Delivering a speech titled “The Role of the Opposition in Meeting Nigeria’s Challenges”, at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, Washington DC, USA, recently, Tinubu said:
“This government cannot prosecute a war on corruption. To do so would require the government to mainly fight itself. That is why the EFCC, though being headed by a core professional and a team of experienced hands operates with little independent discretion. There is undue interference from the Ministry of Justice and the Presidency. Thus, cases are initiated but never finished. People are arrested but never effectively tried. Sometimes, they are let go with a only a slap on the wrist. It is mostly theatre and little fact. Someone recently quipped that the current administration has a unique way of minimizing corruption. It allows a choice few to make away with such a king’s ransom that everyone else who would consume at the government trough is forced into honesty because there is nothing left to take.”
“Additionally, the PDP government efforts at constitutional reform are confined to the aim of securing political power. They seek to abuse their majorities in the national and state assemblies to ram through amendments solidifying their grip on power. For instance, they are nursing an amendment proposing to rotate the Presidency among the nation’s six geopolitical zones so that during any given election only candidates from the anointed region can contest for office. I have referred to this as “Turn by Turn” politics. It is an untoward attempt to impose the PDP’s sordid interparty arrangement on the nation. The provision negates democracy. The people should always be afforded the right to vote for whomever they desire. Everyone should be allowed to contest for office and not be barred simply because their place of origin does not accord with someone else’s timetable.”
“We need to discuss our future, if necessary conduct a referendum on a number of issues that are germane to our future development. The idea that a ruling party can use its bogus majority in the National Assembly to tamper with the constitution and abrogate the right of Nigerians to vote and be voted for, to fair hearing alter the independence of the judiciary and promote division among the citizenry cannot chart a path to progress and development. Governance at the national level has veered too far off course. Tinkering around the constitution’s edges cannot provide the needed corrective measures. To most of us, the Jonathan Administration appears like the dazed captain using a teaspoon to bail water from his sinking vessel.
We require a National Conference for two important reasons:
First, the present constitution was never established by the people. It is the handiwork of the military. A constitution that was forced on us does not have the requisite legitimacy needed for such a complex, diverse nation. The past thirteen years have revealed important flaws in the constitutional structure, namely the capacity of the federal executive to arrogate the powers of other governmental institutions. The exclusive legislative list is too large and overbearing. The states have suffered as a result. So have civil liberties. We need to drastically overhaul the constitution to provide for a more perfect federal system that restrains the ability of the federal executive to encroach on the prerogatives of other institutions and on individual liberties.”