The attention of the All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] has been drawn to media reports where it is stated that the Senate on Wednesday gave President Goodluck Jonathan a two-day ultimatum within which to sack the Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, from the Federal Civil Service. Considering that the whole nation has been ripped off of hundreds of billions of naira in pension funds, while the Federal Government is boasting of fighting corruption to a standstill without any parameter to convince the people, we believe the Maina affair is a veritable litmus test for the government’s resolve to fight corruption.
Just a couple of weeks ago most Nigerians were shocked beyond belief after an Abuja High Court sentenced an Assistant Director, Police Pension Board, John Yusuf, to two years’ imprisonment, with an option of a paltry sum as fine, for his role in the theft of N20 billion of pension fund. It was so outrageous that the EFCC had to hurriedly re-arraign the man, who was deemed not punished enough in the public perception. So also the array of suspects in the fuel susbidy scam is still free while the nation bleeds from the fiscal rupture they have inflicted on us. Our great party also maintains that the culture of impunity is the cause of the vicious circle of corruption in our dear nation.
It is glaring that this present government is paying lip service to the fight against corruption, as it continues to beat its chest and gloat over infinitesimal achievements while the big issues and are swept under the carpet, and the big fish go scot-free even when they are caught. We must remember that there are two courts: the court of law, and the court of public opinion. The Nigerian people who are the owners of the pensions squandered by these officials, have palpably declared them guilty, and are just waiting for the Government to give them justice. Now it seems their hope in the government is turning out to become a mirage, as even the one’s found guilty are not punished.
The ANPP therefore calls on the Executive arm of the government to reconsider their stance on this whole affair, for, how can the war on corruption be taken seriously if it appears as if there are sacred cows? Let the relevant agencies work in concert with the National Assembly and ensure this pension affair is settled once and for all. Granted, the resolutions of the National Assembly do not have the force of law, but for the mere fact that it is a critical arm of democracy, the resolutions that are well informed and valid should be adopted by the Executive for the good of the whole nation. As a party, we advocate for harmony between the executive and the legislature, for that is the only way our democracy can take a deep root, and earn us respect in the comity of nations.
Hon Emma Eneukwu
National Publicity Secretary