Buhari’s way for­ward and his legacy (II)

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Engr. S. I. So­dangi of the com­pli­ance of the PAD pol­icy. This will re­in­force the work of both the CCB and CCT. Also th­ese two bod­ies should be re­ju­ve­nated with tougher lead­er­ship and strength­ened and ex­panded to cover the whole coun­try right down to Lo

So far PMB can be said to have his pri­or­i­ties right in se­lect­ing to solve two se­ri­ous prob­lems fac­ing the na­tion be­fore all others namely the in­sur­gency and cor­rup­tion.

How­ever, there is only one way to fight in­sur­gency to a stand­still and that is by en­sur­ing the state monopoly of vi­o­lence. This is best ex­em­pli­fied by to­day’s China or yesteryears’ Soviet Union. How do we achieve this in Nige­ria? This will be the topic for an­other day.

Fight­ing cor­rup­tion is akin to the sit­u­a­tion where some­one finds one’s sit­ting room flooded with wa­ter. One can start re­mov­ing the wa­ter from the sit­ting room but that would be a los­ing bat­tle. The smart thing to do is to trace the source of the leak­age and stop any fur­ther flood­ing be­fore em­bark­ing on the re­moval of the wa­ter in the sit­ting room.

So sim­i­larly, one can safely say the fight against cor­rup­tion has not re­ally started in Nige­ria since we have not traced and blocked the source of cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment and un­til we do that, the flood of cor­rup­tion will con­tinue un­abated. There are two sources of cor­rup­tion namely im­punity and money pol­i­tics and un­less th­ese twin evils are elim­i­nated we can never hope to de­feat it.

We should also re­alise that to­tally elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion is a tall or­der. What is more fea­si­ble is to re­move the con­di­tions that make cor­rup­tion pos­si­ble. Im­punity is one of the root causes of cor­rup­tion and can be de­scribed as the oxy­gen for cor­rup­tion; with­out it cor­rup­tion can­not thrive. Im­punity has also been de­scribed as a sit­u­a­tion where ac­tions have no con­se­quences. As long as there is im­punity cor­rup­tion will be per­va­sive and al­most im­pos­si­ble to elim­i­nate but def­i­nitely dif­fi­cult to fight. The other root cause of cor­rup­tion is money pol­i­tics. As long as there is money pol­i­tics, cor­rup­tion will thrive and be­come im­pos­si­ble to elim­i­nate. Money pol­i­tics will be per­va­sive only in the pres­ence of im­punity. Many as­pects of money pol­i­tics are ac­tu­ally il­le­gal and so with sin­cer­ity of pur­pose it can be more eas­ily elim­i­nated. Since the pre­con­di­tions for cor­rup­tion, im­punity and money pol­i­tics, are eas­ier to tackle, the war against cor­rup­tion should be changed to the war against im­punity and money pol­i­tics. Both im­punity and money pol­i­tics have one panacea and that is as­sets dec­la­ra­tion by pub­lic of­fi­cials both ap­pointed and elected.

We all know that most of the elected of­fi­cials in gov­ern­ment to­day from State As­sem­bly mem­bers. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Sen­a­tors right up to State Gov­er­nors got elected through money pol­i­tics and are hop­ing to re­coup the money they spent in their cam­paigns as if pol­i­tics were a busi­ness ven­ture. The aims of such of­fi­cials have noth­ing to do with self­less ser­vice to the na­tion; they see elec­tive of­fice as an op­por­tu­nity to ‘in­vest’ (i.e. buy a po­si­tion) where they can ‘re­coup their in­vest­ment’ (i.e. steal from the Gov­ern­ment). The only way to stop such busi­ness­men-politi­cians is for them to rou­tinely de­clare their as­sets pub­licly. Once they know that their as­sets are be­ing mon­i­tored they will have no in­cen­tive of run­ning for pub­lic of­fice. In fact, many cur­rent of­fice hold­ers would re­sign if PMB were to in­sist on com­ply­ing with the pol­icy of as­sets dec­la­ra­tion as hap­pened re­cently in the Depart­ment of Cus­toms and Ex­cise. This way only peo­ple with the gen­uine de­sire to self­lessly serve the peo­ple will be at­tracted to po­lit­i­cal of­fice.

In view of the cru­cial role the as­set dec­la­ra­tion pol­icy (PAD) is ex­pected to play in the ef­fort to elim­i­nate im­punity and money pol­i­tics, PMB is ad­vised to set up an of­fice in the Pres­i­dency (to be named As­set Dec­la­ra­tion Mon­i­tor­ing Of­fice) to keep track

We should also re­alise that to­tally elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion is a tall or­der. What is more fea­si­ble is to re­move the con­di­tions that make cor­rup­tion pos­si­ble. Im­punity is one of the root causes of cor­rup­tion and can be de­scribed as the oxy­gen for cor­rup­tion; with­out it cor­rup­tion can­not thrive.

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