AS the Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, engage in war of words over the alleged unaccounted $20 billion accrued to the Excess Crude Account, ECA, while the NGF was in crisis, Senator Olusola Adeyeye has said that many Nigerians will go to jail after May 29, when the new administration would have taken over power.
Meantime, Senator Adeyeye has ruled out the possibility of the serving Senate President, Senator David Mark emerging as the President of the Senate in the 8th senate when the All Progressives Congress, APC, has the majority of Senators with 60 Senators against the 49 of the PDP.
Speaking to Vanguard in Abuja yesterday, Senator Adeyeye, APC, Osun Central said that Nigerians are being giving different figures by those who manage the economy and that even the alleged unremitted $20 billion by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, will be accounted for after May 29.
He said, “To me and to most observant Nigerians, what we have heard over the years is an endless renditions of ‘abracadabra’ when it comes to the management of the limited resources of Nigeria. It is the case of, ’the more you look, the less you see.
“When you ask different people who ought to know about the magnitude of the revenue that had accrued to the federation, always, you get conflicting figures. The figures from the Minister of Finance are never the same as those of the Accountant – General of the Federation; they are never the same as those of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“They are never the same as those of the Budget management office; they are never the same as those of the Nigerian National petroleum corporation. So, you keep hearing figures and you don’t know who to believe but I have good news, by the grace of God, on the 29th of May, a new government would be inaugurated in Nigeria.
“Nigerians overwhelmingly expect that new government to diligently, look at the books not with an eye to persecute anyone but to ensure that the resources of Nigeria are properly accounted for. I am confident that it will not be long before we begin to unravel this knotty issue of the revenues of Nigeria.
“The action that the new government should take on the controversial money should be exactly those which are already prescribed by the laws of the land. The constitution does not give room for retroactive legislation.
“There are good laws in Nigeria; there are laws against murder, kidnapping, and embezzlement. If funds have been embezzled, I pray to God that the law will take its proper course and people would be brought to book. That, there should be no sacred cow anywhere.”
Reacting to the comment by the former acting National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, that the party was not going to zone positions of National Assembly presiding officers, he said that the former APC boss may have spoken the minds of the party’s leaders.
Adeyeye said, “Chief Bisi Akande is a former Acting Chairman of our great party. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and a revered elder of our party. Whatever he said is correct and I believe because Akande is not a man who speaks frivolously, I believe that he is speaking the minds of the leadership of the APC.
“If our party says offices will not be zoned, so be it, it means those who are interested will throw their hats into the field. Even when there is no zoning, people are going to be sensitive to be ethnocentric dimension of Nigerian politics and the geopolitical configuration of our land.
“I don’t expect for example, that somebody from the North West would vie for the position of the Senate President when someone from the zone is already the President. I pray that a day will come when there will be that level of trust in each other and we won’t have to worry about the part of the country that a political office holder comes from.
“The rules of the National Assembly allows for a member of any political party to emerge into the office of the two top posts in the National Assembly. All other posts are assigned to the majority and the minority caucus. If the majority party conducts itself in such a way that a member of the minority party emerges as either the top or second positions in any of the chambers, so be it.”
Also commenting on the issue of ranking in the consideration of Senate leadership, the Osun State born Professor turn politician said, “Honesty, I don’t believe in strict ranking which says if you are the oldest member, then you must be this, there must be other factors, you must look at the temperament of these persons who are ranked.
“You must look at the intellectual withal of these persons, you must look at the antecedents of these persons, you must look at the ability of these persons to build consensus and to transcend primordial interest.
“That said, again my prayer is that a day will come when our first question will be, who is the best person who can occupy this position. When Rick Sanctorum became the Whip of the US Senate, he was not what we call a ranking member of the Senate, he had spent two terms of three years each in the House of Representatives, he contested election to become senator and he won.
“Because people knew his ideological thrust, they felt he was best suited to maintain party position and cohesiveness in their caucus, hence, they elected him, as their whip. He was a first timer. If the senate presidency is solely based on ranking, someone like Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia or Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts would have become the senate president because they are the most senior in the US senate.”
Senator Adeyeye further explained that there was nothing wrong in the APC trying to be involved in who become the principal officers of the National Assembly, even though, he reasoned that it had to be done in consultations with serving party members.
According to him, “Politics is not a one man game, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria currently does not allow for independent candidature. Everybody who got elected into the National Assembly was elected on the platform of a party.
“That party therefore cannot said to be a miss when it shows interest on those who were running its affairs within the chambers of the National Assembly what we are hoping will happen is that our leaders who are outside would consult with us, will respect our wishes but in the end, none of them would vote, it’s the members who would vote.
“Let no member blame any leader for whatever became the outcome of the election but we can’t blame them for showing interest.”
On the possibility of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which will be the opposition party in the 8thassembly, emerging as the Senate President, he said, “I have also heard that Senate President, David Mark, has also shown interest and that with 49 senators in his camp, he would only need six senators from the majority camp.
“David Mark is a very skillful politician. Grant that for him. Whether you like his politics or not, please concede to David Mark the fact that he is a skillful man. But having been in oppositions for 16 years, there is no way we will allow him to become senate president.
“He may be allowed to play a major role in the National politics. By virtue of the experience that he had garnered in the last many years, he is preeminently qualified to continue to play leading roles in the affairs of this republic.
“I pray he would be a matured leading voice of the opposition but I’m confident that a member of my party will emerge as the next Senate President.”