Monday, 4 May 2015

3 Dangerous Booby Traps Before Buhari - Agbakoba

Nigeria - A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and human rights activist, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, says the litmus test for the president-elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari concerns how he achieves national peace and the political will to deal with salaries paid to federal lawmakers as well as the huge budgetary allocation to the Presidential Villa, Vanguard reports.

According to him, following national peace and unity, "the second most important issue Buhari must pay attention to is corruption. All governments of Nigeria have paid lip-service to the issue of corruption. Buhari has now presented himself as a person and he has gotten a groundswell of support from Nigerians across the divides to tackle corruption. So, he has to be held to account for all the political promises he made. He should deal with the unconstitutional salaries of the National Assembly members.

"The Revenue Fiscal Mobilization and Allocation Commission (RFMAC) sets salaries, but the National Assembly refused to follow it. The money Nigerian lawmakers get constitutes about 25 percent of our national budget. Why won’t Nigerians want to go to the National Assembly if, as a member of the House of Representatives, I can get about N600 million, on the average, in a year? The lawmakers in the Senate get as much as N1 billion per annum; that’s why they kill themselves to go there. So, the lawmaker’s interest is not to go and make or pass laws, but because of the money that is there. That is also why they perform below average.

"I see this development as a corrupt practice and that is another most important thing Buhari must confront. The National Assembly must be brought to book. They must be made to conform with the constitution.

"I have raised some issues which I feel are relevant for Buhari to address in the letter I wrote him. But if he doesn’t tackle the issue of national order and anti-corruption framework, the other issues such as the economic matters, financial services sector, aviation/space, legal/justice sector and housing/mortgage will fail.

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