'Integrity Test And Notable Survivors' By AbdulRahman Agboola

By: AbdulRahman Agboola

The generality of young people are expected to understand the imports of pedigree, nay, just but few who are struggling to achieve distinctions and unblemished records in their fields of endeavours are on the track to attain pedigree while the political landscape is not even comfortable for the young men with pedigree to emerge either as Governors or President. It is not damaging to state that most of the young people tested with authority since 1999 failed and the urge to turn the tides around is highly imperative with the poor state of affairs of our Country today. The young people are the soul of every Nation, the quality of thinking and depth of knowledge among them are necessities for growth and development.

In advanced democracy globally, scrutiny of public officers or people aspiring to hold public offices goes beyond mere routine, it is an ultimate priority for security agencies assigned with the task of background checks and proper profiling for the purpose of ensuring stability in the polity. The result may not yield perfect result but the essence has proved worthy where integrity really matters, prior to issuance of security clearance to either get appointed or elected.  Where security agencies are not compromised by political stooges that play to the gallery, security clearance is a core prerequisite to earn trust as a public officer and when a public officer is indicted for acts that breach public trust whether current or in retrospect, such officer exit office in the interest of public trust. Every political office holder is usually under watch for any oddity capable of derailing the cause of good governance and when situation abound, any erring public officer must drop the baton.

Ours is not an advanced democracy but we can improve on the gains of the last few years to advance democratic values and norms. Although, there are several impediments such as poor orientation, self-indulgence, quota system and affinity, blocking our path to toll the path of core democratic engagements in line with the constitution, the urgent needs to create Nigerian Principles is very germane to advance democracy in Nigeria. Paper qualifications without commensurable proof of intellectual mobility by office seekers to discharge required tasks effectively and in positive manner negate the task ahead and raise germane concerns for future elections in Nigeria. People seems to have limited opportunities to correct the ills of the society to transition while failing to understand that political parties in Nigeria lacks ideological premises to promote democratic ethos.

Every great Country has guiding principles that serves as motivations for citizens to entrust their welfare in care of their leaders that never betray citizens’ trust. In Nigeria, what are our guiding principles other than the Constitution bestowed on the Nation under a military junta and has not witnessed a complete overhaul. It has somewhat become a tradition in this era to submit to whim and gestures of political office holders without halting that leadership when situation arises. It is nauseating to observe that, except for bickering or crises among political lords, no Governor or President in Nigeria ever stepped down or democratically forced out of office on the altar of peoples opposition, dissatisfaction or loss of confidence. The people are tied to the apron of the intentions of the drafters of our constitution to allow every elected officer to rule with ignominy if he chooses to and only get removed at election period. The ruling class is guilty of misgoverning the people but the people themselves especially the downtrodden, provided the platform for the oppressive tendencies of the ruling class in so many ways. Topical out of this is our failure to thoroughly investigate the private life, pedigree, antecedents, moral background and career records of people we repose our confidence at moments of elections.

Since 1999, every successive government has exhausted their terms and even influences the emergence of their successors with virtually nothing to substantiate growth and development in Nigeria. A re-evaluation of the method of governance in Nigeria will be instrumental to future accomplishments if issues are dissected into proper perspectives, commencing from restructuring of federating units, unicameral legislature, local government autonomy and merger of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria Drugs and Law Enforcement Agency and Department of State Security with the Nigeria Police Force to have an efficient, strong and reliable Police Force like we had before the deliberate decimation of the Police Force by the Federal Government during the Military era.

It is very imperative to state that the Nigeria Police Force was a cynosure for other Africa Countries till government created other agencies with duplicitous roles that weakened the operations of Police Force. It is not a misfire to regard this act as a deliberate act by the Military Juntas that reigned in Nigeria to ensure that the Military interfere in internal security and make the police force irresponsible and the result is what we witness today.  Since the 2015 Presidential Election, the word integrity is fondly used as basis of appointment into public offices; this parameter is a positive measure capable of forestalling emergence of crooks and dubious personalities as public officers. In the last two years, notable among indicted public officers on allegations of corruption are not at rest, the system has put them on trial on varied degrees but much more needed to be actualized to make them accountable for their misdeeds and deny them future opportunities of holding public offices. Recently at the National Assembly, there seems to be a thin disconnect from the tradition of outright submissions to the will of Mr President on confirmations of appointees and approvals.

The Senate in particular has raised their responsibility by relying on security clearance before confirmations as indicated in their reliance on test of integrity. Who is legally empowered to issue security clearance and what is the level of fairness of that agency to the Nigeria System. Since the Senate has priority for integrity test, Senators should be the first point of reference and Sahara Reporters has taken the lead by putting the most vocal Senator in the red chamber to integrity test through his academic records from the University he attended.  Senator Dino Melaye is obviously a product of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria where he studied Geography at the degree level. Although Sahara Reporters alleged Dino Melaye of not graduating from the institution, different revelations showed he graduated but under questionable circumstances at variance with laid down regulations considering the academic transcripts of Senator Dino Melaye, he failed the integrity test woefully because circumstances that surrounds his graduation negates standard the institution is reputed for. He spent 8 years for a 4 years Course and was eventually granted waivers of seven carry over courses before exiting the system with a poor grade and until the management of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University make categorical statement to clear the air on his academic career, we cannot conclude on this matter.

Aside his academic qualification, Dino Melaye never had a carrier in the civil service nor organized private sector other than running a Non-Governmental Organisation known as National Democratic Youth before his ascendance into the corridor of power in 2007 or thereabout. He is political machinery and how can political machinery with flares for display of wealth pass an integrity test. Come to think of it, he once earned a suspension from the House of Representatives and enjoyed the backing of the leaders of All Progressive Congress that super imposed him on other candidates for the Senatorial Election in his constituency without a proper primary election and as a matter of fact, Samuel Aro was disqualified for Dino Melaye at the primaries by APC Leaders. Where is the place of pedigree in his ascendancy to fame and political power?

There are numerous Senators with records of frauds in previous positions held while several of them are battling with moral crises over public knowledge of their dubious antecedents by the general public yet they secured security clearance to contest elections same for some serving Ministers and Governors. We cannot afford to continue to allow people of flawed antecedents to occupy public offices simply because they have means of escaping the wrath of the law, the law must be functional enough to sanitize the corridors of power and prevent ill motivated personalities from occupying sensitive positions any longer. Aside Sahara Reporters and Premium Times, just a handful of Print and Electronic Medias currently engage in genuine investigative journalism, without which democracy will not thrive beyond civil rule as we have witnessed in the last 18 years. The media has the responsibility of sensitizing Nigerians on issues of national importance, though press freedom places embargo on blackmail and slander, proper reportage should be the watchword.

If we evaluate the credentials of public office holders, we will discover that majority of them lacks integrity but we cannot allow the vicious circle to continue. My fears on the project for a better society where the ills will be replaced with virtuous deeds are the young men and women of Nigeria deeply enmeshed in frivolities and self-indulgence. It has become a habit among young people to blame the elderly population of misruling this Country since 1960 and feels they should vacate the center stage for young people to govern the Country and available statistics shows that a paltry few out of people below 45 years of age that have occupied public offices in the last 17 years have mismanaged the affairs of the people and enriched themselves corruptly, which means it is our system or method of governance that strongly require necessary reviews.

An amusing situation is the fact that the elderly people mostly wielding political influences and power today fought against status quo in their younger days where they struggled and achieved Independence for the Country, change of system of government from parliamentary to presidential, abolition of regional government, state creations and led struggles for the enthronement of democratic rule in 1999 whereas, we the young people of today have failed to coordinate ourselves to achieve interesting systemic change at this era but promote misdemeanours under the guise of freedom of speech, religion, social life and association, a situation that must change if Nigeria must move forward as a Nation.

Let young people of Nigeria close their ranks and unite to achieve a total overhaul of the system by conducting proper analysis of issues from well informed point of views before accepting or condemning policies, actions and principles at variance with their knowledge. The act of submitting to authorities and wishes of people we regard as role models and mentors because of pecuniary gains or lack of knowledge about their dubious tendencies has placed this Country on perpetual ruin and the right time is now for genuine activists and mobilisers to raise the advocacy for a better Nigeria in the best interest of this Country on the verge of economic ruin. Politicians fights dirty for absolute control over structures, while masses gets carried away with the bait of public interest as the basis of feud among the gladiators, their bigger interest still unite them, it's all about relevance and sadankata, nothing like public interest yet, let the holiday katakata continue but young people must be productive in thoughts and actions, fairness should be fair enough for public good and equity must be equitable without limitations.

Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola
Good Citizen of Nigeria

E-mail: goodcitizen4gg@gmail.com 08032813279          

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