Definitely not! If you look at the trajectory of Nigerian political history, you will discover that we currently have more than five past governors who are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
There is a saying in Yoruba that, if you have been a beneficiary of the goodness of a particular person, the likelihood is that you are likely to be biased in his or her favour.
And from what we know, at least from the history of the Nigerian political class, some of these governors end up becoming accused persons which EFCC will be prosecuting. I am aware that the cases of some past governors are still on-going in various courts.
It can be argued that the governors are not giving the EFCC personal money; they are only giving the money on behalf of their states.
But do not forget that if the governor does not approve any money, there will be no donation made.
So, I think it is not right. It will be wise if the EFCC does not accept such donations.
The EFCC should not even put itself in a position to be so offered donations because such a offering portends a great danger for the anti-corruption drive of the agency. If it is truly an independent anti-corruption body, the government that set it up should be able to fund it. That is why we are advocating that it should be on the first line charge so that the commission does not go cap in hand. They are not even supposed to go begging the executive for funds, let alone having to go round and collect donations from state governors. They should ordinarily not put themselves in a position to be offered.
Prof. Wahab Egbewole (A former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin, Kwara State)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should never receive any form of donation from governors. Receiving any form of donation from governors could compromise the agency.
The governors should also not make any donation; be it cash, equipment or accommodation to the anti-graft agency. Receiving any form of donation will definitely hamstring the EFCC from carrying out its statutory responsibility.
The Yoruba people have a saying, ‘Tenu ba je oju ati’ which literally means: ‘Once you have received a gift from somebody in a compromised manner, it will be difficult to correct that person when he or she does wrong.’
So, it is quite wrong, from whatever angle one may look at it, for the EFCC to receive donations of any kind from any governor. What if the money for the donation is from looted funds? What happens when the governor leaves office? Definitely this will create a kind of moral burden for the EFCC.
For me, I will say it is not only morally wrong for the EFCC to receive any form of donation from any governor, it is also legally wrong for any governor to make donations to the anti-graft agency. • Hakeem Adeyemi (Public Relations Officer, Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State)
Why should the EFCC accept donations from governors?
The EFCC should never accept donations from governors. It is an anti-graft agency and should be unbiased.
Besides, it is a Federal Government parastatal and it should be the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that it is self-financing. By the time it starts receiving donations from governors, can it probe the activities of the same governors?
It will be a case of don’t bite the fingers that fed you. By that time, it would have compromised itself and the fight against corruption would have been defeated. The Federal Government should make it self-sufficient to make it an impartial arbiter.
That will be in the interest of the country. The agency will lose its steam if it depends on individuals. Its survival should be self-guaranteed and sustainable. • Temitope Kolawole (A legal practitioner in Ado Ekiti)
The EFCC should not accept donations from state governors. Doing this will hinder it from being effective in the discharge of its responsibilities. With the behaviour and character of the chief executive officers we have all over the states, accepting donations from them will no doubt compromise the EFCC.
That is why people have been saying that an agency like the EFCC should have its own statutory funding line. It should not be dependent on the executive arm of government, whether at the federal, state or local government level.
It will reduce its activities if it starts receiving donations from these people. Most of these governors, who know the atrocities they have committed, will donate state funds to shut the mouth of anti- graft officials and that will be the end.
Are we not talking of these governors, who managed to build one bungalow before they assumed offices and when they are leaving, suddenly become billionaires? It is inappropriate to receive donations from them. Otherwise, Nigeria will sink deeper than it is into mess and the masses will be helpless.
Most of these governors have been found to be unpatriotic after leaving office. That is why Donald Trump is saying what he is saying about the black race.
Financial recklessness of the governors and other leaders is why Nigerians are trooping outside and this is one of the reasons for the xenophobic attack against Nigerians in South Africa and other countries. They (South Africans) are telling them not to come and spoil their country the way our leaders spoilt Nigeria; although they are doing it in a barbaric way. If our leaders are upright and are performing well, the number of Nigerians rushing out of the country will reduce. So, the EFCC and other anti-graft agencies should not receive donations from governors; it will render them ineffective. • Prof. Adegbola Akinola (A former chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Obafemi Awolowo University)
The EFCC is an institution created to fight corruption. So, its funding is budgeted for. Under no circumstances should it collect any form of gift from anybody, even governors.
The governors have quite a lot to do with their funds and not to extra-fund the EFCC. I agree that they (EFCC and governors) are both part of government. But for me, it amounts to bribery on the part of the state governors who do so. They are trying to compromise the activities of the EFCC by so doing.
If the non-release of the budgetary provision to the commission is the problem, it should cry out and tell Nigerians. This is because Nigerians want to believe in an institution that will add value to the system. Nigerians prefer the EFCC, vis-a-vis the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission. So, if funding is not available for it to perform its duties, it should cry out to the public and the public will have a way of persuading government to release the funds. Every year, money is budgeted for its activities, mostly current and capital (expenditure).
Some persons are very strong in terms of willpower. If the EFCC is persuaded to collect cash donations, it should keep it in the Central Bank of Nigeria, so it goes back to the Federal Government. Since the governors do not need the money, it goes back to the central pool for Nigerians to benefit from. The EFCC should make it known to the governor that it would not make use of the money, just like the money being recovered from looters is sent back to the central bank. I believe that this approach will send a signal to some of these governors. • Prof. Fred Esumeh (Ex-ASUU chairman, Ambrose Ali University)
Compiled by: Success Nwogu, Femi Makinde, Samuel Awoyinfa, Kamarudeen Ogundele and Alexander Okere