The Federal Government has been advised to remove the constitutional discretional powers of the executive over key oversight agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and other anti-graft and regulatory agencies.
A professor of Political Science from the Bennington College, Vermont, USA, Prof. Rotimi Suberu, gave the advice at a seminar organised by the Ibadan School of Goverance and Public Policy (ISGPP) on Tuesday.
In his lecture titled, “Constitutional Foundations of Political Corruption in Nigeria and a Reform Strategy”, Prof Suberu posited that insulating oversight agencies from the control of the executive arm of government will help in curbing political corruption.
He said part of the impediments of the present constitution was the excess powers given to the executive and most “fatally” the president as a person. According to him, the result is a weak and over-politicised oversight and democratic systems.
Prof. Suberu pushed for a situation whereby other agencies will enjoy fiscal and administrative independence, devoid of political interference. According to him, part of what contributed to the success of the former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was his decision not to seek renewal of tenure.
The political scientist also advocated that the current system of unconditional federal revenue distribution be restructured in favour of Fiscal federalism.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Vice Chairman of ISGPP, Dr. Tunji Olaopa stated that corruption in Nigeria’s context is mostly viewed with fiscal lens, there is a need to deepen the view by interrogating the issue of political corruption especially as it manifest through the manipulation and exploitation of political institutions.
He said the aim of the day’s seminar was to look at the afformentioned issue as well as how political corruption plays out in the deliberate weakening and violation of the value foundation of political institutions “in a nation where the essence of everything including the meaning of eternity where we woukd all be at the end of time is politicised.”
Also speaking in favour of fiscal restructuring, renowned geographer and Nobel Prize winner, Prof Akin Mobogunje, regretted that the country took a wrong turn in 1969 when the government tampered with the resources sharing system in order to prosecute the civil war.
Accordimg to him, the resources sharing system then stipulated 50 per cent for the state, 30 per cent to the distribution pool and 20 per cent to the Federal Government; but all that suddenly changed to 100 per cent to the federal after the passage of the Petroleum Act.
He said the government now needs to retrace its step even though “oil is going and the population keeps growing”. He urged government to return to taxation and ensure that the people get the value of their taxes.