Buhari Urges Africans to Unite against Corruption

  • Atiku, Tinubu celebrate Ribadu

By Adedayo Akinwale and Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on every African, especially the younger generation, to collaborate on every front towards ensuring that corruption becomes a thing of the past on the continent.

This is coming as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has described Buhari’s war against corruption as a sham and congratulated the pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, who was recognised alongside seven others and organisations globally for their efforts in fighting corruption in Nigeria.

Named in January 2018 as the African Union Anti-corruption Champion, Buhari made the call yesterday when he declared open the 2018 Africa Youth Congress against Corruption (AYCAC2018) with theme: ‘Winning the Fight Against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation,’ at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.

“As Africa promotes regional integration and global prosperity, corruption remains a major stumbling block to the realisation of the seven aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said, adding, “We must, therefore, fight it from all angles and avenues without ceasing. And only a united front led by the African youth can change this present narrative to a great story of African transformation.”

Quoting the late fiery lawyer and renowned Nigerian anti-corruption crusader, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Buhari added, “You do not justify your crime by a defence that there are other criminals.”

He described corruption as, “Once-hidden taboo and hydra-headed challenge that freezes our aspirations and dents the hopes of our youth for a newly emergent Africa.”

He said, “Of particular interest to the youth, as reflected in the Nouakchott Declaration, is the emphasis on the imperative of investing in the demographic dividends through anti-corruption, education and sensitisation campaigns, targeting young people as a means of bringing about behavioural change.”

Buhari commended the efforts of Mr. Moussa Kondo from Mali for his Accountability Lab in the Republic of Mali, designed to build sustainable coalitions of accountapreneurs.

He also commended Mr. Maxence Melo from the United Republic of Tanzania and founder of JamiiForums, for strengthening the viability of whistleblowing policy tools.

Also praised by Buhari was Nigeria’s Damilola Olawale, founder of Code IT, for using technology to give young people the tools to demand transparency in the management of public resources.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs, African Union Commission, Mr. Minata Samate Cessouma, commended Buhari’s doggedness in the fight against corruption and for co-opting the youth into the fight against graft.

In his remarks, the acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who spoke on behalf of anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria, regretted that corruption in Nigeria and Africa is very high.

Atiku Celebrates Ribadu, Tags Buhari Anti-corruption War a Sham

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku, has described Buhari’s war against corruption as a sham and congratulated Ribadu, who was recognised alongside seven others and organisations globally, for his efforts in fighting corruption in Nigeria.

The former EFCC boss who was nominated for the award by a Nigerian non-profit organisation, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), was honoured in the category of Anti-Corruption Lifetime Achievement, at the Third annual Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Award 2018.

The award was established to shine a light on the fight against corruption across the world and acknowledged the outstanding contributions towards the prevention and the fight against corruption that are being made around the world.

The winners, who were drawn from Asia, America, Africa, Oceania and Europe, were celebrated in an event held in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

While speaking with THISDAY yesterday, the spokesperson of PDP presidential campaign organisation, Mr. Segun Sowunmi, congratulated Ribadu on his award, adding that he was one of the stars that Atiku discovered and allowed to contribute his quota to the fight against corruption during that era.

He lamented that the present occupiers of office have not been able to get anybody to acknowledge their efforts or recognise them because their anti-corruption fight has been less acceptable to the people in its scope, style, language and civility.

He said the anti-corruption fight of the Buhari administration is a shame, which has not earned the administration any commendation because the activities of the present government are hijacked by two men as confirmed by the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari.

Sowunmi stressed that anti-corruption war is a continuous process, adding that it would enjoy attention from Atiku as president.

He noted that EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and Due Process Office were all part of the creative genius by the then PDP administration to mitigate and reduce corruption in systematic and process driven manner.

Sowunmi stated, “Going forward, Atiku is going to do a whole lot more especially along the line of ensuring that transparency that exist in the collection of revenue will now be mirrored in the expenditure side of the money. So, whatever it is that Bank Verification Number (BVN) has achieved, a transparent revenue window is going to help achieve it and also help to curtail the outflow of those monies.

“We are going to use technology in implementing a programme that will allow all the drawing out of government money to be transparently seen by all and sundry, just like BVN allows them to see all the revenue. We have done well in the revenue side, we are now going to do even better in the expenditure side.

“Our team is being carefully put together to be made up of those who are very fugal, who are very conscious of usage of government money, that is part of the reason while Peter Obi is the Vice presidential candidate

“We celebrate Nuhu Ribadu, we celebrate EFCC, we encourage the present man to work harder so that in the future he can also be celebrated.”

Tinubu Commends Ribadu

The National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, also congratulated Ribadu for winning the global lifetime award for anti-corruption, saying the award was a testament to his dedication in fighting corruption.

The award administered by Doha, Qatar-based think tank, Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Centre (ROLACC), celebrates corruption fighters, academics and campaigners from around the world.

In a letter to Ribadu, Tinubu reminded him that his work is not finished yet and that he still has much to give Nigeria and the world.

He said, “The award shows that a person of integrity and commitment can make a difference and indeed be successful without sacrifice of principle or ethics.

“In recognition of your intrepid work as the first chairman of EFCC and for your contributions to good governance and anti-corruption worldwide, the award was more than warranted. It was richly deserved. You personify the best of our nation.”