Ten Questions for Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora
Senator Mamora takes Tayo Olanipekun through issues that have plagued the nation for long stressing that seriousness and sincerity of purpose will go a long way to redeem the nation
Has the nation escaped from the ills that activists such as Gani Fawehinmi fought against?
We?re still very far from the principles and values Gani stood for. If we?re progressing, we won?t be where we are today. We have issues with corruption, injustice, inability to pursue federalism, to even respect the law of the land. We need to remind ourselves we still need to do a lot.
It seems it will be too difficult to have the kind of Nigeria we desire. How best do you think the nation could be moved forward?
There are issues of insincerity and lack of seriousness. We are a people not serious and insincere. You see leaders saying one thing and doing another. Again, we?ve left undone what we should do and we are preoccupied with unnecessary things.
What is your take on federalism as being practiced in Nigeria today?
Since the entity called Nigeria came into existence in 1914, we?ve had so many constitutions. We?ve had so many constitutional conferences. We?ve had the Richard Constitution, Littleton Constitution, Independent Constitution, Republican Constitution, Babangida Constitution, Abacha constitution, all of these and yet we?ve not been able to move forward the way we should. This is because we have not exhibited sincerity and seriousness and have not been able to address the real issues. That?s why we keep on coming back all the times.
What are these core issues?
We talk about the issues of power, fiscal federalism, the state police and all that everytime, all because we have failed to address the fundamental issues.
How do we achieve functional federalism then?
The issue is that the foundation is defective and we want to build an edifice. Rather than keep on deceiving ourselves, we need to go back and restructure the foundation with a view to achieving functional federalism. We do this by restructuring along social, economic and political lines.
What about issues with our currency and its restructuring?
The reservation that I have is that no matter how good a policy appears to be, we must also look at the implications of such a policy on the people because the good of the people according to Cicero, is the supreme law. No matter what we do along this line, to the extent that there is apprehension in the system. The NLC said that if the N5, 000 note was introduced, they would demand for pay rise. Thus, no matter how good a policy may be, to the extent that it could negatively affect the life of people because they are at the centre of governance, at the centre of development are the people. Caution should be applied in pursuing any policy that may be in the interest of the people.
As a former senator, how do you see the criticism of the national assembly as not been active in fighting corruption?
Don?t forget that this is an arm of government whose primary purpose is to make laws. Because it is the laws made by the National Assembly that govern the activities of bodies like the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau and others. The point is that you can?t correct all the ills through laws alone. There is also the moral that is lacking and that is why the issue of values also becomes critical and important.
So it essentially takes moral and values to tackle corruption?
In a situation that the people concerned either through act of omission or commission or both fail to do what is right, you cannot blame that on the national assembly. It is not the national assembly that will investigate or prosecute. An allegation that is poorly investigated and poorly prosecuted cannot lead to conviction.
Or there is laxity on the part of law enforcement agencies?
It is the duty of the police and other agencies to investigate. I like to take a holistic view of the situation. We must begin to look at issue of thorough investigation and prosecution before we can be talking of conviction. When everything is done thoroughly, you can then deter people if only you sanction them accordingly as a result of infraction of the law.
Then, the indictment would also be on the judiciary?
Picture the case of a former governor who was accused of over 100 count charges and it was like what the bible says, ? many are the afflictions of the righteous ,God delivereth him from them all?. He was discharged of all and this is the same person that is imprisoned in the U.K for less than ten-count charge. This means something is wrong with the entire system. It is not just the national assembly.