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How Buhari can curb corruption (2)




Projects execution is expensive. Goods and services paid for are not delivered. Money earmarked for projects is diverted.

Salaries of soldiers, police and other civil servants are either delayed or not paid for months on end. Roads are not built. Hospitals are not working. Public schools are virtually gone.

Most of our young people have no jobs.  We are in this economic mess and our country is insecure principally because of corruption.

It is the same reason that we are running our economy on mobile phones and generators.

Our markets are filled with fake goods (building materials, electrical equipment, furniture, vehicle parts, cutlery, pirated books, clothing, drugs and even food to mention a few) from countries that don’t consume such goods or services.

Most of these items hardly work and they break down immediately you put them to use because organisations saddled with the responsibility of controlling and checking standards are riddled with corruption.

From the above we can define corruption as spending or using public fund for purposes other than what they are intended.

This will include inflation of contracts, taking money for services and not delivering those services, not adhering to budget, not accounting for the so-called security votes, as well as wastages, misappropriation, misapplication, etc.

From the analysis it can be seen that people who are saddled with the responsibility of managing public funds simply appropriate such to themselves. This has become a culture; it is a way of life.

This is what is causing the intense political struggle and has made political contest a do or die affair. Strangely, there are enough regulations and institutions (the Public Procurement Act, Code of Conduct Bureau, the EFCC, ICPC, SERVICOM, FOI, NOA, the auditor general’s office, the external audit system – just to mention a few) created to mitigate this sort of behaviour but this has not deterred corruption. There is the rule of impunity.  These laws are observed in their breach.

People saddled with enforcing the laws are the first to break them. Somehow people have accepted this as normal.

So how do we deal with this? The first thing is to convene a conference in the form of a truth commission to bring together public officers from President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, Federal Ministers, Commissioners and Permanents Secretaries, Local Government Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, Directors of Local Government, Heads of other government agencies and Parastatals, leadership of National Assembly and State Assemblies; the Judiciary, government contractors both local and foreign; private sector collaborators including but not limited to their friends and families to come and say something before the commission.

The objectives and purpose of this conference is for participants to explain their role in the management of public finance from 1999 to date, to amongst others determine the extent of leadership, management or systemic failure (s) within the period under review.

The conference will enable the participants to see the linkage between their actions and the state of our economy and security and the victims they have created.

Retrospectively from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2015, we have 16 years which is 5,856 days, and taking our daily oil production as two million barrels per day at an average price of $50 per barrel, this will give a total earning of $586.6 billion dollars or  87.8 trillion Naira.

The truth and reconciliation commission should establish how this money has been spent.

Truth and reconciliation commission is often held where people fought bloody wars, where people have suffered persecution and oppression for a long time.

But the situation in Nigeria: the agonizing poverty, the bleak future of young people who have been made to live without employment, the displaced people and victims of insecurity (insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, trafficking in persons, prostitution etc.) are all consequences much worse than genocide.

This conference will make us to tell the bitter truth to ourselves and it is a strong signal that we are willing to unearth the stinking body of corruption for everyone to see. It is also a strong signal that whatever you do now, you will be called to account someday.

The outcome of the conference is to give some people amnesty whereby they return part of their loot to the state and if possible rehabilitated to join in the repair of a new Nigeria, this is because you can set up thief to catch a thief.

The advantage of this is huge; it will raise our public image as a country that we are serious about dealing with corruption head on and a country that is open for business as this will raise investors’ confidence.

This will bring real and lasting investment to Nigeria. Instead of our leaders’ globe-trotting and chasing elusive foreign investment, investors will find Nigeria a natural destination.

The convening of the conference should be backed by Act of Parliament. Not honouring the invitation will mean not benefitting from the amnesty of government hence prosecution.

Those that should attend should be listed in the Act in order of the office they occupied. Friendly countries, the World Bank and other institutions in possession of information about Nigerian citizens involved in corrupt practices should be invited to give useful information to the conference.  This conference to my mind is more important than constitutional conference.

If we do not deal with corruption this way we cannot make any meaningful progress, and I am afraid the Buhari administration could squander the huge public trust it has been given and could be brought down by the same people who have put Nigeria in the current situation and could be made to look more corrupt than their predecessors.

The second thing we need to do is to enforce our laws and regulations as it concerns public fund management.

As a result of the first step above, enforcement of laws will be easier. Along this line, a culture of asking people to explain the source of sudden wealth should be entrenched.   The use of Broadband will enable us to digitize our database.

For instance every person in Nigeria should be identified by their residences; by this method all houses must be designated into streets or names and numbered. In developed countries this has long been long achieved with street name, numbered and postcode given.

This is the basic data and all other information will be built around it: a person’s source of income, occupation and property owned, etc. are linked to this master data. This will ensure accurate declaration of assets and with prompt capacity to expose criminals as this will offer security agents useful information at all times.

Finally, let’s create a curriculum to teach the effect of corruption in our schools to save future generation from its scourge – in all schools from primary to university, in churches and mosques, at the level of ethno social groups, trade associations, etc .

People  must be able to explain the source of the money they have. People must realise that income illegally acquired harm others and deprive the people a vital resource to develop their lives and their communities. • Concluded. • Obaro lives and work in the UK as Governance, Capacity building and information technology specialist.

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  • Gimba Andrew

    It is wearisome where you find people who are entrusted to manage our resources are only using such for themselves with reckless abondon.This should not be so.Some of us are primitive n don’t care for others n such people should not live in decent societies but in their primitive primordial environment.Some are sic,k if they do such things and should be in rehabilitation centers where they can learn to be useful to theslves n those around them n should never again hold public office.Some of them should be tried for embezzlement n corruption.The President Eleet has much to do n it will be done.

  • dkoma

    Nigeria knows and understands her problems. she also knows the solution but she is not willing to face them. No matter what we all say in the media, those in corridors of power are only interested in their pocket. Otherwise how come our senators are the highest earners in the world when Nigeria’s budget is not up to that of state of New York? We should start by slashing the remunerations of our law makers. Many public servants are not paid on time.

    • emmanuel kalu

      that is exactly what should be done.

  • emmanuel kalu

    this is all nice and should be done. however this article assumes that nigerian’s don’t know what is going on or how to fix it. to fix the problem, you need leaders, in the asbent of leader, you need to implement a system based on IT. IT doesn’t lie, or can’t be easily manpulated. finally you need to remove the mean of corruption. first thing to do is put everything in the open. all contracts awards have to written down and video recorded. then the contract is given to a agency set up to review contract and manage the implementation. that agency would be held accountable for non completed contract, inflated contract, and every thing to do with the contract. finally all funds, IGR, taxes etc. every thing should be paid into one single account at the CBN. they would be held accountable for the funds. now you have two groups of people that would be held accountable for the money.

  • amador kester

    To track,locate and repatriate looted funds in foreign tax havens for urgent use in nation building ,to set up a committee of high integrity citizens to study corruption– related probe reports since 1960 and recommend refunds, to recover the recoverables belonging to the people from the outgoing govt and those before it without vindictment or acrimony and to take the transparency searchlight to every public institution and private sector etc is a task that must be done.Those angling to degrade this oncoming transparency hurricane that benefits even posterity into a mere balmy tropical breeze are thinking the impossible and dreaming the untenable.

  • OSegun

    This is an excellent piece. Nigerians are never short of excellent ideas. Leaders stand in the gulf between transforming excellent ideas into policies that change lives. One hopes that the incoming government would recognise that governance is less about self aggrandisement, but more about service to the people. It is time Nigerians focus more on hammering on positive ideas like in this article, rather than looking back and continuously lament about the past. There is so much to build rather than dissipating energy on the past. The future of Nigeria is surely bright!

  • Ajuzieogu Onyebuchi Solomon

    these is what every nigerians is expecting from our president-elect and must begin from people holding govt office also those that in his cambinet