The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has warned that the fight against corruption should not be seen to be one-sided or aimed at giving the current leadership in the country an undue advantage over others, even as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu has warned that as another election cycle approaches, the EFCC will not fold its hands and watch the nation’s commonwealth squandered by corrupt politicians.
In a statement issued by the Coordinator, Media and Publications of CACOL, Adegboyega Otunuga on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “During a one-day retreat for 36 state governors and key election stakeholders that was organized by Centre for Values In Leadership, CVL, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who spoke through Olanipekun Olukoyede, his Chief of Staff, was reportedly quoted, “We shall keenly monitor the financial affairs of political parties to ensure that the use of public funds to finance political parties and prosecute campaigns at all levels of government is checked”.
“He was also reported to have said that political parties would be required to keep proper records of all incomes, contributions and expenditure, and to open their books for inspection by relevant security agencies after every electioneering cycle; including the costs and source of funds of litigation/s after the elections.
“As much as we agree with the EFCC czar that the costs of political electioneering in Nigeria is much on the high side and over-burdening, it is our belief that all political parties and the entire ruling class emanating thereto, are guilty of unnecessary monetization of our political space, with a view to stifling all genuine efforts at reversing the moral and economic fortunes of the country as no politician could be better than the process that throws him up.
“In this wise, we would recollect how President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime bemoaned the over-monetization of the political space during his electoral campaigns to the effect that he was going to reverse the ugly trend when he eventually assumed power. Almost four years into his administration, the watchful and critical section of the nation, are yet to notice any change in policy direction. We certainly agree with Ibrahim Magu that, ‘Much of the money being misappropriated is either from health, security, education, road construction, personnel costs etc.; the case of arms procurement by the NSA under President Goodluck Jonathan government is apposite.’
“It is however curious that though the Muhammadu Buhari’s regime has, on occasions, lampooned the previous governments for allegedly using taxpayers’ money to fund election campaigns, he too has not bothered disclosing to the public how his campaign team is raising money for his re-election, in the spirit of transparency, full disclosure and leading by example as many are already alleging.
The CACOL Boss added, “This is one of main reason the fight against corruption seems not to be succeeding enough as much as President Muhammadu Buhari, whom majority of us agree still has his integrity intact, would have wished. For those efforts to be properly appreciated and for the generality of Nigerians to take full ownership in the fight against this destructive scourge, the EFCC, ICPC, CCB and other anti-graft agencies in the country must be seen to be independent and non-partisan. This could only happen when the rules are universally applied and overtly seen to be so.” The statement said.