July 10, (THEWILL) – The Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, on Monday, said Nigerians witnessed the worst phase of corruption and insecurity in the last eight years under former President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Kukah spoke on Monday, while delivering a keynote speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola’s call to the Bar, held in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
Bishop Kukah noted that even though corruption did not start under the last administration, it was amplified morally and financially.
“We have seen the worst phase of corruption in Nigeria, Femi Falana, my friend here will speak about that because he has published a series of articles talking about what happened under the Buhari administration.
“They were not the ones who caused corruption, but I think in the last administration, we saw the ugliest phase of corruption whether in moral terms, financial terms and other terms”, Kukah said.
Kukah lamented that Nigeria, currently reeling under insecurity, has continued to share its sovereignty with bandits and terrorists.
He said that nobody is excited now about being a Nigerian even if they are President or Senators, as the country is literally being held hostage by people who threaten the very existence of our democracy and country.
The Clergy noted that a lot of Nigerians have lost faith in the judiciary, but added that he considers the judiciary a victim the same way every other institution in Nigeria is suffering a crisis.
On his part, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who spoke on constitutionalism, described the self-determination of lawmakers’ emoluments as immoral.
Obasanjo maintained that salary allocation for elected officials is the responsibility of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which he said the lawmakers had jettisoned to fix salaries for themselves.
Under Paragraph 32(a-e) of Part I to the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the commission is saddled with determining the remuneration appropriate for political officeholders, including legislators, among other functions.
“The point in Nigeria which I have seen and which I can attest to is most of the people who are supposed to be operationalising or managing and seeing the constitution and democracy move forward, they are actually the ones who undermine the constitution.
“All elected people, by our constitution, their emolument is supposed to be fixed by the revenue mobilisation commission, but our lawmakers set that aside and they make laws and put any emolument for themselves.
“Even if that is constitutional, it is not moral and, of course, it is neither constitutional nor moral”, he said.
Obasanjo observed that other aspects of the Nigerian Constitution including Federal Character were “absolutely ignored”, adding that the Federal Character Commission barely carried out its function.
He commended Aare Babalola for his contributions to the development of the country.
“You have met this world at a point, you have met your community at a point, you have met your family at a point and what you have done is that what you have met, you have made it better than what you have found”, Obasanjo said.
On the ongoing election petitions, the host of the occasion, Afe Babalola, suggested that judges, who preside over election tribunals should be separate from regular court judges, to avoid the halt of cases unrelated to elections.
“Our judiciary today needs a total overhaul and you cannot do it without a new constitution. I have about three cases myself in respect of matters arising from the university.
“For the past four years, these cases have been on. We have some judges here, the headquarters won’t be able to sit for many months because they are handling what they call election petitions.
“Election petitions should not be handled by sitting judges, they should be decided only by the committee set up consisting of senior advocates and retired judges in that case regular courts would not close down”, Babalola stated.
Other dignitaries at the occasion include the Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi; former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Emeka Anyaoku; human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), amongst others.