Any law maker who defends constituency project is a thief, pure and simple. Those who collect hundreds of millions of Naira for constituency projects should not only desist but should also return the money so collected to the national coffers without delay!” -Bolanle

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French political philosopher, Baron de Montesquieu, in his seminal work, The Spirit of Laws, 1748, posited that the executive, legislative and judicial functions of government should be allocated to separate and independent bodies, with none of them superior or more powerful than the other; so, they can act as checks and balances on one another. In one word, they are co-terminus and equal in powers.

John Locke had earlier argued that where legislative and executive powers belong to separate hands, then, the protection of all members of society can be as high as possible. This is what is called the principle or theory of separation of powers and its aim is to prevent too much power in one branch of government and allow for checks and balances.

Remember that Lord Acton had said that “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority”

It is that “tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority” that is at the bottom of the constituency projects or padding of the 2024 budget that has ensnared the National Assembly. Constituency projects are an aberration; it is corruption of the functions and duties of the Legislature.

Law makers have two functions: To make laws and to have oversight functions on the Executive; that is, to act as checks on the Executive. They are not to begin to hijack and exercise executive functions or powers. They are not to even share executive functions or powers with the Executive, in the same way the Executive is not supposed to dictate to the law makers as regards their legislative and oversight functions.

Our legislators have fished in trouble waters since the Fourth Republic. Like the angels who abandoned their estate in heaven to eat the forbidden fruit among the daughters of men, the National Assembly members who took money for constituency projects have abandoned their own duty post to hanker after filthy lucre. There is no argument that can wash them clean of corruption.

The argument that they want to ensure fair and equitable distribution of projects all over the country does not wash. Without becoming contractors, they can ensure equity before passing the budget. And from what we have seen, constituency projects are a huge scam and corruption personified.

The constituencies seldom get value for money. Carcasses of constituency projects litter the landscape of Nigeria. The system employed is opaque and not transparent. Who determines what? Who handpicks the contractors? Who supervises? Who dispenses funds? Who ascertains that quality job is done? Who holds the law makers to account? Constituency projects are sleaze money, no more!

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Any law maker who defends constituency project is a thief, pure and simple. Those who collect hundreds of millions of Naira for constituency projects should not only desist but should also return the money so collected to the national coffers without delay!

FEEDBACK

The rumour of coup d’etat is the hand work of those who thought they can prevent Tinubu from being the president. Perhaps, this is their last joker! Tinubu’s decision on removal of petroleum subsidy is the best. Waiting a minute later, he would not have been able to do it. What we need at this time is to cooperate with the president in rebuilding the country. The governors should come to terms with the reality that they have a great role to play in securing their respective state. – Kola Oloye.

No coup is coming up in Nigeria; the military is already as corrupt as the politicians. I think they enjoy sharing the national cake quietly without the burden of governability. Anyone planning a coup will be silenced within. What Nigerians need is re-orientation, to be truthful and to worship God in truth. Everyone cannot, and should not, own or build a house, for example. The quest for material things by everyone and the unnecessary outdoing of every other person in a negative competitive environment is what is adversely killing the country. – Dr. Demola Sodeinde.

Nigerians are optimistic that Nigeria will come out of the numerous difficulties and challenges created by ourselves. This recovery will only manifest when corruption and fraudulent activities by all of us are tackled headlong. The government should listen to the people, and their policies should have a human face. You will not expect the economy to grow when businesses are folding up and relocating to neighbouring countries. The struggle by the government to woo investors is a mirage because the cost of doing business in Nigeria is on the high side. Look at insecurity everywhere! The cost of diesel and PMS rises daily. What of electricity supply? Will investors bring in an enabling environment to do their business here in Nigeria? No! Some of the people in the leadership boat of Nigeria’s recovery have a record of “the good, the bad and the ugly.” How will such people perform? The judiciary, all arms of government, must rise up to save the country from total collapse. Politicians who have failed Nigerians are not ready to quit the stage for genuine politicians to come on board. Some of the politicians who milked their state dry are still occupying various elective and appointive positions. Some of them are now law makers while others are to execute the policies of government. The judiciary has a big role to play in salvaging the economy. Politicians who have skeletons in their cupboards should not run to the judiciary to shield their evil. The judiciary should let erring politicians face the music. I am not an advocate of military take-over but let us ask ourselves what military rule vis-a-vis civilian rule has achieved in Nigeria. The military have ruled for much longer, their achievements towards national unity, economic emancipation, and security are glaring for all to see and judge. The military single-handedly built the federal capital territory and some notable infrastructure in Lagos. The civilian rule that we refer to as democracy is a demonstration of craze, according to one songs-writer (musician). The only achievement of civilian rule is the GSM. Considering the fact that some Nigerians who are highly-placed are not interested in the unity of the country, then, Prof. Banji Akintoye’s suggestion for a peaceful dissolution becomes sellable. The attitude of some Nigerians for self, region or tribe alone must change. There is strength in diversity, and on the unity of Nigeria I stand! – Dr. Eclarke.

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Military rule is an aberration. 1966 to 1979: Thirteen years of uninterrupted military misrule. 1983 to 1999, another sixteen years of military misrule. 1999 to 2007 witnessed eight years of our Number One citizen being the military exchanging uniforms for “agbada”. Number 2 citizen was a controversial Customs officer and the Number 3, (Senate president) was also a retired military officer. Many of the senators and House of Representatives members were ex-military officers. 2007 to 2015 was a period of confusion when the elected president died in office and a cabal refused to allow the acting president to assume office as president. 2015 to 2023 witnessed another military man becoming the president of Nigeria. 29 years of straight military rule plus 16 years of military presidency, that’s a whopping 45 years of military misrule in a young country like Nigeria, compared with just about 13 years of civil rule. The five years of the First Republic witnessed far-reaching development in some parts of the country. The long years of military misrule have done so much havoc to the development of this country. The way to go is not to bring in another military intervention. Let’s allow the military perform the functions for which they are recruited and trained: to defend the territorial integrity of the nation! Pa EK Odeleye.

I do not support military dictatorship but, perhaps, it is needed to reset our country! – Azuka Jebose.

President Tinubu needs to focus on policies that safeguard the future of Nigeria from potential threats posed by the Fulani tribe. Given rotational presidency, power will eventually shift to the North after eight years. It is crucial to prevent a Fulani man from becoming the next president because that will definitely reverse every progressive policy being put in place now. The current government should prioritize policies that will empower the Hausa community and liberate them from Fulani dominance. We need to ensure that when power rotates back to the North, it goes to a Hausa president, not a Fulani. History has shown that Fulani-led governments tend to hinder Nigeria’s progress and even damage its economy, as seen in past administrations. We must learn from these experiences and enact measures to break free from Fulani hegemony, allowing Nigeria to thrive and ensuring a brighter future for the nation. If we can achieve this, then, the battle for the progress of Nigeria is half-won. – Idowu Faleye.

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If we are not to play any ostrich and deceive ourselves, the best that should happen now is military termination of the current democracy because the governance Nigerians have got from the political actors since 1999 has been mediocre and punitive. We have only always bred a new band of thieves in governance that are increasingly decapitating the life of ordinary Nigerians through rapacious stealing of state resources and intolerable inflation on the honest labour of the average Nigerian. A military government will clear all the imbeciles murdering Nigerians and kidnapping for money on a daily basis, set up a new constituent assembly to redraft the Constitution and adopt a new model of government recommended by the assembly before the country returns again to elections. This is the desirable break that the country needs. Nigerians have justifiably lost interest in these thieving politicians. They are crooks basically and a crooked man or gang cannot lead any nation anywhere other than Armageddon. – Bashiru Wahhab.

May God give us good leaders! – Gbenga Osinaike.

It has always been said that the worst civilian regime is better than the best military administration. But then, the question is: Are we actually having true civilian rule in Nigeria based on free and fair elections? This is because there is no true democracy in Nigeria. What we are having is riggo-cracy. That is, most of the elections in Nigeria that would have brought about true democracy have been based on election rigging. Therefore, any civilian rule derived through the rigging of election should be seen as an aberration, just like a military coup. The civilians who found themselves in office through election manipulation should be treated as ‘civilian coup plotters’. I quite disagree that past military regimes have not contributed to the economic growth of Nigeria. Many of Nigeria’s major roads, especially, rural-urban roads, were built by past military regimes. Bad governance would always invite military rule. – Dr. JF Olukotun.

  • Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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