Buhari’s war against corruption

corruptionPRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s vow to combat corruption in Nigeria no matter whose ox is gored is a welcome commitment that cannot but please all those who wish this country well.

In response to the question on whether he would move against even members of his party, he said ‘I just have to. There is not going to be any party member or personality that can escape justice.’

This is right. Buhari, indeed, has no choice in the matter for a man who declared in his inaugural speech that ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.’

Besides, for one who cares enough for his country to seek its highest office four times with the intention to effect a change, Buhari knows too well that with at least $150 billion, and  still counting, stolen from the public treasury by  high public officials and their colluding with local and foreign business partners, if Nigeria does not kill corruption, this ‘number one enemy’ may eventually kill the country.

The matter is that serious and obviously, this president will not want this to happen. For other reasons too, the president is well on track in his avowed move against corruption.

As the head of state, it is his constitutional duty as stipulated in Section 15(5) of the extant constitution as amended that ‘the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.’

It can  even be argued that ‘national ethics’ as itemised in Section 23 include discipline, integrity, dignity of labour,  characteristics that are antithetical to corruption and  which, if imbibed and practised by Nigerians, high and low, will check corruption and restore the nation to a path of  greatness.

The constitution of his ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) takes clear positions on the issue of corruption.  Item No.4 commits the party, if voted into power as it now has, to ‘preventing  abuse of  executive, legislative, and public offices through greater accountability, transparency, and strict enforcement of anti-corruption laws while strengthening the EFCC and ICPC.’

Item No.9 says that the party will ‘reform and strengthen the justice system for efficient administration and dispensation of justice along with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism, and similar cases of national importance.

And the party promises in item No.10 to ‘ensure full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act…’ As a man whose unique selling point for the presidency was integrity, it is inconceivable that he will condone corruption for a moment. So, at a personal level, he has a personal battle to fight.

Both in his personal capacity and as president of this republic, Buhari has unceasingly declared his stand against the cankerworm of corruption.

He promised in his acceptance speech that ‘… We shall strongly battle another form of evil that is worse than terrorism – the evil of corruption [which] attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character.’

Having noted in his inaugural speech the ‘pervasive corruption’ in the land, he promised ‘responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government’ and charged the judiciary to, on its part, ‘act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes, or abuse of office.’

Given the enormity, the hydra-headed nature, and the huge resources at the disposal of its perpetrators to fight back, President Buhari can neither say nor do enough to fight corruption.

But he cannot do it alone. Therefore, some issues need to be kept constantly in focus. Whereas many are quick to think of corruption in financial terms, the hydra-headed nature of this evil manifests in the   political, religious, academic, sports, and other aspects of national life.

As change agent, the Buhari-led leadership of Nigeria must be fully aware of these dimensions and plan its strategy accordingly.  Two, the perpetrators and the beneficiaries of corrupt practices are well equipped to fight back: they have the ill-gotten wealth to hire the best legal defence, to corrupt or delay the judicial process ad-infinitum,  to make key witnesses recant or disappear entirely.

The president must, therefore, act firmly on the commitment stated in his party’s constitution. As in all wars, tactics matter because not one method may work in every case.

Having said almost all the right things for public consumption, it is important to note that curbing corruption will require some behind-the-scene tactics such as moral suasion and quite pressure that can yield good result.

Finally, the point must be emphasised that anti-corruption war is to get justice not vengeance. So, as promised in Buhari’s statement, due process and the rule of law must also be scrupulously followed.

And this is where everyone in the entire judicial system – law enforcement, the Bar and the Bench – must, for the sake of a better Nigeria, commit to the highest standards of their respective practices.

Buhari has set the tone and so far sent the clear message that the end is near for roguery in high places. But it will be unrealistic to expect that government take on this multi-faceted evil everywhere that it manifests.

Nigerians who suffer the effects, one way or the other and who desired and voted for change must assist the new government, and challenge it if need be, to fight corruption.  Everyone must do his or her bit in this matter.



16 Comments
  • “Nigerians must help to fight the evil of corruption and no one man can do it alone”. That’s true.
    It’s also import to attack the root cause of corruption. The warped military created federation which we operate contributed to the evil which is oppressing everyone including the oppressors. Lets call a spade a spade. I don’t see how you will kill corruption without restructuring the country to true fiscal federal system. If PMB administration is serious about removing the cankerworm of corruption, restructuring will be the first thing. I don’t know why Guardian editorial didn’t reflect this problem.
    Kindly revisit this issue again.

    • Martin Egbe

      At the Diaspora town hall with President Muhammadu Buhari’s at the embassy in Washington DC USA, the President was presented with a simple tool to help him in the fight on corruption.

      The brief is the use of 5000 NYSE members and 5000 telephone lines published in various media, for the collection of reports on corruption Nationwide.

      The Presentation was made by the Diaspora Progressive Movement, in Los Angeles.

      This is a simple tool that has the potential to yield tremendous results.

      We hope the President will implement it.

      • The Buhari administration’s fight against corruption will only be meaningful if he restructures or adopt and implement the 2014 national
        conference. He is likely not to do it. His body language says it all.
        PMB maybe as we are told is a man of integrity and incorruptible etc.?
        I want to be proved wrong because he is a beneficiary of the rope sided system that is being used to cage our people in every strata of life. No motivation, no aspiration. Everyone is caged. There is limitation to what you aspire to. Love for country is zero. Anything that will get done must come from the center. The zones or states are weakened because all revenue must be consolidated and appropriated from the center. The man at the helm determines who gets what, etc.

        The fight against corruption will bear permanent fruit if it’s fought without fear or favour. Removal of vexed unitary system will be the first and right thing to do. Fight against corruption and the selected probing will not bring sanity until the first thing comes first. A restructured Nigeria will ultimately favour the North the most in the long run. The greed for the hydro carbon in the creeks has blinded successive governments. All they do is sharing of so called monthly allocation at Abuja. With that who would want to work? There is easy money everywhere. I pity those that want status quo sustained because of temporal gains. If you unlock Nigeria, the giant that the North is will manifest.

        • OkwuBndu

          Kangiwa, thanks once again for you are spot on it, pointing out “he is a beneficiary of the loop sided system that is being used to cage our people in every strata of life”. For therein lies the critical factor for Nigeria moving forward in the right direction in this era. If our Editorial teams in various media organisations can see this all important factor and insist that the Nigerian system needs urgent restructuring to a true fiscal federalism, then we can get moving in the right direction.Otherwise, it’s going to be mere cosmetic fight against corruption.

  • igboham

    It was reported that he has pleaded with Obasanjo for mentioning the possibility of reopening halliburton not to mention his own wife’s said involvement in the scandal. We shall see

  • Mazi JO

    In a line in his inaugural speech, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, lies the battle cry in attacking this monstrous behemoth in our political life as a Nation. In that statement is the discipline, the integrity and the zeal to march on against all vestiges of corruption. When he answered, ‘I have to’ to the question if he would pursue the members of his Government who are corrupt, the Rawlings effect without the blood-letting looms. We all remember how Rawlings distanced himself from a relation who murdered on the false hope his Head of State uncle will set him free but was disappointed when he signed his death warrant. Now, PMB is clearly ready, the mandate from the people was a foregone conclusion, then we must move on against this formidable enemy – corruption. It is the only stumbling block to living happily ever as a great Nation. It is going to be a deep, divisive, all-encompassing and may God forbid lives lost but with discipline, transparency, truth, due process and with malice towards none, the success is guaranteed. We only have to be vigilant that dissenters within and their foreign henchmen will not distract us from this one.

  • OkwuBndu

    Guardian Editorial, thanks for this focused piece. Very important that “must be emphasized that anti-corruption war is to get justice not vengance. So as promised in Buhari’s statement, due process and the rule of law must also be scrupulously followed……..every one in the entire judicial system- law enforcement, the Bar and the Bench – must for the sake of a better Nigeria committ to the highest standards of their practices.” If Buhari’s government can adopt this advice, one would expect Nigeria really moving forward in the right direction. However, “for the sake of a better Nigeria” re-structuring the socio-economic system to true fiscal federalism will go a long way in the anti-corruption war because the corrupt Unitary system we fraudulently call Federal is to a good extent thefoundation of the mess Nigeria is in today. In that case, wouldn’t it make sense to advise the Buhari government to implement relevant aspects of the last national conference, if we must be serious about the anti corruption war???

    • Mr. OkwuBndu, we are in same page . “First thing first”.
      Please help spread the word. True “Fiscal Federal System” will bring Nigeria back to the post independence country of our dreams. Military imposed Unitary system is a fraud. It must be dismantled for a new country to emerge. It takes political will and love for country to do away with the current system that has caged our people since the civil war. Nigeria can still catch up if we turn the page today.
      Again first thing first!

      • OkwuBndu

        Mr. Kangiwa thanks and I agree with you totally even in your first posting above. First thing first if we’re serious about the anti corruption war. Nigeria is highly blessed with enormous resources, both human and materials from the east to west, the north to south. By restructuring to true fiscal federalism, the creative ingenuity of Nigerians will be unlocked for the good of all of us and the wider world. And the politics of do or die for the center will lessen.

  • Jegede

    I don’t see how you can tackle corruption from teh root without going after the likes of Babangida and Obasanjo. That is when every Nigerian will know that your are serious about eradicating corruption. All these petty thieves that are currently being probed does not prove anything. Go after those that made corruption part and parcel of the Nigerian way of life!

  • agbobu

    AND FAYOSE DO NOT JUMP BEFORE YOU ARE PUSHED. ALL THE MASSIVE AND VERY OBSCENE LOOTERS AND THIEVES WILL BE EXPOSED. IT IS BETTER TO DO A VERY THROUGH JOB BEFORE RUSHING NAMES TO THE PUBLIC. WE THE PEOPLE, THE MASSES KNOW WHO THESE PEOPLE ARE AND THEY ARE THOSE IN THE CORRIDOR OF POWER IN THE GOODLUCK JONATHAN THE ALMIGHTY GOD FORSAKEN ADMINISTRATION. FAYOSE YOU WILL RECALL THAT YOU WERE THEIR MOUTH PIECE AND VERY MAJOR SPOKES PERSON. FAYOSE MAY BE YOU KNOW SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE NOT TELLING THE PUBLIC OR ARE YOU JUST PANICKING?

    • chi708

      Why shout, others are making civilized, intelligent comment and you write gibberish with a shout

      • agbobu

        IT IS OFFICIAL GOODLUCK JONATHAN NOW THE CHIPS ARE DOWN AND THE DIE IS CAST. GOODLUCK JONATHAN, YOUR ADMINISTRATION AND THE EVIL CABAL, IF YOU CAN NOT DO THE TIME THEN DO NOT DO THE CRIME. END OF STORY AS THERE IS NO HIDING PLACE FOR YOU IN THIS PLANET EARTH

        • Martin Egbe

          This is why corruption is going to be hard to fight in Nigeria, just for people like you with very short memory. Jonathan is not the only corrupt president nor is his administration.
          Have you forgotten Babangida, Abacha, Obasanjo, and Yaradua were Nigerian presidents.
          You cannot win the fight on corruption if you start to personalize it.

          • agbobu

            GOODLUCK JONATHAN IS THE god FATHER OF VERY MASSIVE AND VERY RECKLESS CORRUPTION QED AND HE WILL BE THE FIRST EX PRESIDENT TO BE JAILED FOR VERY OBSCENE CORRUPTION. THIS IS VERY OFFICIAL AND MARK MY WORDS.
            CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA IS A CANCER WORM OF INIQUITY, THAT HAS DESTROYED NIGERIA AND COULD DESTRY THE FUTURE OF THE CHILDREN OF CHILDREN YET UN BORN IN NIGERIA. THE TRUTH IS THAT THE PAST ADMINISTRATION OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN, NOT ONLY MADE MASSIVE CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT VERY FASHIONABLE, AN IN THING, A NORM, A WAY OF LIFE IN OUR POLITY, BUT INSTITUTIONALISED OBSCENE OFFICIAL CORRUPTION AND MADE IT A BADGE OF HONOUR. THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN WAS THE MOST CORRUPT IN THE HISTORY OF NIGERIA AND HISTORY AND POSTERITY WILL NEVER EVER FORGIVE OR FORGET GOODLUCK JONATHAN.]

  • Martin Egbe

    Anywhere and everywhere in the world, when people know they can get away with anything, they will do it.
    This is why corruption has progressively gotten worse over the years, and why subsequent government officials have progressively increased their level greed and gotten away with it.
    Nigerians can only help the President in the fight on corruption, if and only if the presidency provides them with a reporting tool with which to report corruption to him. Most importantly, educating the grassroots on the evil and danger of corruption.
    I would like to end by directing you to read a 27 minutes youtube video on corruption, by Prof. PLO Lumumba.
    Please Google it.

Related