The 1999 Constitution promotes impunity by granting immunity to corrupt politicians, according to a retired general.

General Ishola Williams, a retired military officer, claims that the immunity clause in the 1999 Constitution encourages politicians to commit corrupt acts because the legislation protects them from arrest and prosecution for fraudulent offences while in government.

He appeared as a guest on Inside Sources with Laolu Akande, a sociopolitical program that aired on Channels Television on Friday.

According to the former Head of Transparency International in Nigeria, the 1999 Constitution is corruptible because it grants amnesty to thieves once they reach political office, and “immunity gives room for impunity.”

“That constitution is corruption-prone,” he stated. “Why is it so prone to corruption? Immunity equates to impunity. Immunity in a constitution creates an institution of impunity, since bringing a crook into government transforms them into saints and allows them to do anything they want until they leave.What then happens? Governors become kleptocrats and demigods in their respective states, approving any amount they want with no audits. Accountants would tell you that everyone is auditable, save God, but not in Nigeria.

Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution prohibits civil or criminal procedures against the President, Vice President, 36 state governors, and their deputies. The provision also stipulates that they cannot be arrested or imprisoned.

He stated that politicians have been blaming General Abdulsalami Abubakar for the 1999 Constitution since 1999, but politicians themselves do not want to properly reform the constitution because “of the powers that it gives them, and the greed and selfishness”.

General Ishola stated that if not for corrupt government officials, “Nigeria should now be competing with South Africa because we have the brain power.”

He stated that Nigeria should design a tailored economic solution, similar to the Asians, rather than blindly following the West’s economic blueprint.

‘Military takeovers are not the solution’
The former general resigned from the Nigerian Army after the military nullified the election on June 12, 1993. The late MKO Abiola was widely believed to have won the election.

General Ishola stated that the leaders of the First Republic were selfless and sacrificing, as opposed to the current “characterless” leadership.

When asked why he quit following the annulment on June 12, 1993, the octogenarian stated that “coups are not necessary”.

“Whether there is a coup or not in Nigeria, any military officer in his right mind understands that it does not work because it is just transitory, and this is the error that those youngsters in other West African countries such as Mali and others have made.
The only one who understood this was Abdulsalami Abubakar. He was there in 11 months and gave over authority because he realized the military couldn’t address Nigeria’s problems,” he explained.

“After the civil war, I reflected about why we fought the civil war and I couldn’t find any cogent reason except that two lieutenant colonels got us into the war – one was smart and the other was not, one was prepared, political ambitious, the other one was just following his career,” he said.

General Ishola asked civil society organisations to host conferences and raise awareness about followership obligations in order to achieve good governance and hold leaders accountable. According to him, “the followership of Nigeria bears the greatest responsibility.”
“I believe that the military was mistaken at the time. The interesting thing, however, is the number of followers. Look at each African country; anytime the military takes power, people rush to the streets to celebrate.

Nobody has been able to inquire why people delight when the military takes over. It is because the followers choose the wrong leaders, and the leaders exploit the followers’ irresponsibility,” he explained.

SOURCE Channesltv

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