These are 3 (of many) reasons Buhari’s anti-corruption war is not receiving support from Nigerians
Yesterday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, declared that the Nigerian treasury lost over N1.34 trillion, over quarter of the country’s budget, to 55 Nigerians through corrupt practices between 2006 and 2013. He made this statement at a press conference in Abuja. The minister’s allegations were made against the backdrop of the commencement of his “national sensitisation campaign” which implores Nigerians to join the fight against corruption in the country.
According to him, Nigerians need to cooperate with the government, through the body of the All Progressives Congress, in order to eliminate corruption, before it kills Nigeria. He further cited reasons why Nigerians should be at the forefront of the war themselves, by giving statistics of how the stolen funds could have gone into developing infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools and accommodation, as well as fighting terrorism.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war was the major element that drove his campaign and subsequent election to office. However, surveys and recent incidences show that Nigerians are yet to be convinced with his strategy thus far. Many suggest that his anti-corruption war lacks transparency and partiality and has more to do with fulfilling personal vendettas and shaming the People’s Democratic Party.
Therefore, as much as Buhari’s administration is calling for the support of the Nigerian populace through the help of the media and judiciary, it fails to deserve it on these three fronts.
1. There’s no trust in the information provided
First of all, the Ministry for Information, led by Lai Mohammed, appears to sifter through certain pertinent information before it shares it with the general public, or it just keeps information from the public altogether.
At yesterday’s press conference, while it was revealed that of the 55 corrupt individuals, 12 were former governors, 4 were former ministers, 12 were former public servants, 8 were bankers and 11 were businessmen, no names were given. Yet, in reference to the arms deal fraud saga, former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP were boldly mentioned, even though the Buhari administration has denied all claims that it nurtures a vendetta for the opposition party.
2. The two arms of government are not working together
Secondly, the minister mentioned that the judiciary arm of government is crucial to winning the war against terrorism by exacting just measures towards perpetrators. On January 7, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa accused the president of humiliating and suppressing the judiciary, by encouraging security personnel to disregard court orders, causing Nigerians to further lose confidence in what the current fight against corruption stands for. This event highlighted a lack of synchronisation between the two arms of government.
3. Government officals aren’t willing to step up
Finally, the current administration seemingly disregards the demands of Nigerians as long as it does not suit their agenda for dealing with corruption in the country. On January 4, the Civil Society Network against Corruption (CSNAC) called for a public asset declaration from all 36 ministers in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to exemplify zero tolerance for corruption and promote transparency. The suggestion is still being met with silence.
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