The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has berated the leadership of the senate led by Senator Ahmed Lawan for playing to the gallery by embarking on a solidarity visit to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, following the Chief Whip’s release from Kuje correctional facility.
In a statement , issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “it would be recalled that Kalu had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after he was initially found guilty of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the Abia State coffers, during his tenure as governor of the sta te. The two-time governor and two others were found guilty of the N7.65billion fraud, in an amended 39 counts which was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). But on the flip side of it, the Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on May 8, 2020, held that Justice Idris gave the judgment without jurisdiction. This amounted to the judgment being annulled on the ground of technicalities”. However, after spending a few months behind bars, the lawmaker was set free by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Mohammed Liman who ordered Senator Kalu’s release on the 2nd of June 2020, after listening to an application filed by the former governor.
The chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran said “the visit by the senate delegation headed by the Senate President is a charade, travesty and a mockery on the intelligence of common Nigerians. It shows that despite the horrible situation the country has found herself, due principally to good leadership that has eluded the country from independence, the leadership of the Senate are not bothered by the menace of corruption that has stagnated the destiny of this great country. By their action, they have brought Nigeria to the spotlight again as a country whose leaders does not only celebrate corruption but are “fantastically corrupt” thereby making Nigeria a laughing stock among the comity of nations”. “It is regrettable that while some of us are perturbed and worrying about the Supreme Court judgment and its attendant implications for the legal jurisprudence and the fight against corruptin in Nigeria, the leadership of the Senate is not in any way concerned and is more at home with felicitating and celebrating with the beneficiary of the Supreme Court judgment”.
The anti-corruption czar noted that “we found it amusing and laughable that the leadership of the second arm of government would leave their statutory duties and embark on a wild goose chase in the name of a “Solidarity visit” to a man that was accused of stealing his state dry when he was a governor of the state”. What exactly do they want to achieve by that visit, what are they telling the common Nigerians on the street that are not corrupt? What lessons are they passing on or indirectly inculcating in the minds of our younger generation or aspiring politicians? Are they telling us that corruption pays? Are they telling us that they were and are still with him in his struggles to escape the law from catching up with him? Is the solidarity visit meant to assure him (i.e Kalu) that come what may, his seat at the Senate will not be declared vacant? Or are they indirectly telling Nigerians that birds of a feather will always flock together, come what may. The CACOL boss added “we therefore call for an explanation from the leadership of the Senate to let Nigerians know what they set out to achieve with the visit to Orji Uzor Kalu. We also call on them to always see their position as the representatives of the people whom they would have to report to at one time or the other. They should also note that their actions or inactions are being recorded on the pages of history and that even generations yet unborn would read about all what they are doing now. Moreover, members of the hallowed chamber ought to serve as role models and lead by showing good examples that the incoming generations can always learn from and not portray themselves as members of “big boys club” that are always above the law”. The statement said.