Fighting the hydra-headed monster called corruption, which is seriously afflicting the Nigerian economy, should never be a lone effort. This is the crucial reason the Goodluck Jonathan administration certainly requires the support of all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians to fight corruption towards heralding a new beginning in the scheme of things in the country.
It is an established fact that one of the fundamental factors working against the attainment of marked socio-economic, cultural, educational and political development in the major facets of the country’s economy over time is pervasive corruption. And for President Jonathan’s administration to tackle this monster headlong, the support of all and sundry is definitely required.
Nevertheless, one may ask what essentially constitutes corrupt tendencies or practices in human affairs. According to Transparency International (TI), corruption is defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.”
Similarly, Wikipedia, an online encyclopaedia, describes corruption, whether personal or official, as that which, in philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, “is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal”. The encyclopaedia further posits that in an economy, as Nigeria’s, corruption could be described as “payment for services or material which the recipient is not due, under law”. Some have equally explained the social cankerworm in such other terms as bribery, kickback, sleaze, or inducement.
Thus, in any human society, like ours, in government in particular, corruption ensues when an elected representative makes decisions that are influenced by vested interest rather than the moral norms and accepted societal values.
Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate his administration’s seriousness in tackling corruption in Nigeria, it would be recalled that President Jonathan, even in his acting capacity in April 2010, had urged the National Assembly (NASS) to accelerate its delivery of two key executive-sponsored legislations, namely, the anti-corruption bill and the anti-terrorism bill, expected to assist his administration in dealing with burning national issues, including identified deficiencies in the battle against corruption, money laundering and possible funding of terrorist activities.
Jonathan had said in a correspondence to the 6th Session of the House of Representatives at the time: “Given this administration’s commitment to combating corruption and terror and boosting the country’s economic development, a blacklisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will no doubt seriously hamper these laudable efforts.” The current administration has continued to demonstrate that it means business in fighting corruption tooth and nail in this regard.
Recall that the president had also hinged his administration’s determined efforts at pushing for the National Assembly’s passage of the anti-corruption and anti-terrorism bills into Acts on possible blacklisting by the FATF and possible stifling economic consequences for Nigerians.
In walking his talk with regard to dealing decisively with any indicted individual or institution found to be corrupt, President Jonathan has vowed that his administration would not shield any corrupt person from investigation or prosecution by the anti-graft agencies – Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
With the required measure of independence to execute its mandate effectively, the EFCC, while still beaming its searchlight to discover more, has been able to recover several billions of dollars corruptly stashed away in foreign lands by some former political leaders, including governors and other public officials.
The president, again, reassured the nation and the international community at the opening of the 8th National Seminar on Economic Crimes held at the Training and Research Institute of the EFCC, Abuja. With a change of leadership in the agency for improved delivery, the government, indeed, has continued to support and encourage the EFCC and other anti-corruption agencies to confront corruption more decisively, while charging them to spare no culprit, regardless of his status or position.
The president boldly demonstrated his administration’s professed zero-tolerance stance on corruption lately. That was when he declined to swear in a nominee for the chairmanship of the ICPC, following questions raised by Nigerians about the propriety of the person’s nomination and subsequent clearance by the Senate.
“We will give all the necessary support and encouragement to all the anti-corruption agencies to vigorously enforce the enabling anti-corruption laws. I urge these agencies to do their work fairly but firmly within the ambit of the law without regard to position or status. There shall be no sacred cows. This government will not protect any so-called sacred cows. The wheel of justice must run its full course in tackling anti-corruption cases,” Jonathan had declared.