By Abba Dukawa
Corruption 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.
Indeed, corruption must be seen as a cancer worm that has eaten deep into the fabric of the nation. To understand its level in the country, Nigerians are a living witness that in any address made by all serving and ex presidents, they claimed to fight against corruption, but due to lack of political will by corners leaders let corruption always strive coupling with indecisive action on many issues that ordinary Nigerians such inaction cost the nation the very best of his good intention towards fighting the menace. One of the issued that will centre during the electioneering campaign is the issue of fighting corruption by the present administration.
Many Nigerians are anxious to get a glimpse on how the elections will look like unlike in 2015, when change battled continuity. 2019 is most likely going to be maintaining a change versus changing the change. They are overwhelmingly awaiting the February 2019 presidential polls to vote for a far-reaching departure from politics of subservience to snobbish overloads paying lip service toward fighting corruption.
As on several occasions, President Buhari had reiterated that he would fight just and total war on corruption without selective approach, but the corruption is like skirmishing him back in the last three years.
Millions of Nigerians not induced with the way the administration is conducting its war on corruption because the brawl is not moving so fast. 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, Dasukigate and PDP campaign funds, still four years into the administration, there were a no convictions of the alleged looters.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has promised to fight the scourge of corruption in Nigeria better than current administration has done.
In his released policy document Atiku said corruption 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.
As common known Buhari-led administration’s fight against corruption lacks transparency and allows for rules to be subverted without appropriate sanctions as there’s no effective mechanism to enforce the laws of the nation and blamed the ineffectiveness of Buhari’s anti-corruption war on weak anti-graft institutions which he said are inefficient, unresponsive, and susceptible to corruption.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate promise electorates that if elect his administration will would focus on building strong anti-corruption institutions that cannot be manipulated by personalities, while also establishing a culture of accountability, effectiveness, efficiency and transparency and his administration would also ensure rigorous enforcement of judicious use of public resources, with zero tolerance for nepotism, corruption and poor management.
He listing the steps his government would take, strengthen the anti-corruption agencies to be totally independent of government interference and control, and delineate the functions of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Code of Conduct Bureau, Code of Conduct Tribunal and other law enforcement agencies; reinforce the abilities of the anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies through improved funding and improved conditions of service to enable the agencies perform optimally.
As part of immediate actions to combat corruption under his government, Atiku said he would launch a comprehensive National Anti-Corruption Strategy based on the rule of law, separation of powers, neutrality and non-partisanship so as to reposition and refocus all anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies within the rest 100 days in office and also support and transform the capacity of the criminal justice system to deal with corruption and corrupt practices in a more efficient and effective way; and his administration will initiate measures aimed at changing public perception towards corrupt practices especially transferring of ill-gotten wealth to foreign accounts and jurisdictions through.
PDP Presidential candidate saying notwithstanding the establishment of relevant anti-graft agencies by previous governments, the present administration has been accused of serious nepotism, partisanship and lack of political will and the impartiality to deal decisively with corruption, saying the absence of a coordinated national anti-corruption strategy that fosters transparency and accountability in a non-partisan manner means that present administration fight against corruption cannot be trusted by Nigerians.
On ways to cut down on the prevalence of corruption in Nigeria, Atiku said he would establish a reward system whereby a comprehensive review and increase of salaries of all public officers within the federal services, law enforcement and armed forces would be executed and the concept of “FAIR PAY for FAIR WORK” would be emphasized from the highest levels of government while also promising that all public workers would be adequately rewarded and compensated, thus providing the government with the moral authority to sanction errant public workers.
His administration would create special tribunals to try corruption cases sent to it by the relevant anti-corruption agencies as well as speed up judgments on outstanding cases of corruption and ensuring plea bargains are not abused and this can achievable by ensuring that judgments on corruption cases are fully followed through and enforced by the appropriate law enforcement agencies. To make perpetrators of corruption serve as deterrents to others, Atiku promised that he would ensure adequate punishment is meted out to whoever is caught. Atiku Abubakar also promised to review and expedite action on the passage of all existing and pending new laws or amendments to all anti-corruption laws currently in the National Assembly and encourage all anti-corruption agencies to enjoy a seamless and rancor-free relationship with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in order to improve the efficiency of the anti-corruption drive of the Federal Government.
Dukawa, a public commentator and media practitioner can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org