Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sen. Ahmed Makarfi, says Nigeria needs institutional reforms to serve the interest of the public.
Makarfi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that this would empower public officers resist undue interference from “selfish politicians”.
He said that the fight against corruption would succeed when anti-graft institutions are strong, adding that extraneous influences are incapacitating the institutions saddled with the statutory responsibility to prosecute corrupt public officers.
“I think the bane of our problem in Nigeria is that public institutions generally are serving public leaders; whether you call it the police, the army, the State Security Service (SSS), Customs or Immigration, whatever you may call it.
“It is not just under this democracy. You can go back to the first republic.
“Except we reform; the real change we need is to make public institutions serve the people and the country. What we need really is to protect them and their families.
“ Of course, they owe a larger duty to protect every citizen. Aside from that, they are not to be at the beck and call of the leaders;` investigate that person, arrest that person, release that person, do this, do that’. No!
“If they are independent bodies anything they need to do, they will do it without a call to public officers”.
On the issue of budgeting, Makarfi said lack of budget implementation continue to affect development in all sectors of the economy.
He said that it also affected laudable programmes and policies designed by government for the benefit of the ordinary Nigerians.
Makarfi, who was a former Chairman Senate Committee on Finance, said ‘’budget by itself is nothing if not implemented. You do not just make a bogus budget.
‘’It is not the size of the budget that is important, but making a realistic budget and implementing it.’’
He debunked the allegations that corruption perpetrated by the 16 years rule of the PDP was responsible for the current economic crisis in Nigeria.
“Look at the North, all the northern governors except about three of them; all the rest are from PDP. Go to the national Assembly, more than half of APC members were from PDP and some of the ministers are (of ) PDP extraction.
“It is the same set of people that are in power now. It is only when you are out of power that people can really know whether you are corrupt of not.
“I assure you, let them also leave power; it will not take a month, you will be shocked about what will be emanating to indicate the level of corruption at states and national level.’’
Makarfi advised President Muhammadu Buhari to make changes that would reflect his strong character and anti-corruption stance that made people voted him to power. (NAN)