period in the army is worth so much or so less. Oh, yes, we really want to know the source of that wealth. If I have been a civil servant and rose to become a permanent secretary, and yet I am where I am today, then, we want to know what you are worth? Did you invest all your salary in a high yielding interest stocks, shares or what? What were the special sources of income that gave occasion to that cumulative wealth?

Lagos local governments funds
It is mere executive lawlessness to refuse to release the fund. This is because the Supreme Court’s judgment was clear that the funds should be released, but he says he won’t release it. And when that judgment orders the Federal Government to release the fund, it did not give condition about whether you are going to write the names of the local government councils or not. The President should release the funds. It is not a personal money. He should release the funds and let’s see what happens next. The people of Lagos State would determine how to judge any person who misappropriates their funds. It is not the role of the Federal Government. You see, we must draw that distinction. It is important for this country. Nobody is a grand master, or lord over the others. Let him administer his own 50 percent and leave the National Assembly and Nigerians to ask him what he has done with it. Give the states their own and let them work with it according to the wishes or desires of their people.Then, leave the people of the state and the relevant state assembly to judge what their governor has done with their money. But for one to be at the helms and continue to insist, despite the judgment of the various relevant courts of law that we won’t respect the judgment because of this or that reason is clearly against the spirit of separation of powers, one of the principles of democratic practice that he has sworn to uphold. And to date, the Supreme Court remains the apex court in the country. The government should show respect for the rule of law.

The Supreme Court said the process of creating additional 57 local government councils is not yet complete in Lagos State. They didn’t even say complete it before the money is relapsed. They said it is not yet complete and everybody knows that we are still waiting for the National Assembly aspect of it to take place. So, that is not a reason for not obeying a court order. The point is that the Supreme Court did not give the Lagos State government any condition to fulfil before the funds would be released. It recognises and said so, that the process of creating the 57 local governments is not completed yet. But, in spite of that, the order was made for the money to be released. Obey it. There is no society that can survive without obeying laid down laws. Simple obedience to laws is important because regardless of your position in the society, whether you are Federal Government, state government or local government, you must obey law. So, for as long as you are finding reasons to circumvent or find a loophole, the technicality to employ to avoid obeying a direct court order from the highest court in the land you are involved in an exercise that will give the society a big problem. That is my simple contention. Regardless of who you are, everyone must obey laws.

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