Anti-corruption posture to save Nigeria, says Buhari
Buhari made this explanation at the second plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, Port Harcourt Sunday.
The President, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said that the fight against corruption is not just a moral battle of virtue and righteousness in land, but a fight for the soul and substance of the nation, expressing regrets that corruption has become so endemic in the country that it now constitutes a parallel system.
Some of the dignitaries, who attended the event included the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, and the Archbishop, Province of Niger Delta (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Ignatius Kattey, among others.
The President lamented, “It is the primary reason for poor policies, wastages and bare-faced theft of public resources. It is the mean reason why a potentially prosperous country struggles to feed itself and provide jobs for millions of its people. Hundreds of thousands of infant and maternal mortality statistics, hundreds of thousands deaths from communicable diseases are traceable to the greed and corruption of a few,” he said.
Buhari pointed out that two-third of Nigerians live in extreme poverty, adding that the paradigm of thinking about the country’s economy must be one that is aimed at the ultimate goal of lifting the majority out of poverty.
According to the President, the focus of future economic planning must be one that will create an enabling environment for enterprises.
“We must reason, plan and budget with the understanding that two-third of Nigerians are poor. They must be helped, first to survive, and then, fully participate in the economy of the nation. Consequently, we must create tenets for the very poor and vulnerable while ensuring that social spending also resurrects investments in the economy. We must invest substantially in relevant education, teachers training and vocational and entrepreneurial training. The country is today experiencing its worst economic situation in decades. A terrible combination of waste, corruption and severe down turn in all earnings have drastically reduced our esteemed resources. We must urgently now find it in investing in infrastructure and all crucial components in the medium and long term means of diversifying our economy. Meanwhile, we must block all leakages and improve on our revenue base,” said Buhari.
He told the delegates that the military is collaborating with vigilant groups who are providing local intelligence to make it impossible for Boko Haram insurgents to regroup in the North-East or any other part of the country.
“On security, we are on course to militarily defeat Boko Haram and make them incapable of taking over any territory. Suicide bombings on some parts of the North East are desperate acts of terrorists to create a sense that they are still in play. But, with vigilance and local intelligence, we will make these cowardly acts practically impossible. We must however, now turn our attention to the enormous task of de-radicalization and re-orientation of the young people who had been led to believe in the rhetoric of Boko Haram. Part of the task that we have is in deconstructing the hopeless socio-economic circumstances that made young men and women rebel against their own society when they cannot see a future for themselves,” he added.
CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said the church would not relent in her prayer for the new government and Nigeria. He implored Nigerians to be altruistic and patriotic rather than being selfish and narcissistic.
According to Kaigama, the tendency to promote, defend and protect narrow personal economic, regional and religious interests has been the cause of the country’s underdevelopment.
“With the new administration in our nation, we have another window of opportunity and we hope we shall achieve the positive change that has become a national mantra. Our wasted opportunities must be recovered,” he said.