President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, traced Nigeria’s economic woes to corruption, saying that his administration’s anti-corruption war is to ensure effective and just utilization of public resources.
President Buhari listed the damages corruption has visited on the psychic of Nigerians including “accelerating poverty, conflicts and civil disturbances, adding that ” those who feel short-changed, resort to violence and destruction”
Speaking at this year’s Democracy Day celebration with the theme: “Peace Building and Good Governance for Sustainable Development’’, at the International conference center, Abuja, President Buhari said ” our resolve to fight corruption was informed by the realization that reducing corruption and ensuring the effective and just utilization of public resources, are crucial for achieving sustainable growth and development in Nigeria”
According to the President ” Corruption has been at the root of most of the development challenges of our country”
The President insisted that “There can be no progress in any facet of our national life unless we tackle and curb corruption”
President Buhari noted that the theme has been carefully selected to reflect the nation’s current opportunities and challenges.
For him, “good governance is the polar opposite to corruption” ! vowing that his administration “will not relent in our efforts to eliminate it regardless of the opposition”
Noting that the country has experienced rough times, he added “through good governance we have not allowed ourselves to be overawed by the existing of challenges.”
“Weak governance is often at the core of rising inequality and unequal development resulting in social disruption and political unrest with negative impacts on growth and development.”
The President listed engagements in several rounds of dialogue and town hall meetings, targeted at peace building, between the aggrieved and in some cases warring factions and communities, as part of efforts to tackle some of the challenges.
“We are still grappling but successfully, with border disputes and restoring the much needed peaceful co-existence amongst our people and neighbouring countries. The rebuilding of the North East is ongoing, to return our internally displaced brothers, sisters and children to their ancestral homes”
He therefore urged Nigerians to ” keep faith” with the current administration as it remains committed to good governance and peace building
The President, while reacting to the speech of the guest speaker and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) , Attahiru Jega, chided former Minister of Niger Delta Development and 2015 party agent to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Godsday Orubebe, whose reactions caused tension, while the results were being announced.
“Here I must digress to raise an observation by the programme organizers because I did not see Mr Orubebe who ought to have come and listen to professor Jega deliver his lecture, this is a major observation. That instance for those of us who were lucky that there was light and we had the television to see the confrontation between Orubebe and prof Jega it will remain a life impression to many of us the other one is the prof Jega briefing to the government the opposition and the military before the date of the election was finally agreed on.”
The Former INEC Chairman, in his speech, identified factors which he said posed dangers for the 2019 general elections to include altercations and violence that trailed recent outcome of All Progressive Congress ( APC) nationwide congresses
Jega posited that the crises trailing the APC Congresses is a clear signal that the ruling party APC may not be able to guarantee the conduct of free and fair general elections next year.
The former INEC Chairman, reputed to have conducted the election that led to the change of government that secured victory for an opposition party in Nigeria for the first time in history, stated this while delivering the 2018 Democracy Day Lecture at the International Congress center, Abuja.
“If political parties cannot organise their internal elections peacefully, how can they engage the other parties with civilities in the general elections. It is very very important that this is addressed because if there is crisis in the elections, some of these issues outside the scope of electoral commission but in the end it is the electoral commission that gets blamed.
Jega also listed what he described as “increasing incidents of hate speech” as other factors that must be checked ahead of the 2019 general elections
” The second thing we need to address is the recent spate of hate speeches by political actors, religious leaders, it is this unbridled utterances by opinion leaders, religious leaders, political leaders that facilitated electoral violence in general elections. So these has be tamed. Again, we must serious measures that the rule of law is complied with, so effective prosecution is very very important to mitigate against this challenge. Otherwise worth the intensity this is going right now it will undermine the integrity of the 2019 elections.”
Jega also cautioned present administration against focusing too much on embezzlement and theft under the current anti-graft was adding that the war should also tackle “bribe giving and taking in states and federal government institutions”
Others include ” the delay in the passage the framework for the conduct of the 2019 exercise was also a risk to the election
He noted that the seven days provision in the constitution given for the conduct of run-off where necessary, adding that “it is an impossible task as no such election can be done so short a time”
Tony Ailemen, Abuja
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