Buhari’s Highground On Security And Corruption By Chukwudi Enekwechi
Almost six months into President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, some analysts have started assessing the major planks on which his election was predicated. They are economy, security and anti-graft war. So far, we can say that Buhari’s victory saved Nigeria the peril of imminent economic collapse on account of uncontrolled sleaze in high places.
To all intents and purposes, it can easily be discerned that the positive impacts of his actions in the three enumerated areas are beginning to be felt across the country. While the economic policies of the administration are now taking shape with the inauguration of the federal cabinet, one can be definitive about his achievements in terms of curbing corruption, and stemming the nefarious activities of Boko Haram.
On security, even the most ardent critic of this administration can attest to the fact that this administration has successfully routed Boko Haram from almost all the territories they hitherto held sway before President Buhari’s ascension to power. From the over eighteen local government areas they controlled in Borno and Adamawa states, presently Boko Haram have been eliminated from those areas. Let us not forget that the motive of terrorists is to secure territories where they could administer with their warped ideological (mis) understanding.
With the occupation of such territories they have safe havens to coordinate and launch attacks on hapless citizens. Therefore, for us to make an informed assessment of whether or not the December deadline for ending Boko Haram insurgency will be met, it must be appreciated that even the incessant terrorists’ attacks have considerably reduced since Buhari assumed office. This milestone can be attributed to the ability of our armed forces to degrade the insurgents; demobilise their operational capabilities and use proactive methods to pre-empt their attacks.
A case in point is the recent public alert issued by the security services of Boko Haram setting up cells in and around Abuja for imminent attacks. With the necessary intelligence and ability to monitor their activities, Abuja residents were once again saved from the terror group, as the federal government security apparatus forestalled any planned attack.
President Buhari has left no one in doubt about his strong desire to quell the ceaseless onslaught unleashed on Nigerians by the terrorists prior to his assuming office, and there is no doubt that he has indeed lived up to his promises.
On the issue of corruption, Nigerians are now being inundated with the revelations emanating from the arms purchase probe, and indeed other probes about the monumental sleaze that characterised the past administration. It is absolutely disappointing that at a time when the past administration told Nigerians they were borrowing money to pay salaries that some opportunistic and greedy Nigerians were having a field day with the nation’s resources at the detriment of our collective well being
As a people, we must all show our unalloyed gratitude to Mr. President for intervening timeously to rescue Nigeria from a gang of treasury looters, whose main preoccupation was to devour our scarce resources for their gluttonous needs.
Over time President Buhari has insisted that the major problem confronting Nigeria was corruption and the negative multiplier effects of sleaze in public office are innumerable. Think of the thousands of people who have perished on our highways due to corruption, or the men, women and children who die daily as a result of lack of access to adequate healthcare.
It is disheartening at the level of stealing that took place in the last administration, if we consider the sums of money misappropriated in the arms deal.
Once, we are able to eliminate corruption in our clime, huge resources will be available to address our infrastructure deficit, shortage of drugs in our hospitals, poverty and unemployment. In fact, it can be said that corruption is the anchor that habours all other vices, and solving it is fundamental to the economic and political reengineering we desire as a people.
For us to reach the Promised Land where roads will be repaired, potable water provided, hunger eliminated, jobs provided and social justice dispensed to all Nigerians, then the anti-graft war of Mr. President must be supported by all and sundry.
Over the years we have continued to groan and lament at the level of systemic inefficiency in Nigeria, and yet no deliberate and sincere effort has been made to address the basic and fundamental causes. It is therefore gratifying that President Buhari has taken the gauntlet to unearth the mind-boggling malfeasance that the EFCC is currently unravelling. It must be stated for the umpteenth time that unless we tackle the cankerworm known as corruption, it has the potentials to bleed the country and its people to death.
It is even more irritating when we realise that the large chunk of our stolen resources are usually frittered away to foreign lands where such monies are carefully deployed by the host countries for the benefit of their people, by creating jobs for their youths.
With the perennial drop in oil prices, and considering the enormous challenges facing us in terms of infrastructural decay, unemployment, lack of functional industries, power supply, it is only reasonable that all stolen funds be returned for the benefit of all Nigerians who have been short-changed as a result of unbridled corruption.
President Buhari’s administration has succeeded in plugging some loopholes of siphoning government money by introducing the Treasury Single Account, as well as other measures aimed at sanitising the system.
The TSA policy has played the dual role of curtailing corruption and boosting the revenue reserve of the country in a way that despite the dwindling oil fortunes the Buhari administration will still be able to fund most of its priority projects like second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan expressway among others.
In truth, it is as simple as ABC that the major drawback to our economic development as a nation is the level of corruption being perpetrated by public officials, politicians and those in privileged positions. It has also being agreed by most Nigerians that our ability to curb corruption will determine how far we can go in realising not only the millennium development goals, but also the sustainable development goals.
An Abuja Based Journalist and Politician