President Muhammadu Buhari did not mince words during the presidential campaign in the 2015 general election about his goal of the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria. However, little has been seen of his anti-graft war on corruption because the structure of the country institutions is grossly misaligned.
Let us view corruption from an unusual metric by calibrating it, as a failure of the government to govern well is fundamental to entrenched corruption in Nigeria. Corruption cannot be genuinely fought without having good governance in place, hence the failure of the current fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Both administrative and financial corruption in the public sector in Nigeria is beyond mere pronouncement of policy to curb their malice. Because corruption is an intrinsic part of all systems in Nigeria; therefore, a measure that is built on commitment, coordination and cooperation will improve anti-corruption fight beyond what is obtainable with the current fight.
The 2017 World Development Report: Government and the Law were released on January 30, 2017 “identifies three winning ingredients of effective policies: commitment, coordination, and cooperation”. In addition to three core functions to produce better governance outcomes on corruption in Nigeria, I suggest sincerity of purpose because without it all of the above will be futile labour.
Improving the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria
The current country’s corruption perception index calls for worries, Nigeria only scores 28% that is a huge failure of this current government because they have spent more time-fighting corruption than fixing the collapsed economy. It is obvious that the current anti-corruption governance in the country is not working, therefore there is an urgent need for it to improve this fight in an effective way that will deliver expected outcomes without intriguing Nigerians right unduly.
When the government turns to fight against corruption into acts of victimization and avenues of oppression, such fight cannot last and will not achieve its primary aim of cleaning up the system. The Philippine’s war against drug had to be suspended during the week because the war on a drug that commenced seven months ago has been abusive and excessive against drug cartels in that country. Moreover, the government agency saddle with the responsibility to clean up Philippine; the police, which has killed up to 7,000 people in just seven months, are equally corrupt.
In this same vein, the Federal government has been fighting a futile war on corruption that reinstates the level of institutional failure and government dishonesty in the unbiased anti-graft war. Corruption fight that broke into people houses in the middle of the night or the one that failed to prosecute cabinet members allege of corrupt practice is not the kind that will fulfil President Buhari’s promise on war against corruption to Nigerians.
A government that makes war against corruption as its top agenda cannot appoint credible personality to fill the highest anti-graft agency; Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), in the country or fails to show respect for men and women of the beach to the extent of not having a substantial Chief Justice Nigeria.
Fighting corruption in Nigeria is far beyond setting up Presidential Committee on Anti-corruption and heading it with a professor of law, coming up with a whistle-blowing policy, and witch-hunting past public office holders and members of opposition parties. However, it requires a systematic approach that embraces basic principles of good governance, which can be summed as bolstering commitment, enhancing coordination and encouraging cooperation from both state and non-state actors with integrity as the underlying mechanism.