The 10th Beko Memorial Anniversary Public Lecture held on Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at Banquet Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
The chair and moderator was Prof. Eghosa Osaghae. The theme was Sustaining Nigeria’s Democracy.
In this interview with Mohammed Fawehinmi, he submitted that all what late Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti fought are happening now and more.
What is your take about the 10th Beko Memorial Anniversary Public Lecture?
My take on late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti is that those things he harped on and people were castigating him are beginning to manifest now. We are now in the second test of democracy. Nigeria is starting again because the first 16 years of democracy is like a complete waste. We did not achieve anything. People used the opportunity to steal which was induced by former heads of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Now that we have Buhari, we are now starting from integrity test where correction of corruption must start from the top. President Buhari is a man of integrity and honest so is the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. We are now testing the senate president, because he is in the affair of making law for everybody. If he’s found guilty, he should be sent to jail and another senate president should be elected. That would send a stern warning to other politicians that feel they are untouchable. They should realize they are part of the society. So, I believe what late Dr. Beko kicked against 10 years ago is now manifesting.
Now that you mentioned Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are you satisfied with the outcome of the Supreme Court verdict?
Yes, may God bless the Supreme Court and every member that passed the judgment on that panel. They did a very brilliant job. Nobody is above the law. He must be subjected to the rule of law. If he has fallen foul of the law by virtue of Section 172, every employee, public officer of Federal Government of Nigeria is subject to the law.
It is better now he faces trial and if he falls foul of the law, he goes to jail. If he fails to subject himself now the punishment may be double and he had already made that mistake.
In your speech you talked about Federal Government to pardon the military men who faced a court martial. What can you say about the Dasukigate, which was one of the factors that lead to the military involvement?
I believe in one thing. If two people want to fight, let it be a fair fight. Do not bring less equipped military personnel to fight well-equipped opponents.
These are the soldiers if they had equal strength and equipment, they would have faced the Boko Haram insurgents squarely even before they took over some territories and of course they would have won the battle. So, Nigeria should not punish them but commend them and review the decision.
Now that it is obvious that the reason for the military action was as a result of corruption, what appropriate punishment should be given?
For me, it is clear that Dasuki stole that money. And because of the national disaster he has caused, we have lost about 4,000 soldiers. We have millions displaced people scattered all over the country. The Chibok girls are still missing. I think after convicting him, he and his cohorts should be executed. Dasuki and every other person that participated in that arms deal should be executed.
If I am a judge, Dasuki shouldn’t get bail in the first place including all that partook in the heinous deal should be killed.
What is your take about the Federal Government not obeying the rule of law concerning the bail given to Dasuki?
The investigation has not finished, so I do not believe Federal Government violated the rule of law.
- DAPO ADESEKO