What You Can Never Take Away From President Buhari Is…

What You Can Never Take Away From President Buhari Is...

Commitment to ridding the country of corruption. That is one of thereasons why Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for him in 2015 to defeatthe government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The peopletrusted that Buhari as president would tackle corruption head on.Buhari has largely lived up to the billing.No administration since 1999 has fought corruption frontally like as he has!Even though the Independent Corrupt Practices and other RelatedOffences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial CrimesCommission (EFCC) were set up by the Obasanjo PDP administration, itis the Buhari administrationthat has effectively used these anti-graft agencies to recoverunprecedented amounts of money stolen by present and past officials!It is under this administration that three former state governors wasconvicted ofcorruption, even though one of the former governors is enjoyingtemporary reprieve following the decision of the Supreme Court thathis trial should be done afresh due to some technicalities.Buhari’s commitment to the war against corruption in Nigeria did notgo unnoticed by the international community. The African Union (AU)based on his anti-corruption record appointed him the champion of thewar against corruption in the continent. African leaders at the 29thAfrican Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, unanimously endorsedPresident Muhammadu Buhari to champion the AU’s theme for 2018. Thetheme for the 2018 annual summit of the organisation was “Winning theFight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’sTransformation.” The decision is in recognition of the Buhariadministration’s commitment to fighting corruption in Nigeria andglobally.Recently President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the champion ofthe war against corruption in the continent urged African leaders toensure the immediate actualization of the Common African Position onAssets Recovery (CAPAR), as the continent celebrates Anti-CorruptionDay, July 11, 2020. In a letterto South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairman of AfricanUnion, the Nigerian leader asked for a re-commitment to the anti-corruption war by leaders on the continent to engender an“integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven  by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the internationalarena.” The President lamented that the “massive corruption beingperpetrated across our national government has created a hugegovernance deficit that has in turncreated negative consequences that have worsened the socio-economicand political situation in Africa.”President Buhari’s commitment to the war against corruption cannot bedoubted. But not the same zeal or commitment is being shown by quite afew of his appointees! It is saddening anytime those entrusted withpositions by President Buhari are found wanting in the discharge oftheir responsibilities.The successes previously recorded at the inception of his administrationis today being eroded by some of his appointees to the extent thateven those saddled with the responsibility of fighting corruption arenow struggling to disentangle themselves from allegations of corruption. There are now growing allegations that positions in civil service and all manners ofappointments in the country are sold to the highest bidder.While the President may not be aware of this, but this is rampant inthe country and thus calls for more scrutiny by the President whenevera list of potential appointees are submitted to him for approval. ThePresident should also be mindful of the kinds of people that areappointed, as some of their antecedents are at cross-purposes with hisanti-corruption crusade.The President may be doing his best in the war against corruption, butthe public perception is a different ball game entirely. OrdinaryNigerians who seek for jobs in government ministries, agencies, anddepartments and drivers who drive through check points have differentperceptions. Little wonder that Nigeria’s corruption perception indexby Transparency International (TI) is still high.Despite Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign, the country dropped from144 in 2018 to 146 in 2019 on the annual corruption perception indexpublished by Transparency International. The report revealed thatNigeria ranks 146 out of the 180 countries considered, behind Botswana(34), Rwanda (51) and Mauritius (56) among other African nations. TheTI report which is based on corruption perception by ordinaryNigerians is an indication that the country needs to do a lot more toaddress the hydra headed monster that has crippled the countryeconomically and in all indices of development.According to Transparency International, the 2019 CorruptionPerceptions Index (CPI) shows corruption is more pervasive incountries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns andwhere governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals. Who will disagree with TI that corruptionis pervasive in our country where political positions are bought andsold, whille  merit and capacity is treated with disdain?Until we stop appointing people to positions based solely on theirfinancial contributions to the party and not due to their capacity andintegrity, we will continue to have challenges in ridding the countryof corruption.What can the country do to extricate itself from the stranglehold ofcorruption? Many countries have made significant progress in curbingcorruption, however practitioners are always on the lookout forsolutions and evidence of impact. There are ways that citizens andgovernments can make progress in the fight against corruption.Effective law enforcement is essential to ensure the corrupt arepunished and thus break the cycle of impunity. Successful enforcementapproaches are supported by a strong legal framework, law enforcementand an independent and effective court system.Reforms focusing on improving financial management and strengtheningthe role of auditing agencies have in many countries achieved greaterimpact than public sector reforms on curbing corruption. One suchreform is the disclosure of budget information, which prevents wasteand misappropriation of resources. Countries successful at curbingcorruption have a long tradition of government openness, freedom ofthe press, transparency and access to information. Access toinformation increases the responsiveness of government bodies, while simultaneously having a positive effect on the levels of public participation in a country.Strengthening citizens’ demand for anti-corruption and empowering themto hold government accountable is a sustainable approach that helps tobuild mutual trust between citizens and government. For example,community monitoring initiatives have in some cases contributed to thedetection of corruption, reduced leakages of funds, and improved thequantity and quality of public services.The bottom-line however is that it is not President Muhammadu Buharithat will end corruption, he can only provide leadership, it is we theordinary people.Therefore we must own the war against corruption. If we see something,let us say something.

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