*Supports Buhari Anti-Corruption War But It Should Not Be Selective.
*Agrees With The President That Corruption is An Abuse of Human Right
*Insists that Any Violation of The Constitution is An Abuse of Human Rights.
The Founder/Chairman of Egalitarian Mission for Africa, Barrister Kayode Ajulo, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of embracing the practice of continuously violating the Nigerian Constitution.
Speaking with journalists during the 2015 on going Nigerian Bar Association conference in Abuja, Ajulo said that the fact that the President was yet to appoint ministers was a direct violation of the provision of the Nigerian Constitution.
“The fact that three months after his inaugurations and five months after his election as President, President Buhari is yet to appoint ministers to oversee the affairs in the various ministries is in itself a mockery of the Constitution. Without any resort to sentiments, discerning persons across the nation have continued to wonder why the president is going about his governance and administration of the nation in such a counter-productive and archaic one-man show manner.
“Nigeria is a nation founded on law and the president’s approach to governance is fast becoming a travesty. What makes it even more ludicrous is the fact that that the Constitution which the President has treated with such flagrant disregard is the very same document that creates, upholds and protects his office,” he said.
Ajulo however salute the President's anti-corruption war and ask that it should not be selective. He stated, "while I totally agree with the President that corruption is an abuse of human rights, he needs to know also that our Constitution is our right to governance, therefore any violation of the constitution is a violation of our rights as Nigerians.
Ajulo, who is the National Secretary of the Labour Party also asserted that there are cogent reasons why the Constitution made room for the appointment of ministers.
“The drafters of the Constitution envisaged the enormous responsibility of the office and the burden of governance and hence made provision for the appointment of ministers to ease the burden and to ensure effective governance and administration. This present resort to a solo voyage by Mr. President under the guise of shopping for competent hands is an unacceptable aberration that should be resisted by well-meaning Nigerians.
“Uncritical praise-singers of the president may want to argue that the Constitution never specified the dates on which ministerial appointments should have been concluded. However, the truth is that a 4-year mandate is what Nigerians have given President Buhari, and the questions on discerning and objective-minded persons are ‘At what point and time will the president come to terms with the reality of his emergence as president, and commence the serious business of governance and administration of the nation?’ and ‘Does the president even realize that an attempt to bear the burden of governance and administration of the nation may be detrimental to his health, given the fact that he cannot be described as young and agile?’ ”, Ajulo said.
The legal luminary dismissed the argument that the president was still evaluating the situation on-ground, stating that the argument that the president needed a time for honeymooning was a mischievous one which was not in the best interest of the common man in Nigeria.
“Honeymoon? Is that what we are talking about now? We all know that the nation is in dire straits and it strikes you as intentional mischief when you hear people whom you thought should know better arguing that Nigerians who have suffered from misrule for so long, should exercise patience while the president enjoys his honeymoon period. Other societies that can afford such luxuries have experienced a tradition of good governance for decades so there is no urgency or emergency to their political process or governance. This is not the case in Nigeria,” he stated.
Ajulo also alleged that the non-appointment of ministers by the president was stifling national development and putting Nigerians through unnecessary hardship.
“What we have at the moment across the nation is a case of arrested development. This non-appointment of ministers and the president’s obstinate insistence on making do with the permanent secretaries of the various ministers has put the nation in a stranglehold as development has been stifled across board.
“The permanent secretaries have designated roles of administration while ministers have their own roles. It is also a known fact that these roles of the secretaries have limits; there is a limit to what they can approve. The vacuum imposed by the president’s refusal to appoint ministers has cost the nation a lot in terms of development and national growth. This is actually a betrayal of the millions who gave President Buhari their votes in the hope that he would hit the ground running as promised,” he asserted.
Ajulo also warned that the recent appointments as announced by the Presidency portended a grave danger for the nation in that it was booby-trapping the ministries for impending crises when the ministers are appointed.
“Nigerians should also wake up to the fact that the present spate of appointments of heads of government parastatals and MDAs are in essence time-bombs for inevitable crises which would emerge whenever the ministers are appointed, if ever.
“It is known that under due process, such appointments are made after extensive consultations with the ministers in charge- particularly those that concern their ministries. This is often done to ensure harmonious relationships between the office of the ministers and the various MDAs in the ministries. Now, different crises are imminent with the high handed manner in which President Buhari has appointed heads in some of the MDAs recently, without any form of consultation with the ministers who are supposed to have been in charge if he had appointed them promptly. Nigerians should brace themselves for the spate of crises that is primed to erupt when the president eventually announces his ministers, if ever,” he said.
Ajulo charged lawyers not to relent as they go about their duties contributing their quota towards the rebuilding of Nigeria.
“Lawyers are social engineers and as such, they have a critical and indispensable role to play in the onerous task of nation-building. I hereby charge my learned colleagues not to relent in their quest to build a just and equitable society, and to remain undaunted as they resist parochial and primordial perspectives and interests who would, if they could, keep the nation in a stagnated state.
“Let us continue to uphold and observe integrity as the bedrock of our noble profession, as we champion the cause of justice for a peaceful society,” he said.
Ajulo however lamented the fact that it appeared that some persons within the legal profession seem to have compromised their stance for pecuniary gains.
“It is somewhat alarming and depressing that certain figures who one would have expected to be vocal in insisting on the observance of the rule of law in the conduct of governance and administration across the nation have largely switched into a form of ‘silent mode’ even in the face of glaring aberrations in the day-to-day conduct of governance within the presidency.
“It is unfortunate that at this critical time which will inevitably set the tone of governance for the next four years- ultimately determining whether Nigerians would experience the gains of democracy, some of our esteemed colleagues have elected to adopt the ‘siddon look’ posture and take a neutral position perhaps in hope of clinching juicy appointments from the presidency, instead of speaking up on the side of truth and equity,” he said.
Egalitarian Mission for Africa publicity