Incumbent President Buhari’s Administration Has Promoted Corruption More Than Any Other Government That Preceded It
A recent op-ed by our editorial team had described corruption as a mere symptom of an underlying malady just like a headache and fever are symptoms of malaria (https://goo.gl/ieRnww). The conclusion was that improper diagnosis of the symptom called “corruption” has been the reason why even the most determined of Nigeria’s leaders have failed to make any dent in eradicating corruption in all layers of society. One of the key campaign pledges which may have brought Buhari into power was his promise to make corruption in Nigeria a thing of the past within only a short period after assumption of office. Buhari’s 4-year term is almost finished and it is not only that the incumbent administration has registered no success that anyone can see, but many also see the Buhari presidency to be infinitely more corrupt than all its predecessors. In other words, the president who was elected to eradicate corruption has ended up escalating this vice to an unprecedented level.
This YouTube video has done an exceptional job in elucidating the vice of corruption in a manner that regular folks can readily comprehend and internalize. Apart from acknowledging that corruption is a mere symptom of an underlying malady bedeviling the Nigerian nation, the interviewee broke down corruption into seven distinct components. Corruption in Nigerian society manifests itself through the following ways:
Inflation of contracts. Government contracts are often inflated at the time of award so as to enable the contractors to get the kickback bribes upfront for the politicians and bureaucrats who are in positions to sign off on the deal. A bridge that is worth only a few billions of naira may end up may end up costing the government twice or thrice as much; the inflated sum is usually creamed off and used for bribing the main enablers of the deal. This conduit is assessed to make up as much as 55-65% of the corrupt monetary losses to the economy.
Unremitted revenue by tax collectors goes a long way to explain why internally generated revenue (IGR) is a very small percentage of the government budgets at all levels of governance in Nigeria. Even a parastatal like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is designated to collect rent from multinational oil companies on behalf of Nigeria, is often accused of failure to remit the full sums collected to the national coffers as mandated by the law.
Extortion by security agents and bureaucrats from innocent law-abiding citizens before the latter are provided with routine government services or excused from arbitrary extrajudicial impositions. The Nigeria Police that set up roadblocks demand and get bribes from regular road users on a routine basis, especially in the south and eastern parts of the country. Top officials may end up collecting millions of naira upfront before anyone gets given the appointment to see the president or governor, for example.
Conversion of public properties and assets to private ownership opens up a big hole for peddling corrupt kickbacks. This had occurred during the so-called Privatization Programs of the immediate post-war period and the recent variety that was employed during the divestiture of government-owned concerns like NEPA, NITEL, NPA etc.
The so-called Security Vote is a large sum of funds set aside during routine government budget exercise for the discretionary use of the chief executive – the president or governors. No accountability is required regarding how these funds are dispensed or not.
Wastefulness is a common feature in the management of official assets at all levels of government. Even mid-level government bureaucrats would prefer to fly first-class instead of buying cheaper fares simply because the money belongs to no one. It was said that the presidential jet that conveyed President Buhari to London for medical treatment was parked at the city’s airport facility at the daily rate of £5,000 (five thousand pounds) for more than 100 continuous days, for example.
Influence peddling is the favorite pastime of Nigerian political jobbers and middlemen whose only qualification is that they may have a familial, ethnic or religious affiliation with the powerful government official. President Buhari’s penchant for the selective appointment of his own relatives, friends and tribesmen into sensitive government positions make his beneficiaries to believe that they have deliberately been empowered to trade access to the man at the helm for bribes and undeserved favors. This is surely one strong reason why Buhari administration is blamed for bringing official corruption to a new high since 2015.
Rather than fight corruption as promised by the presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, the Buhari administration is charged to have deployed all the 7 conduits listed above to promote official corruption. Furthermore, the fight-against-corruption bogie has been tactically deployed by the Buhari administration and the ruling party to terrorize and intimidate their real or potential political enemies. The interviewee in this YouTube video specifically mentioned that spotlighting the so-called fight against corruption has been skillfully utilized in manipulating public opinion.
It is alleged that the arrest of a major political figure for corruption is routinely used to beef up Buhari administration’s popularity rating whenever there is a major setback for the incumbent government. It would then appear that the arrest of a political foe with a trumped-up charge of corruption is a utilitarian propaganda gimmick for managing the public image of the Buhari administration.
The damning deduction from this video is that the Buhari administration has indeed worsened official corruption since it came into office in 2015. What a paradox……!