BY OBINNA NNAJIUBA
When President Muhammadu Buhari who campaigned vigorously using the anti-corruption fight as a strategy came to power in 2015, he promised to "kill corruption" completely, one of the most pressing problems facing Nigeria. He quickly launched an anti-corruption campaign, arresting, prosecuting, and persecuting some selected high-profile individuals, mostly members of the opposition party, and allegedly recovering billions of dollars in stolen funds yet to be accounted for.
However, eight years down the line, there is little or no evidence that Buhari's war on corruption has had any real impact. Corruption remains very rampant indices in Nigeria's political history. Some critics argue that Buhari in himself is fantastically corrupt and does not have the political will to fight corruption. they point to the fact that he has not been willing to prosecute some of his allies who have been accused of corruption.
Barely 5 months after the earlier renovation of Aso Rock Presidential Villa in 2014/15, President Buhari upon inception of office Budgeted 3.5B for the renovation of the aforementioned project. Before the election of President Buhari in 2015, he promised to make his assets declaration public but breached the promise he publicly made to the Nigerian people.
Before being elected to power in 2015 President Buhari called the subsidy regime a fraud, few weeks after his inauguration, he acknowledge that there is a subsidy and has since then borrowed to pay the subsidy, very recently Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed announced that the Federal Executive Council received $800M from the world bank to share to 50Millon Nigerians as palliative before petrol subsidy is removed in June 2023, she went further also to state that in 2023 alone the federal government has budgeted #3.36 trillion naira to take care of petrol subsidy till mid-2023, what a fantastically corrupt regime?
Sunday Darie the sports minister on the other hand announced that a total of 21 billion naira will be needed to renovate the national stadium in Lagos. As if that was all, the Aviation Minister announced that he had commissioned 10 firefighting trucks for the airports at the cost of 12 billion Naira, which translate to 1.2 billion per truck. This is unbelievable and it happened and still happening under the watch of whom many Abinitio believed that he has come to fight corruption.
In 2015, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari took a $2.1 billion loan from China Exim Bank to finance railway projects, only God knows where these projects were.
In 2016, the government obtained a $1 billion Eurobond from the international capital market to fund its budget deficit, which practically meant borrowing Money to share or basically for consumption.
In 2017, the government secured a $3 billion loan from the World Bank to finance infrastructure projects, which are nowhere.
In 2018, the government took another $2.8 billion loan from China Exim Bank to fund the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, which is yet to be completed.
In 2019, the government borrowed $2.5 billion from the World Bank to finance various development projects, and Nigerians are yet looking out to find where these projects were situated. In 2020, the government secured a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank to support the country's economic recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, the Nigerian government received approval from the World Bank for a $1.5 billion loan to support the country's economic recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In August 2021, the Nigerian government received approval from the National Assembly to borrow $4 billion from external sources to fund infrastructural projects in the country.
It is important to note that some of these loans were taken for specific projects, and the Nigerian government has never been transparent in its borrowing and loan repayment processes which is an aberration to some constitutional provisions and the monies borrowed so far can't be juxtaposed side by side with the number of projects on the ground.
Our National Budget under GMB was padded, stolen, and missing, and no details since after the passage in 2016, the ICT Ministry budgeted 1Billion for office furniture presented by Buhari to the National Assembly, till date no one is facing trial for this monumental fraud, however, perpetrators are rewarded with either juicy position or more contracts.
Under the watch of "Saint Buhari", An Ex-Governor stole over N70B from a failed monorail project, and GMB rewarded him with a Ministerial post and almost allowed the same Individual to succeed him, what a country.
In all, there are several reasons why Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has failed.
First, the campaign has been characterized by a lack of accountability and openness. There have been claims of corruption inside the anti-corruption agency itself, and Buhari has refused to disclose information about the sums that have been recovered.
The campaign has also been picky. Buhari has concentrated his attention on his political rivals while disregarding corruption allegations implicating his allies. Additionally, inside his political sphere, President Buhari oversaw the worst election ever held in Nigeria, which was overseen by Professor Mahmud and INEC.
Third, the campaign has been ineffective. Many of the high-profile officials who have been arrested have been acquitted or have had their cases dismissed. And even when convictions have been secured, the sentences have been light.
As a result of these failures, Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has lost public trust. A recent poll found that only 15% of Nigerians believe that Buhari is doing a good job of fighting corruption, whereas the rest believe otherwise.
The failure of Buhari's anti-corruption campaign is a major setback for Nigeria. Corruption is a major obstacle to development, and it is one of the main reasons why Nigeria remains the world's poverty capital with over 133 million Nigerians living below the poverty line.
corruption is a major problem in Nigeria today, it hurts the economy, the government, and society as a whole. Aside from President Buhari's weak dispositions, several factors contribute to corruption in Nigeria including weak institutions, lack of transparency, a culture of impunity, poverty, etc.
If Nigeria is to break the cycle of corruption, it needs to build a strong and independent anti-corruption agency that is free from political interference. It also needs to create a culture of transparency and accountability, and it needs to ensure that all Nigerians are treated equally under the law.
Until these things are done, Buhari's war on corruption will continue to fail even as he has less than a week to go.