Indeed, corruption must be seen as a cancer worm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation as this cancer poses critical challenges to Nigeria’s economic and social development saying corruption not only diverts resources from legitimate causes beneficial to the society at large, but denies millions of people their fundamental freedoms and human rights and challenges posed by systemic corruption contribute to the perpetuation of poverty and the hindering of economic opportunities.
In 2015, shortly after defeating a sitting president in one of the opening lines that heralded President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration into office said If We Don’t Kill Corruption, Corruption Will Kill Us.”
In one of his speeches during his 2015 elections campaign said, believe that our politics is broken. Our nation urgently needs fundamental political reform and improvement in governance more transparency and accountable. If you nominate me in December, 2014 and elect me in February 2015, my administration will: Prevent the abuse and misuse of Executive, Legislative and Public offices, through greater accountability, transparency, strict, and implementable anti-corruption laws, through strengthening and sanitising the EFCC and ICPC as independent entities; Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases.
With slow pace of fighting total war on corruption since the administration came to power Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up with the way the fighting corruption is being conducted by the administration as there is not much convince pointer supporting once fearful General Muhammadu Buhari achieving his war on corruption the fighting corruption proved too difficult for him to achieve and Nigerians are alienated, angry and fed up but in real sense the corruption is fighting back.
Regrettably administration is characterized with high level of preferential treatment at the detriment of the Nigerian masses that sacrificed a lot and spent hours under the sun to vote for the administration. Nigerians hope that present administration will sanitize the system where things like secretive employment, corruption and nepotism would be things of the past.
In spite of the president good intention toward the country but due to what I can called president’s indecisive action on many issues affecting his generality of country always remind silent or looking other way.
Nigerians especially millions of youths that voted him in 2015 were thought PMB will acted as we have been told he is strong man based on these we expected to see him acting like when was a military head of state especially when we heard him said I BELONG TO EVERYBODY AND I BELONG TO NO ONE. This sentence was applauded by all Nigerians and raised hope among teaming Nigerians that we have had a Messiah to correct the ills of the country.
But unfortunately, things have continued to happen under PMB watch at an alarming rate, and the most painful part of it is his continued silence especially when many disheartening scandal rocks his government officials.
Nigerian masses are irritated and puzzled PMB leadership style of governance as masses and even real Buharist but not blindside one condemned and frowned at it in totality. Nigerians couldn’t imagine that a prejudice of this nature could happen under PMB leadership, in his almost five years in office .
As we all witnessing as PMB fighting corruption more corruption has appeared; This has led to frustration amongst Nigerians who are irritated with slow pace of progress and the selective nature of the fighting, if Nigerians may recalled Less than a year into his admistration, Buhari’s government faced its first test in fighting corruption when a court of competent jurisdiction fined a South African Nigeria base Telecommunication giant MTN to pay Billion of dollars to the government, but some invisible cabal destroyed this and did what they felt was best for themselves leaving Nigerians in the lurch.
There is common issues of buying offer of employment for the highest bidders, CBN’s secret recruitment: we the poor ones that spent several hours in the polling stations just to ensure Baba has a second chance to shoot at the presidency, witnessed secret after secret in every government employment drive such as CBN, NCC, SEC to mention a few, where recruitment was conducted secretly and only the children of well-to-do Nigerians were given offers without due process being followed.
There was also the Grass cutting scandal where the issue of most expensive grass cutting and diversion of several trucks of food for IDPs in the ravaged North-East and awarded contracts running several hundred million of naira to suspected companies linked to him and had corruptly benefited from contracts that arose from the Presidential Initiative for The North East by then former Secretary to the Government of Federation Engr Babachir.
Another demoralizing scandal that rocked the nation was the NIA safekeeping money apartment; Oke facilitated the agency’s acquisition of the swanky Ikoyi apartment where agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovered more than $43 million in cash in the wake of the EFCC’s discovery of the funds. $25billion contract awarded by NNPC while President Buhari was in a sick bed in faraway London without knowing acting president input.
The auditor general of the federation has for over three years now indicted many ministers and institutions for breach of transparency and accountability laws? Is Nigeria not corrupt when EFCC and ICPC have successfully recovered stolen assets hidden by serving civil servants by way of real estates in Abuja? Nobody knows anything about the recovered assets from the fight against corruption
Our own Baba jumped out and made himself the unofficial lawyer for Babachir and even cleared him of any wrongdoing. Until after outcry from Nigerians, which force. PMB to setup the investigation committee headed by vice president which the committee found him wanting but Baba looked the other way until massive pressure mounted on him before he acted on the committee reports.
Despite highly profiled corrupt Nigerians, only two were convicted with various prison terms. Notwithstanding the administration’s most celebrated highly profiled corrupt cases like Defencegate, and PDP campaign funds, still almost five years into the administration, there were no convictions of the alleged looters.
Regrettably its under eyefuls watching of our incorruptible baba Nigeria has dropped on Transparency International‘s corruption perception ranking, moving two places down to rank the world’s 34th most corrupt nation. In just recent Transparency International’s corruption perception index released last Thursday, Nigeria scored 26 out of 100 points, falling by one point compared to 2018. In the country comparison, Nigeria ranks this year 146 out of 180 countries – two places down compared to 2018 results.
Even though the index does not show real incidences of corruption, it is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country. The negative result from this year provokes tough questions. Despite the proclaimed war on corruption, why is Nigeria perceived by Nigerians and the international community still as very corrupt? The Government of Nigeria claims winning the war on corruption.
I was a staunch supporter of the president for good 16 years, but I’m not a blind hailer or supporter. Straight from my heart, I am not induced with the way the administration is conducting its war on corruption because the brawl is not moving fast enough.
The truest thing about the president is that he is not a thief, but the fact remains that leadership requires more than that as Nigerians need a leader in every sense, a leader who will be a rallying point for the whole nation not for few and a leader who also needs to inspire citizens to be at their best.
Still I believe that the president’s well known credentials of being incorruptible and honest as he has not been found wanting in any responsibilities assigned to him. But need to be done toward fighting the corruption in the country.
There is need for reform and strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance.
Dukawa Kano-based journalist and public affairs commentator can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org