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On the Marble: Gani on corruption, SNC and the Niger Delta

RIBADU! Nuhu Ribadu is a positive accident to this government. If Obasanjo had known or he had been told by Adeboye or Olabayo or Mike Okonkwo through their vision that things would be like this, he would not have appointed him. Because I know that the president is not fighting corruption with his heart but this man is fighting corruption with his soul and life.

The very moment I saw his strategy and his approach, I embraced what he was doing. We have never had this type of impact in the history of anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria. The 419 had the hold of life before he came. 250 million dollars that wrecked a Brazilian bank, Nwude, Anajemba, all of them; he arrested them and made sure that a substantial part of that money was returned. I wept the day I saw him with the foreign cheque being presented to the bank owners who flew in from Brazil.

The beautiful thing about it all, all the things said against him, no one has said that he was corrupt, no one has said that he is corrupt; no one has said that there is a propensity of corruption against him.

I am praising what this young man is doing because he is thorough, he is sincere, he is honest, he is focused, he is well directed, I don’t care where you come from, you may come from Uturu in Abia State, you may come from a village in Adamawa, you may come from anywhere in this country, 1 look at what you do, not who you are, not your background, not your father, not your tribe not your religion, this man is an asset to this country.

He has changed the face of corruption. There are reports which are now coming in. The looters now find it hard to transfer their money into Europe. The looters now find it easier to transfer their money into America. And the man who makes it possible, we are denying him in Nigeria because he does not allow corruption to spread. 1 congratulate you and your team in the EFCC!

And this will take me to the topic of corruption that we are here for. Rule of law; yes, rule of law, what is rule of law? Rule of law means the law must rule, that is the meaning of the rule of law. There is nothing esoteric about the phrase rule of law. It only means the law must rule. Which law must rule? The fundamental law of the nation – the Constitution, says in section 15(5} that the State shall abolish all corrupt practises and abuse of power. That is a rule of law; and that is a fundamental law.

There is one creed that must go all over the Bar; Sovereign National Conference, Sovereign National Conference, Sovereign National Conference. We are not going to go back to the old days of just boiling along. We must have a Sovereign National Conference to restructure Nigeria and restructure the entire institutions of our country. How we are going to do it will depend on when we all meet to discuss on the modalities of doing so. But my own is very clear, let us have a Sovereign National Conference Planning Committee.

Let the Bar decide on it now. Because it will come after the crisis. If any body attempts to take over in this country, we will tell such person, we want democracy based on a Sovereign National Conference now. Because this democracy is slipping away, there is major crisis in the air. The Sovereign National Conference must be a Sovereign National Conference started by the Sovereign National Conference Planning Committee.Two categories of people must be at this Sovereign National Conference.

When we do all that, and we restructure Nigeria and the Niger-Delta people are not left in the lurch. How do you treat the people like this?

Now they are rising against you. The answer does not lie in putting one million soldiers in the Niger Delta, the answer lies in giving the people the socio-economic needs that they have been crying for over the years. The answer lies in using substantial part of their wealth for their own good. The answer lies in treating them as human beings not by creating fake NDDC (Niger Delta Development Committee).

But we all must do it collectively. We are prepared to make our own input, I am prepared to be a floor member of that committee. Let the Bar be pro-active and let them save Nigeria.


Being excerpts from Remarks by Gani Fawehinmi at the 3rd Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture and Symposium in 2007


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