I have always believed that the continued retention of the immunity clause in the Abdulsalami sponsored Nigerian Constitution that was handed over as a “fait accompli” to Obasanjo upon his election as President in May 1999, is to me, a total mockery of Obasanjo’s current War against Corruption in our country.
The greatest pen robbers in our country have, by that provision, been given a license, if not a free ride to steal as much they want while in office. These pen robbers includes the most powerful politicians and public officials in our system including the President himself, as Head of State, and each of the 36 State Governors without exception.
If I were President Obasanjo and I was determined to fight Corruption, like he said he would, on taking his oath of office, my priority would have been to use all the leverage I have to convince my Party the majority Party at both Federal and State levels to get ready to give me the 2/3 majority I would need in each State to have the immunity provision expunged with immediate effect. That would have been my first order of business. Obasanjo is fighting a war he cannot win for as long as that obnoxious provision remains the supreme Law of our country. Laws are made for human beings not the other way round. If any Law is not working for us, the way out is to change the Law. Our Legislature has an oversight responsibility to act, if our holier than thou President
will not. President Obasanjo should have acted sooner, if he is to be taken seriously.
President Obasanjo did not do that. He had spent much of his first term looking the other way for all the pen robbers in Nigeria to use their first four years to loot the Government treasuries under their control. That inertia notwithstanding, Obasanjo and his PDP still won a landslide victory thru massive rigging in 2003. If the current highest office holders enjoy immunity, what do you say about the President attitude to the list of Nigerian billionaires and multi millionaires recently published in the Financial Times for all to see around the world. Are those former office holders like IBB and the rest of them also immune from prosecution? That is a legitimate question to ask.
Governor Dariye and now Alamieyeseigha the Bayelsa State Governors have both jumped bail in an effort to avoid being jailed in the UK, and have escaped to Nigeria where their iniquities and criminality are subject to immunity from prosecution, and our President says he is fighting Corruption. The two Governors are going to live happily hereafter, and the Nigerian criminal system can hardly lift a finger against them! What a country? I just wonder what kind of role models are those Governors for the law-abiding citizens of their States, and for other Nigerians in general. President Obasanjo and the Scotland Yard that have granted bail to the criminally minded Governor must be feeling terribly embarrassed today that it has been fooled. But the great losers in all of this are law-abiding Nigerians in the UK who are, forever, tainted by the criminal behavior of the Governors. Any Court in England today would think twice in offering bail privileges to any Nigerian accused of any crime. If a Governor can do what the Bayelsa Governor and Dariye have now done, the case can be made that any Nigerian can do the same. It is a big shame that we all should be concerned about!
President Obasanjo, if he does not want to be viewed as a joker (and a big accomplice in all of these shameful behavior) ought to do something about removing the immunity clause from our Constitution with immediate effect. The clause was added to begin with to forestall frivolous litigations from going forward to distract our President and Governors and Deputy Governors from performing the jobs to which they have been elected. We now know that was only a criminal decoy. The goal was to make it totally impossible to punish corrupt practices on the part of our leaders, both past and present. It is a no-win situation for Nigeria, and I am ashamed of this development, and so should all of us.
I rest my case.