As his inauguration draws closer, the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, said his administration would put in place incentives and policies that would make corruption unattractive to Nigerian workers, especially, judges.
He added that with the right conditions, the temptation for corruption would be minimal among the citizens.
A statement by the Office of the President-elect, signed by Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, quoted Tinubu as making the assertions in Port Harcourt, during the inauguration of a Magistrate Courts Complex built by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration. The event was part of Tinubu’s two-day visit to the state to inaugurate projects executed by the Wike government.
Tinubu explained that he was yet to assume office and could not commit to the expenditure of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. He stated this to clarify his earlier response to Wike’s request for refund on federal government road projects executed by the Rivers State government.
The president-elect pledged to accomplish all his campaign promises, as Wike sought support for the incoming federal administration. Tinubu said in the statement, “You don’t expect your judges to live in squalor, to operate in squalor and dispense justice in squalor. This is part of the changes that are necessary. We must fight corruption, but we must definitely look at the other side of the coin.
“If you don’t want your judges to be corrupt you got to pay attention to their welfare. You don’t want them to operate in hazardous conditions.”
Tinubu commended Wike for his foresight in providing judges and magistrates the best working and living conditions. He noted that with such provision, the governor had shown sufficient support for the fight against corruption, particularly, in the judiciary.
The former Lagos State governor said, “Whatever you (Wike) said yesterday (Wednesday), about owing or not owing, I am personally grateful to the man who brought me here. He didn’t ask for a personal commitment, he asked for a policy commitment, which an incoming president has no authority to offer or approve.
“There can only be one president at a time. I cannot commit to expenditure on behalf of the outgoing president when I know my tenure has not started. Get educated, be informed, please.
“I really thank you for being my friend, I fulfilled the promise that I made to the people of Rivers State and that is all I intend to do in all policy formations coming up.
“I promise Nigerians, the unity of this country is not negotiable. That is what Wike and I are promoting jointly.”
The president-elect said lack of consumer credit that would make it easy for workers to acquire property, such as houses and cars, made them susceptible to corruption.
He added, “If you have consumer credit, that will reduce the propensity for corruption. We don’t want our judges to play foul, to compromise justice. I promise we are going to review all of these in a policy think tank.”
Tinubu reiterated his commitment to the unity of Nigeria, and promised to be fair to all.
Earlier, Wike said the magistrates’ complex contained 24 courtrooms, offices and other facilities meant to decongest the State High Court Complex and expand access to justice.
He said his administration considered welfare of judges and condition of courts essential for speedy justice dispensation. He therefore charged the state judiciary to ensure proper maintenance of the edifice for which financial provision had been made.
Wike also thanked the president-elect for accepting to visit the state and commission the projects.
During a special state banquet in honour of Tinubu at Government House, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State governor advised those plotting to make Nigeria ungovernable for Tinubu to have a rethink in the interest of the country.
The governor said what majority of Nigerians wanted was good governance, and he was confident that Tinubu had the capacity to deliver on his electoral promises to Nigerians. The Rivers State governor explained during his interaction with the president-elect.
“The battle you have now is governance. What Nigerians want is good governance. And if we want good governance, then we must rally round the president-elect, because if he does not work, everybody will suffer and we will still continue to cry. What we need now is to say, Mr President-elect, we want to support you to better the lives of Nigerians.”
The ceremony was attended by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, as well as Governors Muhammad Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
Also present were former governors Chief Bisi Akande (Osun), James Ibori (Delta), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), and Ayo Fayose (Ekiti). Others were members of the National Assembly; Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare; a former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN; National Women Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Betta Edu; and Chief Ayiri Emami, among others.