Auwal Musa Rafsanjani is the Executive Director of the Civil Society Advocacy and Legislative Centre. He argues that in other countries, the affected lawmakers would have resigned their positions to face prosecution.
What is your view on the ongoing probe of some senators, among them key leaders, including the Senate President Bukola Saraki?
First, the legislature is an institution. So, I don’t think investigating some few lawmakers will affect the work of the institution. For me, it is good that people who had immunity in the past are now facing justice. This will serve as a deterrent to others. It will also go a long way to institutionalize justice in our country.
We have cases of people who committed minor offences being sent to jail for many years. So why can’t people who are accused of using their offices to commit certain offences face justice? Public office is a trust given to anybody occupying it, so at the end of the day, a person should be able to account for what he did while in office.
In other countries where politicians have interest of their countries (at heart), they resign when things like this come up. They do so in order to save their integrity and that of their country, but that is not the case here in Nigeria, because people go there not to work, so they don’t see any reason to resign.
Most of the lawmakers engage in all sorts of extortion in order to enrich themselves. They sometime engage in intimidation and even outright collection of money from agencies that they oversight. We all know the kind of things that the lawmakers were engaged in before now, which painted the legislature in bad light.
But I know that this time around, it won’t be business as usual. I know they won’t be given the opportunity to do that any longer. I’m sure they won’t do that now because of what they are seeing. I believe nobody will attempt to extort or intimidate any agency now that it is not the same government that is in place.
What every lawmaker should know is that they are representing their constituents and not themselves or their families. It is unfortunate that most of them don’t even know why they are there.
So, you believe that the investigations are right?
Yes, trying anybody accused of corruption charges, no matter how highly-placed, is the right thing to do at this time. They should be tried and if found guilty, they should be made to face the consequences.
We have to learn to do things rightly. Nigeria is our country, and we have no any other country to call ours. So, whatever thing that will be done to bring sanity to the country should be done.
So for me, this kind of thing will not affect the work of the legislature. Rather, it will make Nigeria better, because Nigerians will know those that have been running the country down.