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Integrity: Missing Virtue In Politics

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Integrity can be described
as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that one believes in, stands for and would not compromise on.
Integrity goes with self-discipline. It invokes the protection of what is believed in and stood for.
Integrity awakens the sense that a name is to be protected. One who uses integrity as their watch word like Joseph who escaped from Potiphar’s wife, escapes from evil in order not to stain their name.
Men and women of integrity are law abiding. Their actions and inactions are controlled by the rules of the game. They are honest, crime free, and less self-willed.
On a wider note, a leader with integrity is one who eschews evil and always protects the honest and moral principles he stands for. He executes the law and therefore he is not the law breaker.
Furthermore, sworn to an oath, as it were, to protect the constitution and the sovereignty of the country, he believes and stands by constitutionalism and the rule of law in a democratic society.
In Nigeria, political leaders range from chairmen and counselors of local government areas, to Governors, Deputy Governors, members of Houses of Assembly. Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries at the state level, the President, Vice President, Ministers, Senate President, Speaker, Senators and House of Representatives members, just to mention a few.
It is expected that leaders exhibit or display integrity at various areas and positions of authority. Those who claim to fight corruption should be corruption free, not biased and sectional.
They should have a name they are out to protect for posterity and also not have personal interests which outgrow the interest of the country.
In the same vein, those who speak against bad governance must ensure that they do not speak out of hypocrisy but are exemplary with integrity. A man cannot call another a thief if he is also a thief.
It is on record, that the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehimi, and the late famous human rights activist, Ken Saro Wiwa, vehemently refused appointments from the then illegitimate administration, bound by what they stood for.
Today, the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are embarking on a change system which has clearly shown another hypocritical government with leaders without integrity.
A critical look at some of the appointments, those accepting some of the appointments, those singing praises as well as religious leaders associating with the system shows that the system is bereft of integrity.
It is quite unfortunate that the President has continued to give a deaf ear and a blind eye to the clamour and pointing of fingers at some of his ministers and cabinet members accused of corruption. There is need for the executive to completely purge itself of all vestiges and appearances of malfeasance so it can authoritatively occupy the moral high ground in good conscience to deal with official corruption wherever and in whatever quasters it is found.
Only recently, the judiciary, through the National Judicial Council, NJC, did some cleansing of their ranks with the announcement of the sacking of three judges.
Rising from its 78th meeting on Thursday, September 29, 2016, the NJC, in a release signed by its Acting Director of Information, Soji Oye made public the decision of the council to compulsorily retire Justice Ladan Tsamiya, the Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division; Justice I. A. Umezulike, the Chief Judge of Enugu State while Justice Kabiru Auta of the Federal High Court in Kano State was dismissed from service with effect from Friday, September 30, 2016.
In fact, the release indicated that Justice Auta was to be handed over to the police for prosecution.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the NJC, and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed has said that the house cleansing would continue as the searchlight is already being beamed on some other priests in the temple of justice.
This is highly commendable and what is expected. The story however is yet to be replicated in the other two arms of government.
The National Assembly in particular has continued to shield its officers accused of various kinds of misadventure and infraction of the constitution of the federal republic. It is not news that the leadership of the 8th Senate is standing criminal trial while still firmly occupying the exalted seat.
The House of Representatives is currently embroiled in a scandal of desecrating the 2016 national budget with the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin shouting himself hoarse that other thieves like him in the House should be brought to justice and punished as well.
Of course, Hon. Jibrin has been isolated and punished for his indiscretion and attempts to bring to the public view the security guarded secrets of the hallowed green chambers and its “honourable” deeds. As long as the leadership of our country remains in the hands of men and women of questionable character in the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature, the change that will turn our fortunes for the better will remain a mirage.
The fact that most Nigerians and the political dealers scavenging for Nigeria’s carcasses share the fundamental belief that they do not have a stake in the country serves as an emotional coat that allows them to cash the commonwealth without let or hindrance
If the government of President Buhari is sincere about savings for investment in the critical sectors of the economy that would generate jobs, his government must not remain silent in the face of growing outcry against the obscene salaries and allowances that public officials in Nigeria take home.
Less than 18,000 Nigerian public officials take more than 1.2 trillion naira a year in salaries and allowances. A Nigerian senator, for instance, takes more than 1 million US dollars a year. Considering the minimum wage of N 18,000 a month, which some states are yet to start paying, a reduction of 700 billion naira from the current annual wage bill of 1.2 trillion naira for the about 17, 474 public officials (including judges), should leave them with enough to live on.
If a Nigerian worker is expected to live on N 216,000 a year, a senator should be grateful to have N 83 million a year, which is 42 percent of the current N 198 million that a senator takes home every year.
In his book entitled “Enforcement of Morals”, P. Devlin explains the importance of morality to the survival of any society. He states that one of the essential elements of a society is a shared morality. If a society’s shared morality is weakened, this has a tendency to lead to the destruction of the society itself.
Nigerian politics and politicians, since the end of the 1st Republic have degenerated rapidly towards the bottom of the pit of disrepute.
Every passing generation of politicians is succeeded by a more primitive and barbaric set. The 2nd Republic politicians were terrible. The 3rd Republic politicians beat their predecessors at bad governance.
The present 4th Republic politicians are the most terrible so far. One common thread runs through the attitude, beliefs and actions of the recent politicians: greed, avarice, self-service and accumulation of wealth at the expense of the country.
There is a total lack of patriotism, or a spirit of public or national service. They are in politics to make quick fortune. In other words, the post 1st Republic politics is carnal, banal,
mundane and pedestrian.
The saddest part of it all is that the younger the politician, the greedier, more corrupt, and rabidly anti-social he is.
With each successive generation of politicians and public servants, we seem to have become afflicted with a more perverted class of humanity whose only inclination is to loot our wealth and resources, oppress us, and reduce our country and society to devastated and chaotic conditions.
Ms Williams writes from Port Harcourt.

 

Tammy Williams

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APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request

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The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn. 
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.

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A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law

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Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs.  Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.

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NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System

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Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed. 
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and  the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
  “We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
 Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers. 
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
 ”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
 “Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. 
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. 

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