NASS and the corruption fight
Ever since the launching of the laudable anticorruption war by the Buhari administration and even before, certain elements of soceity have always cynically calculated that they can piggy back on the shoulders of the anti-graft campaign in order to advance their inordinate pecuniary interest thus casting a shadow on the overall goal and purpose of the war against corrupt practices and malfeasances.
Granted that the present anticorruption battle is germane in order to bring much needed sanity and probity to the conduct of governance and administrative affairs in the nation’s public and private sectors, it must be however stated the way and manner the anti-graft war is conducted will go a long way on ensuring its transparency, credibility and durability.
If thorough investigation is conducted by the various agencies charged with tackling corruption e.g. the EFCC, ICPC, the DSS, the Nigerian Police Force amongst others, before they apprehend suspects or those that have run foul of the law, indeed, this means that at the end of the day, indictments and convictions would definitely be the end game and nunc dimittis for the various light fingered dramatis personae involved.
This would mean that the anti-graft agencies would end up scoring over 80 - 90% success in convictions and further shore up the overall image and perception of the anti-graft campaign in the eyes of the sometimes skeptical Nigerian many of whom are used to the usual media hype surrounding corruption cases, only for the culprits or suspects to be left off the hook on technicalities or plea bargain grounds.
When the conviction rate is high in proportion to those arrested and prosecuted, the public confidence in the antigraft campaign will also rise commensurately and with it, the added co-operation and synergy desired to tackle the hydraheaded monster decisively and tenaciously. However where the proportion of those convicted is low relative to the propensity of arrests or prosecutions, the prevailing feeling among the populace will be that the antigraft campaign is merely a public relations stunt meant to hoodwink them, all sound and fury signifying nothing at all.
Which brings to the fore, the grave issue at hand that is the tendency of certain questionable elements of society who under the guise of fighting corruption, spread petitions, complaints and publications, many of dubious origin, alleging that certain public agencies, parastatals or government departments are engaging in corrupt or corrupt practices. While the petitions allege financial impropriety in the relevant agencies or MDAs named, the very nature or substance of the petitions tend to expose the originators as either out on a mission of vendetta, score-settling or blackmailers out to extort money from public officials who may be sensitive to undue publicity or media sensationalism that may not bode well for their official or private capacities.
In fact, the dubious petitioners and blackmailers par excellence may have found their way to the nation’s apex legislative institution, the National Assembly going by some of the sensational publications that are going the rounds about the supposed expenditure/ income profile of the institution. Screaming headlines about the supposed gargantuan funds expended by the National Assembly and the alleged jumbo pay brouhaha of the federal legislators only serve to mask the real intentions of the sponsors of those publications; to tarnish, blackmail, extort and ravage the NASS management, and federal legislator’s image, reputation and resources as the case may be.
It is indeed perplexing that the National Assembly should be the target of this distressing smear campaign given the fact that it’s operations and finances are one of the most scrutinized and most catalogued in the world if recent statistical revelations by sundry public and private sector watchdogs are anything to go by. The annual budget capital and recurrent expenditure profile of the National Assembly are in the public domain for all to see while it’s contracts, tenders, prequalification and procurement profile conform tremendously with the requirements of the Public Procurement Act as many public policy experts legislative aparatchiks as well as the relevant global parliamentary bodies have attested to.
In fact the NASS administration under the tutelage of the Clerk to the National Assembly Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa has been acclaimed as one of the best-administered parliaments in the world according to the Legislative Research Bureau and numerous legislative think-tanks.
Therefore, the diversionary and distractionary activities of the inordinate blackmailers and their fellow travellers should not be condoned and must be thoroughly sanctioned by the security agencies for the overall credibility and durability of the laudable anti-corruption agenda of the Buhari administration.
Austin Asadu wrote in from Abuja