Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari says collaboration among the three arms of government is an opportunity for the country to defeat the scourge of corruption in the country.
He said this in an address at the National conference on the role of the legislature in the fight against corruption in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari said the time was ripe for the nation to put in place a practical plan to clean up its crucial public and private institutions.
“We have an opportunity today to begin an important national project and I wish to emphasise that this must not be a finger pointing exercise.
“What is required is a consensus of reasonable men and women who realize that the current path will destroy as a whole.
“That such a consensus will produce a coalition of the like-minded from the executive, the judiciary and the legislature united by a common cause and a proposition that this republic will fall and consume us all if we do not put in place a practical plan to clean up our crucial public and private institutions.’’
The president said a gathering like this presented a unique opportunity to explore a consensus on how to free our nation and its most crucial institutions from the ravages of corruption.
He observed that indeed we have a chance to develop a uniquely Nigerian approach to dealing with this problem.
“We give power to adjudicate on our lives and livelihoods to the fairest and most honest amongst us who is called a judge.
“Otherwise law and justice will serve only the strongest and the richest.
“So the reason why the elite in different countries of the world decide to fight corruption is quite straight-forward.
“It is not necessarily altruistic, it is not necessarily a moral issue; but first, it protects even the elite itself from being consumed by the chaos and conflict that corruption may cause.
“But more importantly because if public officials and private sector persons generally observe a code of integrity the society itself is saved from a breakdown of law and order.’’
Buhari emphasised that it was important for all of us to be humble and cool headed enough to understand that the coalition that should emerge from such a consensus was not a coalition of saints.
He added that it could not be conclave of only righteous men bound by a holier-than-thou creed and a crusading zeal.
“No, that will fail; what we need is a coalition of reasonable men and women of Nigerian bureaucratic, political, business and political elite.
“Men and women who know that the proposition that corruption does not pay is not just merely a moral injunction, that it is an admission of the grave reality in commerce, in governance, or whatever field of human endeavour.
“That a corrupt executive for example will destroy all plans for development, that the corrupt legislature will use its legislative and oversight functions to enrich itself and compromise its role of checks and balance.
“And that the corrupt judiciary will sell its file over life and death to the highest bidder and return society to the anarchical notion that self-help is the best,’’ he added
He observed that the reason men were elected as leaders in the executive, legislature and why they were appointed into the judiciary“ is that we desire an orderly society.
“It is where we entrust the power to make decisions about how to spend our collective resources for the common good to a few.
“Because reasonable men and women discovered long ago that if we allow everyone to take care of themselves, we will remain in the state of nature fighting like savages for our own potion of the meat,’’ he said.
A former head of anti-graft organisation in Kenya, Prof Patrick Lumumba, in a key note address, attributed corruption in the continent to bad leadership and greed among the elite.
He said Africa had the potential to rise above others if the leaders were able to utilise our resources for good governance and taking care of the poor.
He suggested harsh punishment for corrupt officials and criticised the current plea bargaining in many African nations as a disservice to the nationals.
Lumumba predicted that if Nigeria rose above corruption the entire continent would rise with it and he also praised the Buhari anti-corruption policy describing it as patriotic.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki, and Speaker Yakubyu Dogara, pledged the commitment of the National Assembly to support the current fight against corruption in the country.
They, however, urged that the fight should not be political but follow due process of the law.
The Chairman of the Senate committee on anti-corruption and Financial Crimes, Sen. Chukwuka Utazi, said the legislature was ready to provide the enabling legislation to protect the anti-graft institutions to sustain the war against corruption.
Source: Today Trending News