A former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, has expressed regrets that in the course of carrying out his duties as required of him as the country’s Chief Law Officer, former President Goodluck Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo had reasons to believe gossips that he was working for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Adoke, who was Jonathan’s AGF from 2010 t0 2015, made his position known in his book, “Burden of service -Reminiscences of Nigeria’s former Attorney-General,” due to be available for sale in Nigeria on Monday.
He said he found the allegation of him being a ‘Buhari boy’ very ridiculous and he was devastated when Jonathan confronted him with the allegation.
He said, “On May 12, 2015, we held the last National Security Council meeting under the Jonathan administration. After the meeting, the President asked me to see him in his office.
“There, he confronted me with the accusation that he was told I had prevailed on him to withdraw his assent to the amendments to the constitution because I was a ‘Buhari boy.’
“I found the allegation ridiculous. I was being accused of disloyalty by the very President to whom I had given my total and unalloyed loyalty! I was devastated and sad.”
He said he felt humiliated by Jonathan’s words because that encounter came after he had earlier suffered the indignity of being accused of disloyalty by the former President’s wife, Patience.
He said he, however, assured the former President that he was not Buhari’s boy and that all that he did were done in his (Jonathan’s) best interest.
Adoke said he had earlier learnt from the then Minister of National Planning, Prof Abubakar Suleiman, that Sambo told him that he (Adoke) “was an APC (All Progressives Congress) man and was the arrowhead of those who prevailed on the President to hastily concede defeat.”
He said he knew that Sambo was among those who did not want Jonathan to concede defeat to Buhari in 2015.
“It was obvious that the VP did not want the President to concede at that time.
“The room, to put it frankly, was full of hawks. They were playing on the emotions of the President and trying to dissuade him from following the path he had carved for himself five years earlier on the mantra that nobody’s blood was worth his ambition,” he said.
No to state police
Adoke, however, kicked against growing calls for the establishment of state police in Nigeria, saying the time for such had not come.
The former minister noted that the ongoing clamour for state police had significantly been anchored on the fact that state governors do not have operational control over units of the Nigeria Police Force deployed in their states.
He, however, said the present federal structure of the police had made adequate provisions for the representation of all the states in the running of police affairs in Nigeria.
He noted that the 36 state governors, as members, dominated the Nigeria Police Council, with the President and two other Federal Government officials being the only other members.
Adoke said, “All factors considered however, it is my opinion that the time for state police is not now, and that the Nigeria Police Force should continue to serve this country as envisaged by Section 214 of the constitution.
“The realities of our nascent democracy, and the learning curve which many of our political actors are still negotiating, stir a debate as to the likely uses to which they can put state police forces, as well as the need to preserve, at this time, certain institutions which emphasise our unity as a nation, such as the police force.
“These are compelling arguments to retain the existing unitary structure of the police.
“I am of the view that the debate became necessary in the first place on account of the perceived inadequacies of our present force. Be that as it may, the challenge is to address those inadequacies within the context of the present structure rather than seeking to impose a new constitutional arrangement which could have significant negative consequences for the polity.”
Parliamentary system better for Nigeria
The former minister noted that since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigerians had been complaining about the cost of running the presidential system of government.
He noted that the country had a National Assembly made up of two chambers of 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives and a Federal Executive Council that has a minimum of 36 ministers going by the constitutional requirement.
These, he said, were aside from the offices of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
He described the cost of maintaining all the high profile offices as a drain on public resources especially in developing country that should be making efficient use of its means.
“If we are indeed desirous of pruning the size of government and reducing the bills, we need to carefully consider a return to the parliamentary system,” he said.
Adoke further argued that the cost of electioneering in a presidential system was itself a recipe for corruption and waste.