Vice President calls for collaboration among arms of government

Cyril Okonkwo, Abuja

Professor Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has called on the three arms of government to eschew their differences and collaborate to formulate policies for good governance.

Professor Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday at the Dialogue of Organs of Government on Reform of the Justice Sector and Campaign against Corruption.

The dialogue was organised by Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, PACAC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice at the Banquet Hall of Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“Failure of any constitutional democratic government to resolve conflict slows down the pace of governance; creates suspicion and hostility between organs of government; encourages bad governance; creates distraction to the process of governance; creates tension; encourages the culture of impunity and disregard for the rule of law among the political class with attendant political instability and it divides the populace,” the Osinbajo said.

‘Bury the hatchet’
According to him, “to avoid these consequences and for a government to deliver development to the people it is imperative for the three arms of government to constantly bury the hatchet and focus on collaborative efforts within their constitutional responsibilities to formulate and implement effective governance laws and policies”.

Professor Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said the three arms of government must be development focused in fulfilment of their roles and be ready to subsume personal interests to the overriding public good.

Real progress
The Vice President said real progress was being achieved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, despite the recent report of Transparency International suggesting that Nigeria has declined in the corruption perception index, noting that perception of the world body “may indeed lag behind reality.”

He said: “the ranking of Nigeria by the 2017 Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index released on February 21st 2018 should not, in anyway, be seen as a setback, but rather as an opportunity to continue building on the many successes that have already been recorded by this government in all key sectors.”

The vice president said the probes of the use of public funds going on within the executive and legislature underscore the transparency of the Nigerian government to ensure that funds are used for purpose.

He restated that what sets the Buhari’s leadership apart from other governments before it, was the prudent and transparent management of National resources.

He said despite up to 60% drop in revenue the Buhari administration has, by stopping grand corruption, made the highest capital spend in the history of Nigeria, in the sum of N1.3trillion in 2017.

He said the money was being spent on several infrastructural projects, including the Lagos Kano standard gauge rail line, the Mambilla hydro project and the construction of the Second Niger Bridge.

Increased determination
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, represented by Senator David Umoru, called for increased determination to strengthen the fight against corruption.

He gave assurance that the National Assembly was taking the fight against corruption seriously and have passed some landmark bills to strengthen the fight.

The Senate President said the legislature would continue to collaborate with the other forms of government in the fight against corruption.

The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bukachuwa, who represented the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, said the Nigerian judiciary has constituted the Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Files Monitoring Committee headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Suleiman Galadima, to check the excesses of bad eggs in the judiciary.

She said the judiciary has devoted 20% of its budget to ensure effective implementation of the mandate the committee.

The Chairman of PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay said that no arm of government, no matter how important, could “condone corruption within its fold and expect to indict others on the same corruption”.

He asked the legislature to fight budget padding, unjust remuneration and pass all pending anti-corruption bills.

Sammie Idika