Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) Wednesday aimed a salvo at some of the appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari, lamenting that such appointments have done harm than good to Nigerians.
The lawmaker stated this while giving his remarks at the 2017 Nigeria Democracy Day Lecture organized by the Save Democracy Group Africa (SDG-Africa) in Abuja.
The lecture which attracted eminent personalities drawn from politics, academia, civil society organizations and women advocacy groups, focused on the ills bedeviling the Nigerian state and strategies for tackling them to entrench a culture of patriotism and nationalism.
Melaye lamented the appointment into government of people without the requisite experience, noting that the development is largely to blame for some of the ills recorded in the first two years of Buhari administration.
“Democracy is defined as a government of the people, by the people and for the people but what we had in the time of Jonathan was greedocracy, which is the government of the greedy, by the greedy and for the greedy.
Today, we have criminocracy-a government of the criminals, by the criminals and for the criminals. Wrong appointment led to the emergence of the former (suspended) Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF who became a grasscutter,” he said, adding that “when you appoint a man who has no experience in civil administration as SGF, he is bound to misbehave.”
To sustain the nation’s democracy, Melaye urged Nigerians to note that a legitimate clash of interest exists between the legislature and the executive arm and as such, the National Assembly should be allowed the liberty to carry on with its statutory duty without hindrance.
“There is no where an auditor and the man who runs an organization are friends. There’s something wrong when the two are seen taking tea together,” he argued. He further noted that those calling for the restructuring of the Nigerian state are right, adding that “we must discuss and agree to be Nigerians. We have not discussed and we have not agreed.”
The only way in the opinion of the lawmaker to curtail agitation for secession is for Nigerians to trust their leaders, saying for this happen, leaders must lead by examples. “Generators should only been used at emergency centres like hospitals and mortuaries so that when there is no light in Karmo (a suburb of Abuja), there will be no light also at the villa,” he said.
Melaye summed up his contribution by advocating for the removal of immunity clause from the nation’s constitution while urging government to take care of hunger and unemployment to put a stop to agitation for the break-up of the nations by some marginalized ethnic nationalities.
Earlier in his keynote address titled, “Sustainable Democracy and the National Question,” Barrister Mike Ozekhome, SAN urged leaders not to take the unity of the country for granted even as he argued that agitation for secession is a right recognized by international law and the United Nations. He said, “To sustain democracy, we must not take Nigeria unity for granted. Let us go back to fiscal federalism through devolution of power to the federating units.”
On his part, guest lecturer and former Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Professor Nuhu Yaqub condemned the nation’s variant of democracy, lamenting that close to two decades after the military relinquished power, democracy is yet to take root in the land.
“There’s no democracy in Nigeria but civil rule. The political parties are mere electoral machines, existing for the sole purpose of conducting elections,” he said, adding that a return to regionalism is the way out of the economic squeeze most states are grappling with today.
Present at the lecture were Senator Babafemi Ojudu who represented the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, Senator Femi Kila, Chief Chukwuemeka Eziefe (ex-Anambra State governor), Muhammed Abba Gana (former Minister, Federal Capital Territory), and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ghali Umar Na’aba.