Sustaining the fight against corruption

The world has long viewed Africa as a land of conflict, contagion, and corruption.

While conflict and contagion are anything but general, corruption has been universal, blighting almost every country on the continent.

Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, has been serially ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Former British Prime Minister, David Cameron in May described Nigeria (and Afghanistan) as two of the world’s “most fantastically corrupt countries”. President Buhari’s ongoing war against graft has also exposed the sordid level of corruption in the giant of Africa.

Until the creation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the nation had suffered severely from loss of credibility; teetering on the brink of total collapse.

Leaders and principal actors of various administrations in the country have been accused of unbridled greed and avarice as they siphon public funds into private accounts with little or no concern of the implication of their actions on the economy and the general populace.

While serving as military Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari in an address to the nation on June 1, 1984 said, “The enemies of the nation were those who exploited their position of trust which they occupied to enrich themselves, to sabotage and to destroy the nation’s economy, to promote mass unemployment and to simulate scarcity of essential commodities through barefaced corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s wealth.”

On his return to power on May 29, 2015, Buhari left no one in doubt on his will to combat corruption monster head-on. The monumental graft of the immediate past administration was unearthed few months into the lifespan of his government.

First to be arrested and arraigned was the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki for the diversion of $2.1 billion and N45 billion meant for procurement of arms for the military. Several senior military officers have also been arraigned for sleaze running into hundreds of billions of naira.

Former Customs Comptroller-General, Dikko Inde Abdullahi and former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi have also been investigated by the anti-graft agency and are answering questions for the misappropriation of a huge amount of public funds.

While commending President Buhari for his administration’s fight against corruption, the President is encouraged not to relent on this important mandate of his government. The President must remember that corruption was one of the reasons why Nigerians voted his predecessor out of office.

Again, there is need for the anti-corruption war to be total. There must be no sacred cows. Serving public officers including members of the President’s political party and cabinet must not be spared if found wanting. Only then will the nation reap the full benefits of the anti-graft war.