Why It Is Difficult To Tackle Corruption In Public Sector– Peter Obi
A former governor of Anambra State and a presidential aspirant under the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi, has said that corruption has been institutionalized in Nigeria because those in government are profiting from the process.
On Monday, Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris for N80bn allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.
This is not the first time that an Accountant General has been accused of corruption. The last Accountant- General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, was accused of misappropriating N2bn of funds belonging to security agencies.
He later returned N6bn to the Federation Account through the EFCC to avoid prosecution.
Idris was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 to replace Otunla who served from 2011 and retired in 2015.
Obi said, “First is that corruption kills entrepreneurship. Nobody thinks in a corrupt country. You see a place where the House of Assembly Members are dashing out cars that lecturers can’t buy and they say he is doing well. Someone who is supposed to be a lawmaker dashing a car?
“You have a situation where corruption kills hard work. There is no country in the world where we pay this amount of money. We pay now to buy an electoral form, America where we borrowed the system of government that we are practicing with a GDP of over $20trn, we are only about two per cent of America’s GDP and they have a maximum of $4,000 and you have to show proof where you got the money from.
“In Nigeria you pay $100,000 (PDP) and I ask none of us that are paying this has been asked for tax clearance to show evidence of any such income in the past ten years.
“Corruption is very simple and you can stop it if the principal person is not involved, his family is not involved and his friends are not involved. No thief will leave what he can steal and keep it.
“I was saving that money, the Accountant General knew I was saving the money, the commissioner of finance knew I was sending that money and we will always compare notes every month.”
Obi lamented how worse it has become for political office holders to share dollars that they cannot account for.
He said, “Currency is a measure of productivity. Currency is a measure of the economy. I find it very worrisome that government officials who are supposed to be the protectors of our currency have abandoned the currency.
“They are now spending dollars. I’m very worried that while our manufacturers and business people cannot find dollars for critical inputs into manufacturing, the dollar is scarce, while politicians have money to share.
“This is being shared by people who have no legitimate means of earning dollars ever in their life. There are (people) who I know that did not earn any dollar in the past five years sharing dollars openly and nobody is questioning that.”