Ibadan — With effect from Wednesday, all proven cases of corruption, financial mismanagement and misappropriation of government funds are now punishable under Oyo State laws, as the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, signed into law the Oyo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Bill, a domestication of the anti-graft agencies established by the federal government.
He signed the bill into law at a brief ceremony which was held at the Executive Chamber of the Governor's office in Agodi, describing the latest move as an opportunity for his administration to prove to the world that he can run a transparent and accountable government.
The event was witnessed by top government functionaries, including the Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, who was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon. Sanjo Adedoyin; Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mrs. Olubanwo Adeosun; the Chief of Staff, Chief Bisi Ilaka; state Head of Service, Mrs. Amidat Agboola; commissioners, Special Advisers, members of the state House of Assembly among other political appointees.
Makinde, in a brief remark after signing the bill into law, reiterated that corruption is a menace that must be fought to a halt because of its negative consequences on the people, especially in terms of delaying infrastructural development.
He assured the people that the law is not to harass or witch-hunt any individual or political party but to ensure a new culture of doing what is right in the interest of the development and progress of the people and the state, adding that he remains committed to his promise of wavering his immunity to answer questions before the Commission, if the need arises.
According to him, "We have just signed in the anti-corruption law for Oyo State. There is nothing to be afraid of, nothing to fear at all.
"Why we have domesticated the anti-corruption law is just as we want governance to get closer to the grassroots, the same way we have to guide the resources of the state up to the grassroots level.
"Corruption kills the society. When monies meant for projects, salaries and certain developmental initiatives are diverted, we miss such opportunity. So, we believe that we have to tackle corruption. I said during my inaugural address as the governor of Oyo State that I will be ready to wave my immunity to face any corruption charges against my person, and my statement still stands. I still maintain that position.
"This is not a law to witch-hunt anyone, it is not about politics or political interests, it is not about APC or PDP, it's about our state (Oyo). We know for a fact that, if we tackle corruption, then we have more resources to take care of our people, and that is exactly what this law is meant to achieve for us."
Makinde added: "I want to implore everybody in the state that we give you the assurance that we will act. We do know that people may want to take certain things for granted. They may want to use this law to settle scores, I have seen situation where people wrote frivolous petitions against somebody who they have hatred for, but we will not condone that."
"Our decisions on whether we want to perpetrate corruption are waiting for us out there. So, I want to thank you and give you the assurance that this law is to keep ourselves in check, hold ourselves accountable."