The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on the Federal Government to do more in the fight against corruption in the country and ease the burden of the citizenry especially at a time the economy of the country has just relapsed into its worst recession in history.
In a release, issued by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Debo Adeniran to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day, he stated “around seventeen (17) years ago and precisely on October 31, 2003, the entire world under the international umbrella of the United Nations Convention number 58/4, declared every 9th of December each year as the International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005. ‘Recover With Integrity’ is the theme for this year International Anti Corruption Day as the world recovers from the pandemic. ‘Recover With Integrity’ emphasizes that “inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity”.
According to the United Nations’ report, ‘Every year, over USD1tn (One trillion American Dollars) is paid in bribes while an estimated USD2.6tn (Two Trillion, Six Hundred Million Dollars) are stolen annually through corruption – a sum that is equivalent to more than 5 percent of the global GDP (Gross Domestic Product).’ In developing countries, according to the same United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), FUNDS LOST TO CORRUPTION ARE ESTIMATED AT 10 TIMES THE AMOUNT OF OFFICIAL ASSISTANCE. Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies and all facets of life.
According to same United Nations’ report, ‘no country region or community is immune from the cancer called corruption.’ The developing nations of the world, otherwise referred to as third world nations are, however, more affected as its devastating effects could be seen on education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development as resources meant for all areas of attention, siphoned and diverted to private accounts.
This brings us to the different identifiable causes of corruption that could be stated as: Prevalence of Weak Governmental Institutions, Discriminatory Applications of Rules and the General Justice System, The Effects of Public Perception, The Nature of the Economy, Undue Secrecy in Governmental Affairs, etc.
To this end, the anti-corruption Czar and Human Rights Crusader has called on the masses to buy into the fight against corruption and hold their leaders accountable. In one of his numerous interviews with the Media, he insisted that “for the fight against corruption to gather steam and ensure that resources belonging to the nation are utilized for the collective wellbeing of all, the grassroots must take ownership of the fight against corruption and ensure that leaders are held to their campaign promises after their elections into office”.
To this extent, CACOL have a pioneered a programme of action titled ‘CACOL – Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency Education’ (C-GATE) which is right now operational in virtually all the 20 local government areas and 37 local development council areas, (LCDAs) in Lagos and Osun States.
Also, the Centre is intensifying its Public Enlightenment campaigns through grassroots engagement and interventions. It is also vigorously intensifying its engagement of the Media and collaborating with cognate Stakeholders towards ensuring that corruption is finally extirpated or minimized within the body polity, in line with United Nations resolution against corruption.
“CACOL would like to call on the government to intensify the fight against corruption. We also call on the three arms of government to synergize more to stem the tide of corruption in the country. The Judiciary as the last hope of the citizen should do more in the area of quick dispensation of justice so as to serve as deterrent. The recent retrial of Abdulrasheed Abdullahi Maina, former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), should not be an isolated case but it should be a continuous exercise as other notable public office holders who have been indicted in one way or the other and are still enjoying not only their loots but also their freedom should be immediately tried and their cases dispensed with.