Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
To effectively rid Africa of endemic corruption, which has been the bane of development on the continent, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday advised that anti-corruption agencies in African countries should come up with robust methods to prevent corruption.
President Buhari, who gave the advice when he addressed delegates to the Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) training for heads and senior officials of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union held at the behest of the Nigerian Government at the banquet hall of the presidential villa in Abuja, said: “Our continent has suffered from the severe consequences of corruption, and it is imperative that we take steps to reverse the trend.”
Noting that the training facilitated by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), research and training arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) was part of his government’s support for the war against corruption in Africa, President Buhari told participants to be conscious of the fact that corruption is hard to combat and that it fights back.
Drawing inference from his experience in combating corruption in Nigeria, and insisting that the fight against corruption is a battle for the souls of different countries that must be won, Buhari said: “When we assumed office in May 2015, the pervasive nature and devastating impact of corruption on Nigeria had become dysfunctional. The momentum for our electoral victory could not be separated from the revolt of the people against glaring endemic corruption.
“During the past several months, we have been taking steps to institute integrity and transparency in the processes of government and holding those who have plundered our commonwealth to account for their actions.
“However, the costs of recovery and sanctions are also enormous. While commendable successes have been recorded, it has become manifest that corruption fights back. With enormous stolen resources, elements have attempted to compromise law enforcing institutions and pervert the course of justice.
“This realisation highlights the necessity of building a system that focuses on preventing corruption. We continue to implement policies aimed at building resilient systems that can withstand assault by corrupt officials.
“Our steps in this direction include the full implementation of both the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN); the Open Government Partnership and various Executive Orders strengthening the anti-corruption agencies and permitting their full autonomy.
“It is in this context of building robust preventive systems that we must understand this initiative which aims to train leaders of anti-corruption agencies in the African Union by deploying Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for corruption prevention in our countries.”
The president said CRA seeks to identify corruption-prone processes and procedures in organisations and recommend appropriate remedial steps, noting that it places a premium on prevention as an effective complement to enforcement in the war against corruption.
Acknowledging that through support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2016, the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria acquired the capacity to conduct training on CRA, he said since then, the academy has conducted a number of the kind training it is giving the anti-corruption bodies of other African countries.
He said the training is an opportunity to extend the benefits of this methodology to other African countries, saying: “By which it is clear that we have not taken our appointment as anti-corruption champion for the continent for the year 2018 lightly.”
Nigeria’s Economy in Dire Situation, Buhari Doesn’t Have the Solution, Ositelu Warns
The presidential candidate of Accord Party (AP), Isaac Babatunde Ositelu, has warned that the economy of Nigeria is in a dire straight, and that it requires an astute manager to make a turnaround at this critical period.
Ositelu, however made it clear that the person who can make this turnaround is certainly not President Muhammadu Buhari, and as such, he has asked Nigerians to reject him at the polls to save the country.
The AP presidential hopeful said solving the humongous economic challenges by focusing on agriculture and industrial development does not require a rocket science to determine what the country needs to move forward.
He said by adopting the backward integration economic policy, he could reverse the trending rural-urban migration currently plaguing the country.
The politician stressed that the economic activities to be generated in each geo-political zones of the country would help stem the population drift from the rural areas to the urban centres.
He, however, said for Nigeria to come out of the present state of despair in its socio-political and economic travesty, the electorate must reject the candidacy of Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to Ositelu, who said he has the solution to the country’s economic problems, the comprehensive policy document of his government will ensure the provision of reliable and clean energy in the various critical sectors across the country, saying industrial parks and markets as well as manufacturing hubs across the country would be given focused priority in the provision of electricity, portable water and critical infrastructure that would help them grow and develop.
He said his government would carry out the mapping of Nigeria’s current and future manufacturing hubs, industrial parks and markets so that information sharing critical for support services could be easily accessible for operators in the various sectors of the economy.
The presidential hopeful assured Nigerians that building and sustaining the rural roads would be given a pride of place in the policy drive to connect every nook and cranny of the economic roadmap of his government.
On agriculture which he said can be the mainstay of the country’s economy, Ositelu promised to turn Nigeria to the food basket for the West Africa sub-region as president of the largest country in Africa. He promised that not only will Nigeria be self-sufficient in food production for local consumptions, it would also embark on export of food crops to countries in the sub-region.
He therefore urged the electorate to reject Buhari and Atiku as both candidates were part of the grand designs that led to the current misery and hopelessness in the country.