Thursday, February 09, 2006

Where are the Honorable Men & Women in Plateau State?

The chronicle of events in Plateau state over the past few weeks has reduced the state to a theater of farce. On the one hand, we have a governor who has admitted to impropriety with the state’s ecological fund to the tune of 1.6 billion Naira, (Approximately $12 million); on the other we have people who are lending their support to him because he has fingered others with whom he allegedly committed the impropriety.

What boggles the mind is that rather than condemn this abominable conduct, the members of the state’s assembly who are supposed to check the state chief executive officer’s conduct are suing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for effecting an order freezing the state’s accounts and federal allocation in the wake of the morass the governor has worked himself into.

It is true that stanching funding to the state will create hardships and make governance difficult. But that is precisely what the EFCC seeks to achieve. By so doing it first of all renders unavailable funds prone to potential misappropriation, and second hopes to galvanize the honorable members of the state house of assembly to investigate allegations of graft and gross misconduct committed by the governor and subsequently impeach him if he is found wanton, to strip him of the immunity from prosecution he enjoys as governor, and allow for his indictment. If indeed honorable members of the state assembly are worthy their epithet, then it behooves them to judiciously and without bias, to investigate the allegation and cooperate with the EFCC to resolve the issue rather that assume an antagonistic posture that suggests their wholesale complicity in the matter.

They argue that the EFCC has no right to freeze the state accounts, but fail to acknowledge that the money comes from the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and as such the FGN has every right to question how the money is disbursed. Let me remind my honorable plateau state members and governor Dariye that in as much as plateau state is entitled to the FGN subvention, they are answerable not only to plateau state indigenes but every Nigerian citizen, all of whom to which monies allocated to states and FGN agencies belong. If you think because you are in plateau state, you can misappropriate FGN derived state funds, you must be grossly disillusioned. The money belongs to every Nigerian and must be properly accounted for.

Dariye was arrested and charged for money laundering in the United Kingdom in late 2004. He jumped bail and escaped to Nigeria back to the Plateau state government house, yet not one public figure in plateau state questioned this. Rather, we have so called prominent plateau politicians under the umbrella of Plateau Consultative Assembly paying the indicted and fugitive governor homage at the government house, in Rayfield, Jos to register their support. What exactly are they supporting? What message are they sending? Is it that they condone acts of graft, or that they are shameless and of dubious and crass political substance, or perhaps that they are in cahoots with the governor in the alleged acts of fiduciary impropriety?

Are there no honorable men and women in Plateau state? Are they all cronies of Dariye? If a state government and its house assembly have decided to institutionalize corruption, then the FGN has every right to withhold its subvention. The FGN has the primary responsibility to look out for the over 3 million citizens of plateau state, if the few hundred people elected and appointed to represent them are so blinded by greed and frank insincerity to do so.

The honorable thing for any public official to do under these circumstances in the civilized world is to resign, but of course water will sooner be squeezed out of a diamond than for Dariye to do this. Since Dariye would not resign and his cronies in the state assembly are reluctant to investigate him, then withholding the state’s subvention is the right thing for the FGN to do. After all, no right thinking person will keep his money carelessly where it will easily be stolen. Until the issue is resolved, it will be unwise for the FGN to continue to fund the state at the risk of the monies being frittered away into some state government official’s private bank account.


Imnakoya said...

The confession of Dariye has lent more weight to the allegations against him, but that is not really new!

His assertation that the PDP-controlled federal government asked his state to foot some party expenses, which you didn't address, speaks volume to the rot and lack of probity in the Nigerian state.

If indeed this allegation is true, then all attempts to prosecute him is really nothing but persecution!

Dariye has changed the rules of the game, and we need to example the allegation(s) he has put forward. That will be the proper thing to done.

Veracity said...

You are right. If Dariye's allegation is true, then EFCC should cast its dragnet at the higher echelon of the party. They may uncover a can of worms. If they do uncover impropriety, how they tackle this will be the acid test as to the authenticity of the agency.