Ola Ajayi – Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has signed the Oyo State Anti-Corruption Bill 2019 into Law saying it was not intended to witchhunt anyone.
The Governor, who assented to the bill passed last week by the State House of Assembly, said that his assent was a signal his government was ready to enforce probity and accountability.
The governor set up the anti-corruption agency to beam searchlight into the financial activities of the previous administration in the state.
According to statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, Governor Makinde, immediately after his assent, transferred the law to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo for further administrative actions.
The Governor had, as part of initial declarations upon assumption of office, declared that the State under his watch would establish its own anti-corruption agency to ensure probity, accountability and good governance.
While signing the bill into law on Wednesday, Governor Makinde said: “We have just signed the anti-corruption law for Oyo State.
There is nothing to be afraid of. Why we have domesticated the anti-corruption law is that just as we want the governance to get closer to the grassroots. We also want to guard the resources of the state in the same manner.
“Yes, corruption kills the society. When money meant for projects, salaries and certain developmental initiatives are diverted, we miss the opportunities.”
The Governor, who spoke at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor’s Office, said that the law has no political colourations, as according to him, corruption and underdevelopment have no political leanings.
“This is not a law meant to witch-hunt anyone. It is not about politics or political interests. It is not about APC or PDP but about Oyo State. We know for a fact that if we tackle corruption, we will have enough resources to take care of our people and that is exactly what this law is meant to achieve for us,” he said.
The Governor reiterated his readiness to waive his immunity and face any corrupt charges against him, if he commits any infractions to the law.
He added: “So, we believe we have to tackle corruption. I said it during my inaugural address as the Executive Governor of Oyo State that I will be ready to waive my immunity to face any corruption charges against my person and I still maintain that position.”
The Governor, therefore, enjoined every citizen of the State to alert the Government of any unscrupulous activities, adding; “if you see something, say something.”
He also warned against writing frivolous petitions, adding that anyone found guilty of such would equally be prosecuted.
“I want to implore everybody, the citizens of Oyo State to say something when they see something. And I can give you the assurance that we will act. We do know that people may want to take certain things for granted.
“They may want to use this law to settle scores, because we have seen situations where people wrote frivolous petitions against somebody they have hatred for and, with that, they think they have the opportunity to square up.
“Well, we won’t condone that. If you write a frivolous petition to us, you will also be sanctioned because that is corruption in itself.”
He warned the Civil Servants not to petitions themselves wrongly as anybody found doing so would face the law.
“And for my constituency, the civil servants, I do know that people jostle for positions, where they malign themselves to get into a higher position. This is not what the law is about. This law is to ensure that due processes are followed in our financial dealings and to ensure our resources are deployed for specific reasons why they were appropriated for, in the first instance.
The Governor further said: “So, it’s a new opportunity for us to show the world that we can run a transparent and accountable government. I do hope that nobody here will fall into the trap of corruption.
“I did mention that there is a serious temptation in this job. For instance, I am being paid N550,000 and I have to run a yearly budget of over 200 billion Naira. Of course, we will be tempted but we have to resist the temptation. We have to know that whichever position we occupy is based on the trust of the people and when we leave, we will still go back to the larger society and, if we perpetuate corruption, the effect is waiting for us out there.
“So, I want to assure the people of Oyo State that this law will keep us in check, hold us accountable. And if you have anything about any of us, don’t hesitate to bring the facts out and the law will take its full course.”