By bode Akinbode, Ibadan
Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde has urged ex-public office holders in the state to return stolen funds in their possession or be reported to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The governor dropped the hint on Thursday while receiving the ICPC team led by the commission’s chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, in his office at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.
While explaining the reasons behind setting up of anti-corruption agency by his administration, Makinde stressed that his administration was not after which-hunting the past administration or individuals.
His words: “We are not here to witch-hunt the past administration or individuals. That is probably why you (ICPC) have not seen a lot of petitions coming from us. But as we have progressed, what we have seen is that some of the resources were mismanaged.
“We have been talking to the people involved. If they return those resources, then, we will probably don’t need to come to ICPC because the whole idea is for you to help us recover those resources of state government that had been stolen. If they refused to cooperate, I am just putting them on notice now, then we will come to ICPC for assistance.”
During his address, he promised that he would publicly declare his assets at the end of his tenure of office the way he did on his assumption office for accountability.
He stated: “We have taken corruption as a cankerworm that we know can destroy all of us if not checked. Most importantly, for the leaders, you have very few of us that decide to hold ourselves accountable. That is why upon resumption of office, I publicly declare my assets. I did not want people to start going through FoI (Freedom of Information Act) channel to have clarity of where one is coming from.
“At the end of my tenure of office, I also will come out to declare my assets publicly to close it out. I strongly believe that, even if we are able to reduce the amount of transactions with elements of corruption, we may just reduce it by 30 to 40 per cent. It is a huge amount that will become available to develop our country and our state.
“Also, we have anti-corruption agencies, including EFCC and ICPC at the federal level. So, people have asked me why setting up our own agency at the state level? I said to them that if the federally allocated revenues are being chased around by the federal agencies, we do generate revenues locally as well.”
“We also need to chase after how they are being spent. And quite frankly, if you looked at the federal agencies, they don’t have limitless resources and you have all these corruption tendencies and cases all over the place. So, we felt the closer the anti-corruption efforts get to the people, the better the resources we are going to get at the end of the day.
“Also, I believe so much in fiscal federalism. I have asked the question before, and I am yet to get any satisfactory answer. Who is mandated to check the people checking others? It is very unique. If I take the example of the Nigeria Police Force, the Police Acts did mandate the states to contribute towards how the Nigeria Police is run. But because we came from almost a unitary set up, to the type of federalism that we are practicing now. The states are hardly consulted.”
Owasanoye had said the team, comprising ICPC Board members, Chairmen of Committees on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes in the Senate and House of Representatives with their members, Directors and Commissioners in the commission, paid the courtesy call on the governor to thank the state for providing the land on which the newly commissioned permanent office of ICPC was built in Ibadan, which he described as first of its kind in the country.