The eminent lawyer also condemned what he described as political prostitution. “What we practice in Nigeria today is akin to political prostitution and harlotry. It is a tragic-comedic situation whereby it is so easy and seamless for one politician, within a space of 2-4 years, to migrate from one party to two other parties, and in each of them, to occupy very sensitive positions, whether elective of appointive, without any qualm. While cross-carpeting from an otherwise denounced party where he is seen as a devil incarnate, his erstwhile political adversaries welcome him to their party of saints and angels, with pomp and pageantry, and like the biblical Naaman, he moves into their Jordan, and his leprosy is washed off. He quoted Major Kaduna Nzeogwu’ famous speech against corruption: “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 per cent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIPs at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds” Olanipekun also said the country’s political and economic prowess will continue to nosedive unless it reverses to true fiscal federalism, branding the present “unitary system, where powers are concentrated at the centre” as an aberration, which he said can’t offer practical solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Being part of the ways to cut wastage and bail the country out of economic recession, Olanipekun suggested part-time legislature for Nigeria, adding that the country’s National Assembly seems to be the costliest globally, considering the money being paid the federal legislators. The lawyer also scoffed at the federal government for making a core politician like former Senate President, Ken Nnamani the head of the Electoral Reform Committee, describing this as mere duplicity of policies since late President Umaru Yar’Adua had earlier set up Justice Mohammed Uwais Committee to fashion out robust electoral reform for Nigeria in 2007. Olanipekun said the country’s skewed federalism was caused by long years of military reign, saying this has further reversed the nation’s progress in all spheres. He said the country was doing well, particularly during the defunct Southwest region under the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier, “because resources available for the zone were being harnessed to develop the region, rather than government taking absolute control.” Olanipekun said: “This anomalous federal system has established a trend of over-dependence on the government at the centre by the states, leading to the stifling of initiative and innovation for revenue generation on the part of the States. In effect, states, being the federating units, have been reduced to living off breadcrumbs and hand-me-downs from the Federal government. By extension, fiscal autonomy remains a mirage, an idea never to be reached until critical adjustments are made in the constitution and composition of Nigeria. “In the past two years or thereabout, the over-fed and bloated federal government, out of the surplus it has amassed, has been doling out bail-outs to states in order to meet their financial obligations to the citizenry, including payment of workers’ salaries. In the process, the federal government has been hailed as the messiah, while the state governments are condemned as derelicts. The senior lawyer said virtually every Nigerian citizen was plunging into politics, because of huge salaries being paid elected and appointed officials. “I see no reason why legislators must take up the mandate to serve on a full time basis. As at today, a Senator in the United States collects annual salary of $174,000, while a professor at the University of Texas takes an average of $232,000 dollars annually. “But In Nigeria, a report published in 2009 by ASUU revealed that a professor in Nigerian university gets a sum of N3 million annually while a senator takes an average of N36 million. This is why there is election rigging and other vices in the system”. Thisday]]>