What Kerry’s Endorsement Means for Nigeria’s Anti-graft Campaign, By Chukwudi Enekwechi
On his recent visit to Nigeria, US Secretary of State John Kerry saw the need to acknowledge Nigeria as a regional leader in the fight against corruption. He also acknowledged measures being applied by President Buhari to entrench morality, transparency, honesty and good governance in the country.
Following from these commendations, it is obvious that President Buhari’s efforts and determination to reposition the country is already resonating across the globe. As a matter of fact it is long overdue for African countries and Nigeria in particular to engage in self-examination and serious analysis of how governance is delivered to the people.
Due to the lack of integrity in public governance, Nigerian people have been denied needed development projects. With the coming of President Buhari in 2015, it was clear to all and sundry that the time had come to enthrone good governance, and his pedigree as an anti-graft fighter has left no one in doubt that the war will be fought and won.
So far, President Buhari has given a good account of his government in eradicating the corruption malaise in our country. The revelations about the misuse of arms fund by the Office of National Security Adviser under the previous administration is a pointer to the fact that Buhari’s coming to power was timely, as the country needed a leader with integrity to clean the Augean stable.
It is indeed regrettable that while most Nigerians wallowed in abject poverty, our highways dilapidated and turned into death traps, and other public institutions became dysfunctional, a few people were helping themselves to the till.
It is therefore consoling that once more we have in the saddle a leader whose integrity is acknowledged globally. The commendation by the US Secretary of State of President Buhari’s anti-graft war is a morale booster which will help cascade the message to all Nigerians.
It is unimaginable the pain corruption has inflicted on us as a people. Our backwardness and inability to develop like the Asian Tigers can be attributed to corruption among our past leaders.
As an experienced leader, President Buhari was able to locate the major militating factor against Nigeria’s accelerated development to corruption in high places. It took his emergence as president in 2015 to remove the veil from the faces of corrupt individuals who had been holding the country down.
It is very scandalous that the heinous Boko Haram attacks were allowed to fester in the North-East, and some parts of the country on account of the fact that monies voted for the war were being misapplied. This resulted to thousands of deaths and millions of internally displaced persons and devastation in the region. It is needless to recount the agony, pain and lamentations that the devilish sect has inflicted on the people.
As John Kerry noted, corruption costs the world a whopping $2.6 trillion yearly, and this has denied people decent livelihoods.
In Nigeria, the fight against corruption has already yielded satisfactory results in terms of cash, movable and immovable assets. Already, the Federal government has outlined people-oriented programmes to channel the recovered looted funds. These programmes are meant to impact positively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.
The need to frontally fight corruption cannot be overemphasised as it has eaten deep into the nation’s fabric, and its twin effect of creating a bad image for Nigeria further justifies the need to permanently eradicate it.
It is indeed gratifying that the United States government is throwing its weight behind President Buhari’s war against corruption. There is no doubt that Buhari’s single-minded determination to fight graft and its perpetrators has gained Nigeria tremendous goodwill across the globe, and Secretary Kerry’s commendation is a testament.
We cannot make significant progress as a nation if we fail to curb corruption. The US Secretary of State John Kerry aptly captured it thus: “progress in this fight against corruption is going to go a long way to bring Nigerians closer”. What this translates into is that corruption creates division among peoples of one nation, such as Nigeria, and the gaps can shrink when we together decide to fight it.
Similarly, Kerry’s acknowledgement that Nigeria can become a model for the eradication of corruption for developing countries is consoling and heart-warming.
Corruption, as he also noted, denies people access to education, food security, healthcare and development of infrastructure. Again, it is quite demoralising and disheartening when people entrusted with positions of authority choose to short-change the people by corruptly enriching themselves.
Were it not for the emergence of President Buhari, Nigerians would never have known the level of corruption being perpetrated in high places. Till today power remains epileptic, road infrastructure dilapidated and hunger in the land, all on account of the unbridled frittering of our nation’s resources. Hope has however been restored with the committed efforts of this administration to correct the mistakes of the past.
We therefore salute Secretary Kerry for offering United States support to Nigeria in the war against corruption which President Buhari has remained at the forefront. His preachments on religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence are also good intentioned.