Corruption in Nigeria is endemic and as expected, has done more harm to Nigeria’s growth and development than good.
While the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has long identified corruption as one of the issues bedeviling Nigeria, the current war against corruption is dead on arrival if certain key and far-reaching decisions are not taken to win the war.
President Buhari has not hidden his disdain for corrupt acts and has gone after alleged corrupt past government officials
Before now, many analysts in Nigeria have called for the review of the 1999 constitution which in many ways shields those in government in various ways even when acts of corruption are committed by public officials.
According to Nigeria’s former ambassador to Switzerland, Dr Humphrey Orjiako, certain constitutional provisions and statutory practices stall Nigeria’s nation-growth and reinforce the proclivity towards dissension.
Naijaloaded lists 4 major reasons why corruption will continue in Nigerian governments.
1. Immunity Clause
It is a legacy of dubious value from three decades of authoritarian military rule which has unfortunately been adopted by democratic forces since 1999. The immunity provision protects and shields from prosecution elected executive officials who deliberately use their office to commit acts of corruption, pre-assured of no consequence for their actions.
2. Security Vote
A constitutional provision that enables the president or any state governor to disburse humongous sums of public money without any form of scrutiny, oversight or accountability even from the legislative arms of government. Presidents and governors in successive Nigerian governments at the state and federal level have continuously taken advantage of this to dip their hands into public purse for private gains.
3. Weak Institutions
In a speech delivered by outgoing US president Barrack Obama in 2013, he stated that Africa needs strong institutions and not strong men. Indeed, this is the bane of most African countries including Nigeria, where public officials are like tin gods and continually weaken institutions either by acts of omission of commission in order for their impunity to continue unabated. Many have used the advantage to line their pockets and leave democratic institutions begging for reform.
4. Secrecy in government
A perfect example is the security vote stated above. Despite the pass*ge of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill in 2013, openness, transparency and accountability requirements in public institutions are almost going into extinction. The conspiracy of government secrets and self-assessment in Nigerian bureaucracies has made it easy for government officials to dip their hands into public funds without query from any quarters.