Social critic condemns Buhari’s anti-graft war tactics
Cyril Mbah, Abuja
A vocal member of the civil society community, Dr. Otive Ogbuzor has criticised the insincerity surrounding the war against corruption in Nigeria and the attitude of public officials who pretend to be fighting graft but are overtly encouraging despicable actions that debase society and erode moral values.
The social critic described corruption as a canker-worm which has stagnated the country and prevented improvement in the nation’s international standing as well as the ease of doing business.
Dr. Otive Ogbuzor, the founding executive director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development [Centre LSD], who spoke in Abuja at the quarterly Departmental Forum of the department of political science and international relations of the University of Abuja, observed that the civil society community had fears that the change agenda of the present administration would not go far enough to improve the rot in the society due to several errors in the implementation of the programmes.
He stated that several factors had grossly contributed to under-development in the country and regretted that the situation might not improve anytime soon except visible efforts were made to tackle the challenges of development.
The scholar categorised the challenges of development in Nigeria to include poor leadership, bad followership, poor strategies for development, lack of capable and effective state bureaucracy, lack of focus in all sectors to improve the peoples’ living condition, a weak, irresponsible and parasitic private sector incapable of building infrastructure, a corrupt civil service and an emasculated labour and student movement.He argued that “The poor political leadership in the country results largely from corruption in the electoral process. Corruption is daily stagnating the country and preventing improvements in the ease of doing business. Corruption is preventing sanctions against those who engage in corruption and preventing plans, policies and budgets from delivering service to the citizens. Corruption is so endemic that many of the citizens do not see anything wrong with it, making the masses to support corrupt people of their ethnic or religious groups.”
Dr. Otive Ogbuzor lashed out harshly at those who think that it is alright to rig elections while claiming to be fighting corruption, declaring that political corruption is even more dangerous than any other form of corruption since it encourages the imposition of illegitimate administrations on the masses against their will.
He recommended that for the anti-corruption war to be effective, it must be guided by a legislative process that would guarantee a transparent and accountable government, political will and a people-oriented commitment to fight corruption, apart from having a comprehensive strategy that is systematic, consistent, focused, publicised, non-selective and non-partisan as well as protect whistle blowers.
Ogbuzor also called for political reforms such that will curb rigging of elections and the active mobilisation of social re-orientation, the creation of a strong independent media and adequate remuneration for workers, while properly sanctionable code of conduct should be adopted for public office holders to discourage attraction to corruption.
He advocated for stronger institutions within the electoral, media and human rights communities and a people-oriented movement against corruption at all levels of society for the war against graft to succeed.
“It must be noted that although the Buhari administration has set the tone at the top for fighting corruption. In order to win the war, it must learn from the failure of past attempts and focus on comprehensive national strategy that is owned by the citizens. Education of citizens on the negative consequences of corruption must be initiated and corrupt risk assessment of all the ministries, departments and agencies must commence while integrity systems with mechanisms to recover stolen wealth at home and abroad should be put in place. “There is also need to launch a national programme on the war against corruption and indiscipline. This is crucial as the future of Nigeria depends largely on the success of the fight against corruption,” Dr. Otive Ogbuzor declared.