Prof. Itse Sagay is one of the leading authorities on constitutional law in Nigeria and is on President Buhari’s anti-corruption task force. The professor has given his take on a myriad of issues surrounding the President, his trip and so much more.
In an interview with news agency the Vanguard, Professor Sagay takes a swipe at the Senate for initiating the amendment of the law establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau and also faults the National Assembly for the controversy trailing the 2016 budget.
He also berates Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State over his letter urging the Chinese government to rescind its decision of a $2 billion loan to Nigeria.
You can read excerpts of the interview below.
What is your take on the ongoing process to amend the CCT Act by the Senate?
It is the nature of brazenness and impunity into which we have descended in this country that the highest legislative chamber in the country, which is supposed to be there to promote the interest of Nigerians, has constituted itself into a cabal for promoting lawlessness and providing what I will call immunity in advance of intended misconduct.
But the argument of the Senate is that the amendment has nothing to do with the ongoing trial of the Senate President.
Of course, it cannot have anything to do with it, the act has been done. Constitutionally, it is not possible for them to do anything about it but they are trying to make room for their own intended misconduct in the future, perhaps they are already guilty of that misconduct and out of fear of what will happen, they are trying to cover themselves before any action is taken against them.
The Kano railway line which favours the north, they collect that and then, remove the railway line which will favour the South and they now shared the N60 billion which was approved for it as counterpart funding amongst other northern projects including an artificial port in the north.
Do you think the people from the South south will look up as slaves and allow them to take away their patrimony? Do you think everything will be alright? That is why I said those southern senators were sleeping when these two conspirators decided to hijack the money meant for the Lagos-Calabar project and distribute it among northern projects.
What I am saying now is that Buhari must insist that the project must be put back in the budget before bringing it back to Buhari.
It is not a question of supplementary budget. What they have done now is an insult on the country, they have created a crisis which is totally irresponsible and nobody is ready to accept a slavery status in this country.
A United Kingdom-based newspaper accused the Buhari presidency of using donations meant to combat insurgency to witch-hunt its opponents. What is your position on this?
Whoever said that is not just irresponsible but I regard that person as a beneficiary of those who looted this country, and who is being used as part of the corruption that is fighting back. I regard that person as a beneficiary of the corruption that is fighting back. Such a statement is irresponsible and should be disregarded.
The president’s foreign trips have been described as a jamboree of sorts, what do you have to say to this?
Anybody who criticises those trips is either ignorant or mischievous. You can see that those trips are yielding fruits for this country, those trips are based on invitations and are made by countries that have great respect for him (Buhari) as an individual and therefore based in that respect, it is yielding immense benefits. It is not every African leader that is invited like that. This man is being invited everywhere because of his integrity and because he has a level of responsibility and because of the programme he has for the recovery of this country.
He is being invited personally and he has to go. You can see that for every trip, he comes back with immense benefits. For instance, look at the trip from China which yielded $6billion potential loan, with various commitments to projects like the Lagos-Calabar railway, which they wanted to derail in the Senate and various other projects across the country.
We are lucky to have a man like that for whom the whole world has respect that they actually invite him to come and organise and discuss how to help this country. So, it will be irresponsible for anyone to criticise those trips.
But what do you have to say to what Governor Ayodele Fayose has done in writing to the Chinese government not to grant Nigeria any loan?
I think Fayose has a problem. The way I see it is that, the man who is on the brink of destruction has no restraint about what he does. To start with, what is the business of a state governor about a loan that is being given to the federal government?
Is it right for him to take such a step?
He has no business. In fact on the contrary, it is when a state government wants to take a loan, that it will require the federal government to guarantee the loan. So, he has no business at all and I regard him as being on a journey to self-destruction and I wish him luck. Let him continue to destroy himself with his mad impulses.
Two years down the line and the Chibok girls are still in captivity, what step should the federal government take in rescuing the girls?
The federal government can only do two things. They can continue to search for them and prepare a military force to release them if it finds them. Secondly, if they have a credible evidence that people who captured them are ready to negotiate, they can negotiate with them so that they can be released peacefully. I think those options are presently being pursued.
culled from the Vanguard