Dayo Johnson Akure
THE Pan Yoruba socio-Political group, Afenifere yesterday said that the allegation of padding of the 2016 budget rocking the House of Representatives has rubbished the anti-corruption crusade of the present administration.
It equally called for the review of the present revenue allocation formula and asked the Federal Government to stop being a money lender to the states.
Rising from its monthly meeting held at Akure, the country home of its National Leader Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the group described the happening in the Green Chamber as scandalous.
In a communique read by its spokesman Yinka Odumakin, the group said “we are miffed that in the midst of anti-corruption going on, people still have the courage to be engaging in this kind of corrupt activities.
“This has reinforces our long-held view that treating the symptoms of corruption without dealing with it as a whole, we will not achieve much because if the incentive in town that people have to steal money no matter the corruption you are fighting, people will still continue to do this kind of thing; and this is what we have seen in this budget padding.
“It is like seeing pick-pockets who are operating where armed robbers were being shot. The imperative of this for us that Nigeria must restructure at this moment.
“We need a new model of governance that puts governance at the question of service, development and not personal pursuit which the present structure offers.
” People will continue to respond to the incentives that the society offers at any given time, and this structure has shown clearly that it is sustained by corruption and that is why in the midst of anti-corruption, we are hearing of budget padding and these scandals rocking our legislative body.
On the State of the economy, the group declared that “there is much hardship in town largely occasioned by the fact that government is the largest spender in our economy, and the economic crunch that the government is facing has made it difficult for government at all levels to meet their obligations to their workers.
“This has created a terminal crisis which almost 30 states today cannot pay their salaries for some months. We are insisting that until Nigeria restructure to have a new economic model that allows every state to go under the soil and bring out their resources to expand the productive base so that there will be more prosperity and can take care of their workers.
” But in the short term, we are asking that the Federal Government should stop being a money lender to the state, giving bail-outs and giving conditions like IMF to states; rather we should take another look at the revenue allocation formula and free some of what the federal government is holding at the moment to go to the state.
“Statutorily, in any case, most of the resources that the FG is using to getting these resources that are given as bail-outs came from the state.
“The only territory that belongs to the FG today is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and that FCT, ordinary pure water; they are not producing anything there. So if you are giving bail-out, let us slash what FG is taking to go to the state and so that they can meet their statutory obligation to their workers.
” Until we try to get out of this country by restructuring this problem to create a productive base for our economy.
On the reopening of murder cases, the group said it welcome the gesture by FG under President Muhammadu Buhari to reopen investigation the killings that were not resolved in the past.
” This shows that at least we are still a society that lays some premium on human lives.
“We want the perpetrators to be brought to book and punished so that those who are trying to get justice and there will be deterrence to other crimes.
“We are also asking that the investigations should be holistic, it should not just be about to two people; it must also be extended to the killers of MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Rewane, Funsho Williams, Marshall Harry and other high profile political murders that took place from the days of Abacha until recent times so that they can put a closure on these murders.
“There can be justice, those who carry out the crimes can be punished and there will be deterrence.
The group equally condemned the attack of Lagos and Ogun communities last two weeks by militants and the kidnap of the Oniba of Iba.
While appealing to the people not to allow themselves to be provoked into vengeful acts against their neighbours who may not know anything about the activities of these criminals, the group encourage them to activate their traditional self-defence mechanism to be able to ward off these aggressors on their own.
They said that “We found out that the Nigerian police up till now have only been lamenting, they have not apprehended any of the people who are carrying out this dastardly acts, and that gives us some worries.