Date Published: 03/3/11
"Corruption is any act of dishonesty" -CACOL
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has described any act of dishonesty as corruption. In an interview granted a television reporter, Mr Debo Adeniran, its Executive Chairman averred that “Corruption is not African, corruption is any act of dishonesty. Africans are naturally not a dishonest people”. According to him, “ in our olden days, we were not corrupt, we believe in being our brothers’ keepers and that is what every religion preach.” He further stressed that colonialism contributed to the growth of corruption in our country.
According to him, “what we had in the days of General (Yakubu) Gowon is lack of sense of fiscal direction as well as profligacy laced with avarice in the days of former President Shehu Shagari. Grand corruption that has always been in Nigeria was negligible but came to a crescendo during the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Shagari and others according to him were reckless in spending and flamboyant but it was not the type of corruption we have today. It was Babangida who introduced, almost as a state policy the ‘Steal -I –steal’ syndrome so that no one will talk. This, according to Adeniran, is referred to as ‘Chop and clean mouth…’ by the legendry Afrobeat singer, Fela. And before long, ordinary Nigerians become destituted: feeding from the dunghill crumbs from alms. Furthermore, he explained that this is the reason why middle class public servants are indulging in what he described as “reactive corrupt practices” because they see their bosses engaged in it. “Theirs can be referred to petty larceny which came about as a reaction to the grand larceny i e Corruption in higher places being perpetrated by their bosses”.
Adeniran also said that this is why it is difficult for politicians and military to effectively make laws against corruption because they are always involved in the shady deeds.
Due to the fact that Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigerian former president wanted power at all costs, he promised to fight corruption and inaugurated ICPC, which could not really do much because, the power that inaugurated it did not provide enough for its funding and maintenance and that is why till date it has not won up to fifteen cases so far.
He said that caution has been thrown to the wind so much that the Public Procurement Act is not been followed any more before awarding contracts to company and that is why the much celebrated Bode George could give out spited contracts and he went to jail for 18 months and upon his return a grand reception was held.
Further he described the inception of EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) as a nice move towards eradicating corruption especially with Nuhu Ribadu at the helm of affairs and putting his creativity to work, he was able to bring to book some big wigs in corruption industry which include; Sunday Afolabi, Tafa Balogun etc.
He also said that the anti graft agencies as pointed out that the major problem they have is the ministry of justice and office of the Attorney -General of the Federation. This particular office headed by Mohammed Adoke has been withdrawing cases of corrupt practice from different court and recently, Ayoola of ICPC cried out for help on the issue why, EFCC boss Farida Waziri asked for a special court where corruption related cases will be tried.
The people in power have always truncate investigations though they are the ones that inaugurated the anti graft agencies, a vivid example is the Halliburton case, where out of the180 billion dollars used as bribe to be awarded contracts, OBJ’s regime alone got 110 million dollars and he claims to be fighting corruption.
When asked on the ways out of corruption, he said: The people should rise up and ostracise corrupt people from their community. They should not allow corrupt elements to bring proceeds of corruption to pollute the integrity of their communal harmony. On the role of the Judiciary, the CACOL Chair said, “The judiciary has been demented, we have to overhaul the judicial system to make it more responsive to the need of anti-corruption drives. He also expressed his delight in “what the PDP did by asking for the list of their members with cases with the anti-graft agencies so as not to field them for elections”. He urged the judiciary to prosecute corruption cases with utmost efficiency devoid of unwarranted delays or granting frivolous injunctions and adjournments. He advocated that indicted corrupt elements should be denied travel permit and agencies should also keep them in custody until their cases are concluded.
On a final note he urged our religious leaders and business owners not to allow the proceeds of corruption in their various place of worships or be invested in their firms.
Badmus Abimbola (Miss)
Ag. Publication and Media Officer.
2 nd March, 2011