By Oluwakemi Ishola
The Oyo State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) has told Governor Seyi Makinde not to witch-hunt members of opposition parties with his soon-to-be inaugurated Oyo State Anti-Graft Agency. The party also said anti-corruption war is beyond mere probes of the past administrations in the state.
SPN in a statement made available to Pacesetter News on Wednesday by its State Secretary, Com. Ayodeji Adigun noted the media reports on the current move by Engr. Seyi Makinde-led government to review various projects and contracts signed from 2017 to 2019 in the State.
According to the state’s commissioner for information, culture and Tourism, Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, the report of a committee set up by the State government few months ago to review past contracts and projects signed between 2017 to 2019 had been submitted and adopted by the Engr Seyi Makinde led government. He added that the report would help the about-to-be-inaugurated State anti-corruption agency to bring to book individuals involved in acts inimical to the economic growth of the State.
SPN supports the probe and establishment of an anti-corruption agency. However, the party believes that to curb the corrupt practices often perpetrated around contracts and projects in Oyo State requires more radical measure than just mere reviews of the past contracts and projects.
Part of the statement reads: “The contract system itself is a fraudulent way through which politicians and their friends who masquerades as contractors steal public fund and thereby throw the State into a needless debt crisis of billions of naira. Therefore, to curb corruption in this regard is to totally abolish this costly and corrupt contract system and replace it with a public work programme”.
“This will entail that the Ministry of Works will be furnished with adequate equipment , expertise and manpower to undertake mass public works like mass building of schools, hospitals, roads, mass housing, water-works and mass electrification among other developmental projects in the State. Also, all state projects should be subjected to the monitoring and supervision under the elected representatives of the community people where such project is to be situated and an elected representatives of relevant workers organizations”
“The regime must also complement this with immediate arrest and prosecution of all individuals and organisations found to be involved in corrupt contract practices now and in the past with a view to also retrieving all public funds mismanaged and misappropriated by them. The retrieved funds must be declared publicly and invested on the areas of need of the people. SPN equally believes that the membership of such an anti-corruption agency should include elected representatives of workers unions like NLC TUC, ULC and ASUU, professional bodies like NBA, NMA and credible civil society organisations for the purpose of transparency”
“Also, their scope of work should not be limited to the projects and contracts signed by the past Ajimobi/APC administration alone. Otherwise, such an exercise will amount to a ploy by Engr Seyi Makinde-led to attack the discredited regime of Senator Abiola Ajimobi while he covers up the corrupt practices in his own government except if it involves an official who has fallen out of favour”.
“Besides, the probe could just be another propaganda tool for the usual grandstanding approach of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led administration instead of truly fighting corruption. The fact is that Makinde-led regime just like Buhari-led federal government or any other capitalist governments cannot curb all forms of corrupt practices often perpetrated by pro-capitalist politicians and their acolytes under the contract system and neoliberal policy like public private partnerships, PPP”.
“Therefore, if Engr. Seyi Makinde-led government is truly ready to move against corrupt practices and preserve public funds for judicious use we of the SPN believe that the regime must scrap the huge security votes often withdrawn by the Governor without audit from the purportedly limited fund of the State and also ensure that all the public funds and resources at the disposal of the State are subjected to democratic control of an elected committee of workers and ordinary people.”
“It is in the light of this, we of the SPN demand that the entire resources at the disposal of the state which include monthly allocation received from the federal government and Internally generated revenue, IGR are subjected to a democratic control of a committee or board that is made of elected representatives of workers organizations like NLC, TUC, ASUU, representatives of political parties, civil society organizations, community organizations and religious bodies” the statement concluded.