The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders CACOL has commended President’s Muhammadu Buhari’s move towards tackling administrative and bureaucratic corruption in government. This came on the heels of an order that was contained in a statement made available to journalists by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, that President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that all audit queries be answered within 24 hours.
The President also directed the Auditor General of the Federation to resolve all outstanding audit queries within the next 30 days; an order that followed the President’s displeasure over the practice in which audit queries remained unanswered for long periods, sometimes running into years, under previous administrations.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran, commended Buhari for living to his billing and for being proactive on his administration’s war against corruption at all levels of government.
“The President has proven to be a man that can be decisive when the occasion demands for it; it’s beginning to show that his promise to confront corruption headlong is not just a mere political gimmick”. Adeniran said.
Since it has been discovered that the very bulk of corrupt tendencies and execution start from the civil service and more often than not, corrupt politicians have been known to have received informal training or tutelage from top civil servants who have perfected the act of corruption. As technocrats, these top civil servants are well versed in the administration and management of accounting records, an advantage many use to perfect the art of doctoring and altering of records. They know not only how to perpetrate corrupt act but are also experts in concealing it.
So by tradition, they train elected and appointed political office holders on how to perpetrate corruption and cover their tracks. That is why when you hear of massive looting taking place in a particular section of governance by a minister or Head of a parastatal, one begins to wonder how such massive looting could have been made possible without the active connivance of these elements in the civil service because they are the ones responsible for the day-to-day operations and record-keeping.
We have also discovered that in most cases appointments to the ministries or parastatals come as a way of patronage to party faithfuls and not essentially on merit. So, in most cases, ministers appointed are strangers to the terrain; as such, many of them are being exposed to avenues that facilitate corrupt practices. It is these career civil servants that provide the in-house trainings; not only trainings to administer but also trainings to steal. They remain the engine-room of official corruption in government.
Basically, President Buhari’s directive is quite in order. Audit queries are not supposed to be kept in archives or in suspense but are to be responded to immediately. Even in a situation whereby relevant documents and files to support or back up the reply are not immediately available, it should be so stated therein. Response is supposed to be spontaneous to audit queries; so as not give room for possible compromise.
“There is no justifiable reason for delays in answering queries because if anything is found amiss, it is the person in-charge that should provide the explanation”.
For those criticizing Buhari for restricting the probe exercise to Jonathan’s administration; they are certainly acting in ignorance; they do not know what is involved in probing. One major thing they fail to realize is that the first thing a fraudster does when carrying out his unwholesome act is to cover his track so as to make future discovery impossible. Beside doctoring and altering, perpetrators even go as far as destroying relevant documents that could lead to discovering their acts. Given this scenario and the complexity inherent in the exercise of probing, therefore, Nigerians should not be surprised if probing Jonathan’s administration alone covers the entire 4-year tenure of Buhari’s administration.
President Buhari should remain undaunted and should not allow himself to be distracted in any way, in his quest to save Nigerian from being killed by corruption. He should confront, chase, nail, shame and possibly demolish corruption by whichever means possible. Nigerians expect no less.
Buhari should be more confident that Nigerians remains solidly behind him on any step taken by him to rid the society of the scourge called “corruption”.