Why NASS cannot lead war against corruption – Senator Ndoma Egba

Since his exit from the National Assembly as the former Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba has been in full practice of his law profession.

In this interview, he barred his mind on a range of issues bordering on the judiciary, corruption, insecurity, and the country’s policing system. Commenting on some of the recent judgments of the courts on election matters, he charged the judiciary to do a review of its past pronouncements for image redemption.

He also joined the call for a review of the present security architecture of the country, especially the policing system, to effectively deal with the current threatening situation.

Some of your learned colleagues have said so many unprintable things that seem to have impugned the judiciary’s integrity, especially following some of the recent rulings on election matters. What is your assessment of the performance of the judiciary vis-à-vis the future of our democracy?

The recent judgments of the Supreme Court especially regarding Kano, Plateau, and Zamfara states are redeeming the judiciary that has always been under intense scrutiny lately because of political cases. The aforementioned judgments of the Supreme Court have to a large measure restored the confidence of the public in the courts, but much more needs to be done especially as the notion of democracy is an incomplete concept without the rule of law. It is the rule of law that reinforces and sustains democracy and without it, we have at best civilian rule. The judiciary will need to completely reinvent and redeem itself to be able to play its crucial role in the future of our democracy.

Would you support the view that some of these judgments should be reviewed by the Supreme Court as Femi Falana (SAN) suggested?

Something needs to be done. It is a fundamental principle of law that there can be no wrong without a remedy -where there is a right there is a remedy, ubi jus ubi remedium. This should be more so when the judiciary is the cause of the wrong, or the culprit, like especially in the case of Plateau State where several wrongs had been caused by the Court of Appeal as confirmed by the judgment of the Supreme Court. Our lawyers are resourceful enough to navigate our jurisprudence to find a procedure that will lead to a redress of the injustice, and I believe our jurisprudence is sufficiently versatile to address the clear injury and injustice.

The toxin of corruption is taking its toll on every one of our institutions and even suffocating the growth of the economy. What remedy would you suggest as a cure for the greed of the political elite?

The issue of corruption has become pervasive in every stratum of the society. Our social institutions have been severely compromised by corruption and can no longer rise to the challenge of the malaise. Our starting point, therefore, will be a social consensus that we have had enough of corruption and must collectively deal with it.  It must be a decision of all of us. The media and civil society groups can be in the vanguard to mobilize society to reach this consensus, which will include a decision that all our institutions deal decisively with corruption. It is not only our political elite that is greedy though I agree that they should provide leadership by example. All of society has been infected with the virus of corruption, from the cleaner to the messenger, to the churches everywhere, and almost everybody. Honesty and integrity have become scarce commodities at every level.

Is the National Assembly doing enough to track the activities of agencies that are directly in charge of public funds?

The National Assembly, which is not inured from corruption cannot alone fight corruption. The fight must be everybody. The National Assembly is among the institutions compromised by the pandemic and cannot alone lead the fight.

What are your thoughts about the frightening security situation in the country, particularly now that kidnapping and ransom-taking have become lucrative business for the bandits?

The security situation is frightening. Even places that we hitherto were safe have now also become theatres of insecurity. The government must address the situation holistically. The poor economy is the fundamental cause of insecurity and its fuel. We must address the fundamental cause of the economy. It is about time we completely redesigned our security architecture and contemplate different modes of policing.

With the unfolding scandal in the NSIPA amid the hardship of the economy on the vulnerable, would you say the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is on course with its Renewed Hope Agenda?

At least, President Bola Tinubu is taking action against corruption. This is acknowledged by everyone.

How do you see the ongoing merger talks among the leading opposition parties as a strategy to wrest power from the ruling All Progressives Congress?

The ruling party has no business breastfeeding the opposition which must organise itself to play its proper role in the polity. Every effort by the opposition parties to merge should be encouraged by their members. We of the APC can only wish them well.



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