Putting Service Into Into Nigeria Politics!

The government is planning tough laws making prosecution of those found wanting in corrupt practises mandatory. The government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan is drafting a law to put restrictions on bureaucrats intending to take part in the 2011 polls after immediate retirement. The Federal government has embarked on the tasks of reforms in the electoral system, politics and the anti-corruption commission with an aim to rid politics of corruption. The reinstatement of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu in the country’s anti-graft policy is a great gesture in that direction. To complete the process, promulgation of a number of legislative bills is expected before a fresh schedule is announced for the 2011 elections.

Electoral laws will be amended before the next elections to make registration for political parties mandatory and bar retired bureaucrats from taking part in elections in 3-4 years after their retirement. A flock of retired bureaucrats from both civil and military administrations had joined in party politics and contested general elections immediately after their retirement over the last decade contributing to politicisation of administration.

Moreover, political parties are not accountable to the INEC due to loopholes in the existing laws. The government will be contemplating enactment of tougher laws for political reforms to make political parties transparent and accountable to the INEC about their sources of funding and expenses.

A law adviser, who is also the key-convener of “nigeria4betterrule”, asserted that the main thrust of the government was to rid politics of unabated corruption. ‘If politics can be made free of corruption, other areas including bureaucracy and business will automatically get free of it.’ Even as Mallam Ribadu steps in; bureaucrats and businessmen are not the immediate target of the on going-drives against criminals and corrupt people,’ participants in the May session of nigeria4betterrule” forum cleared the stand of the Jonathan government about the move.

A new impetus about Mallam Ribadu’s renewed presence in the anti-graft crusade initiative has been taken to enact a law titled Prosecutors Protection bill to protect lawyers and law-enforcement agents, including Journalists who will provide secret information about corruption in government and semi-government offices and different companies.

The decision could yield resounding results. Sometimes reporters and journalists do not get protection while collecting information about corruption. Many people working in the government and semi-government offices know about corruption in their offices, but they do not dare to supply the information to the government for a lack of protection. Those who will furnish information about corruption deserve protection.

But the reporters and journalists will have to pay the penalty for misinformation as a measure of safeguard against falsely implicating one in such moral stigma. If one gives false information, he will be punished .The prime objective of the Jonathan’s government is to cleanse politics, bringing the most corrupt politicians to justice.

Participant’s comments on corruption and reforms of politics came amid a crackdown on politicians with alleged links with crime and corruption. The anti-graft forces are carrying out the drives and have already captured over 20 politicians and businessmen including former ministers who are now in jail on a 30-day detention.

About the recent arrests of high profile politicians like Bode George on NPA fraud and Hon. Elumelu on rural electrification flaw; such actions are being taken considering the people’s sentiment against political corruption. Meanwhile, this government cabinet meeting at its weekly meeting on decided to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to assure international community that the government was sincere about curbing corruption.

The bureaucracy had been politicised but this government is pledge-bound to de-politicise the civil service through reform of the electoral laws. The INEC will hold dialogue with people from different strata before bringing about changes. The government would streamline politics in a way so that ‘politics becomes service to the nation, instead of business.’

The trial of politicians found wanting will be held speedily under the existing laws and the rules to be formulated to supplement the Anti-Corruption Commission Act. The new rules will have provisions for speedy trial of the graft cases. The government will bring those to justice who considered themselves to be above law, taking advantage of politics for years. They have done much harm to Nigeria; as a country.

The thuggery as encouraged by party politics is meant to deprived people of their basic rights. Those who patronised rise of thug forces during elections would be brought to justice. The government has also initiated a move to reconstitute the electoral mandate committee which has remained crippled since the inception of this democracy in 1999.. The commission will step up to liase with the anti-graft body. The administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan assumed office on May 15 following the death of president Umaru Yar’Adua to realize the 2011 elections, and vowed to fight against crime and corruption and rid elections of the influence of black money.

Written by
L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu
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