Implications of Politically Exposed Persons participation in 2015 Elections in Nigeria
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
In May 2007, a number of governors completed their eight-year term of office. Having lost the immunity conferred on them by Section 308 of the Constitution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invited them for investigation on the basis of several petitions alleging diversion of public funds running to billions of naira. Some reported for interrogation while others sought interlocutory and perpetual injunctions restraining the EFCC from arresting, investigating or prosecuting
... g or prosecuting them in any manner whatsoever and howsoever. Among those who were charged to court only two have been convicted and given light sentences. The majority of the defendants have continued to manipulate the criminal justice system to frustrate their trial. To the eternal shame of the country one of the ex-governors who got a clean bill of health by a Nigerian court was later convicted and jailed by a British court. Out of the two, who jumped bail in the United Kingdom, one is now a Senator of the Republic. Not unexpectedly, the Nigerian people have justifiably blamed lawyers and judges for frustrating the anti-graft agencies from successfully prosecuting politically exposed persons and other members of the ruling class accused of corrupt practices and money laundering. In this presentation we shall examine how the neo-colonial legal system is regularly exploited by senior lawyers in favour of rich and powerful criminal suspects to the detriment of accountability and transparency in the society. And the questions remain: Is there a way out of the woods? Can this trend change as Nigeria approaches 2015 Elections? What are the implications of this trend? Even the judiciary has not helped matters together with the agencies saddled with the responsibility of checkmating corruption and prosecuting corrupt individuals. These issues pose great dangers for 2015 Elections. This is because many among them are going to stand or sponsor cronies for 2015 Elections in order to protect their loots and still remain relevant in political matters in post 2015 Nigeria.