Nigeriaâ€™s latest corruption perception ranking has sent shock waves around the country, especially in the hallowed corridors of power and government; despite the official efforts to bring a national scourge to heel.
It appears inconceivable that a country, whose present leaders made the war against corruption one of its main cornerstones for good governance, can actually slide down 12 places in ranking in the 2017 Global Corruption Perception Index released recently by the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.
Pray tell this reporter, where are all those famed 140 convictions by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission? Where is the global acknowledgement of the billions of naira and millions of dollars recovered in Kaduna and Lagos by eagle-eyed anti-graft operatives?
Even a former governor bagged five years in jail last year for corrupt enrichment, while a topmost government official was removed from office over a grass-cutting contract! The CPI seemed to ignore these â€˜monumentalâ€™ anti-corruption achievements.
But, truth be told, even the man on the street knows that corruption is real and active in almost all the facets of the society. There are several high-profile cases of grafts which are pending with their files gathering dust in the corridors of power. To the layman, it appears there are still sacred cows and untouchables in this war against corruption.
Convictions based on these pending graft cases will definitely boost governmentâ€™s anti-corruption struggle, and would have sent the right signals to both potential corrupt officials to desist from their actions and to global monitoring organisations like the TI.
Until this is done, the line between corruption perception and actual reality may remain blurred and corruption may continue to prevail in Nigeria, despite the federal governmentâ€™s outrage at TI over a mere ranking…reality check.
– Abimbola Akosile