Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Tuesday averred that the trial of corrupt cases should not be the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government.
Oyo News reports that Governor Akeredolu explained that since the commission of certain offences is local, it is proper that the trial be conducted in the place where the offence is committed.
The Governor spoke at the inauguration of members of Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission (ODIEC), Members of the State Public Complaints, Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Commission as well as Members of Governing Council of State owned Tertiary Institutions.
Chairman of the State Public Complaints, Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Commission is the immediate past Chief Judge of the state, Justice Williams Akintoroye.
At the well attended inauguration held at Cocoa Conference Hall, Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure, Arakunrin Akeredolu also charged members of ODIEC under its Chairman, Dr Joseph Aremo, to remain impartial umpires and assist in deepening the democratic practice.
He said:”The Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission is one of the tripod, a very important institution, whose effectiveness determines the extent of peace and stability at the grassroots.
“This Commission is empowered by law to conduct elections to elect those who will serve the people of Ondo State at the local level. The members of this Commission will conduct Local Government elections. Their ability to remain impartial umpires will assist, tremendously, in deepening our democratic practice.
“There is the argument which holds that since this body is normally constituted by the State Government, it is unwise to rely on its activities.
We assert, without any fear of contradiction, that our Administration has been fair to all and sundry since the inception of this Administration. There is no compelling reason for us to embrace injustice and illegality at this stage. Not at all.”
Inaugurating the Ondo State Public Complaints, Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Commission, Governor Akeredolu said the establishment of the Commission followed due process and in line with the claim that the current arrangement in the country is a Federal system of government.
While describing the Commission as a novelty in the State, he charged the Commission to beam its searchlight on the public service.
“The commission of certain offences is local. Corruption trials should not be the exclusive preserve of the Federal Government. Stealing is also an offence against the State. Therefore, if an allegation of crime falls within the purview of the State’s criminal jurisdiction, it is proper that the trial be conducted in the place where the offence is committed.
“This Commission is expected to combat crime, effectively. Intelligence gathering should commence from the execution of the State Budget passed into Law. It is basic. It is our hope that this body will be able to track budgetary allocations for the benefit of the people. All other engagements should focus on ensuring that the monies appropriated and released are utilised in the interest of the people.
“There are other matters ancillary to this basic function. Corruption, as a social vice, has a wide spectrum. The unwholesome activities of public servants must come under close scrutiny. There is, virtually, no area of public service that has not been infested with this virus. It is a shame that the State still battles to know the exact figure of those she owes obligations as workers.
“It is deplorable indeed that the government carries a heavy burden of salaries and emoluments of characters entirely unknown to the establishment. These elements join others to exact pressures on the government. It is our hope that not only will those behind this disgraceful act be exposed, they must also have their days in court.” Governor Akeredolu said.
The Governor charged members of Governing Councils of the State owned institutions to think outside the box. He assured that the state will be willing to grant the institutions full autonomy.
The institutions are, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko (AAUA); University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) Ondo; Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology (OAUSTECH), Okitipupa and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic (RUGIPO), Owo.
Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of AAUA is Dr. Tunji Abayomi, while that of UNIMED is Prof. Ayo Arowojolu. Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of OAUSTECH is Prof. Akinbo Akinwumi Adesomoju just as Chief Banji Alabi is the Chairman of RUGIPO.
“The third set in today’s series of inauguration is, perhaps, the most important in nation-building. I am delighted to inaugurate the Governing Councils of our tertiary institutions. This may, perhaps, be the last time I will be having the privilege to exercise such powers as provided by the law.
“Let me use this opportunity to enjoin members of the various councils to go back to these institutions with a view to thinking out of the box. The State will be most willing to grant full autonomy to these institutions of higher learning. What remains is for these citadels of learning to live up to the expectations of the founding fathers and the people of the State on behalf of whom they were established.
“The era of recklessness should be winding to a close. The Governing Councils should ensure that their institutions embark on curriculum review as soon as possible. Our institutions must produce, consciously, problem solvers, not job seekers. They must also look into the issue of the heavy wage bills.
“They should be able to engage only those they need as lecturers and ancillary staff. This government will no longer subsidise redundancy and brazen theft.” He said.
The Governor admonished members of the families of the inaugurated officers to allow them to discharge their duties as expected of well-bred members of the society.
He equally enjoined all the new members to resist undue pressures from extraneous elements who may wish to goad them to act outside their mandate.
Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of OAUSTECH , Prof. Akinbo Akinwumi Adesomoju, who responded on behalf of the newly inaugurated officers, thanked Governor Akeredolu for finding them worthy of appointment.
He said:”We know your passion for the development of the state. We know your courage on national issues. And that’s why we all keep on praying for you because you are the voice of the voiceless . You fight for Justice. You have been fighting for Justice before you became Governor and you keep fighting after becoming Governor.
“It is an honour for us to serve. And we appreciate that you find us worthy to be appointed. We want to assure you that we know it is a call to service. I want to thank you for the immense support you have been giving to Tertiary institutions despite the stress and financial strain on our finances. We know what’s going on with federal institutions. You go beyond the call of office for Universities in the State.”
The event was attended by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun; Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Ayedun Olusegun Odusola and other Judges of the state High Court; members of the State Executive Council, led by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Princess Oladunni Odu, among other dignitaries.