Next Level of Corruption? – Mbasekei Martin Obono

by on June 24, 2019

In Nigeria, corruption seems most prevalent in the public sector. Silas Anyio, in his research piece, identifies that due to corruption “public administration risks losing both its capacity to be effective and the trust of citizens in the fair and impartial application of public resources and authority.” In effect, it is a problem that could “cripple a nation’s economy, hamper development, undermine the rule of law and lead to other threats tonational security such as extra-national crimes.”

According to Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index, Nigeria ranked 144 out of 180 countries, with number one being the least corrupt. It is a known fact that corruption is a global epidemic that affects all corners of a society. The phenomenon however raises more concerns in developing countries like Nigeria.

Recently, there have been efforts by the Muhammadu Buhari Administration to fight corruption. However, the caliber of people that have emerged as leaders of the 9thassembly casts aspersion on the kind of corruption that is being fought.

It is not enough to throw around the anti-corruption mantra, what is more important is for citizens to see that corruption is essentially being fought. It is difficult to believe a government who claims to be fighting corruption when it supports Femi Gbajabiamila, a man who was convicted for stealing client’s money in the United States and disbarred from practicing in the State of Georgia for 36 months. If Gbajabiamila could not be trusted withclient’s money, how can we then trust him with our National Treasury?

Also, how do we explain the President’s support of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege in becoming Deputy Senate President, a man who masterminded and supervised the theft of an entire symbol of our country’s democracy? How does the government explain what seems to be trading the prosecution of N25billion corruption case against Danjuma Goje for his withdrawal from the senate presidency contest to pave way for Ahmed Lawan?

How do we explain the excuses made for Abdullahi Ganduje, the Kano state governor who was caught on camera receiving bribes?

If the President has ever made progress in the area of fighting corruption, it then appears that he has taken more steps backwards than forward. It is no wonder that the President’s rating has nosedived in recent times because all this, like in the words of Anyio, suggest that the President’s administration has lost both its capacity to be effective, and the trust of citizens in the anti-corruption war.

The only way the President can demonstrate his willingness to regain the trust of citizens and observers in the anti-corruption fight, is to look inwards especially within his innercircle and party. For example, his Party’s Chieftain, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu admitted that the bullion vans that were seen entering his residence few days to elections contained raw cash. This is contrary to the Anti-Money Laundering laws of the federation, which places a cap of N5million naira on cash handling by individuals. Is the president going to act?

Also, there is a white paper on the report titled, “Judicial Commission of Inquiry for the Investigation of Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (a two-time campaign Director General ofthe President) on The Sale of Valued Assets of Rivers State and Other Related Matters Under the Chairmanship of Honorable Justice George Otakpo Omereji” which was submitted to the EFCC but has not received any form of attention from the Federal Government, what is the president Buhari led administration waiting for to act on the report?

In 2015, the president promised Nigerians that he will fight corruption because it has crippled our nation’s economy, hampered development and led to other threats to national security.If the President’s next level mantra is anything to buy this time around, he needs to put his foot down and demonstrate the courage needed to fight corruption within his circle.

Obono is the Team Lead for Tap Nitiative and tweets from @martobono

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