12th February, 2015
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday night noted that the high rate of corruption in Nigeria could consume the country if nothing urgent was done to curtail it.
Buhari is not the only Nigerian that has raised this alarm. Many Nigerians including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdulsalami Abubakar, have also, on several occasions, lamented the high rate of corruption in the country even with the anti-corruption agencies in the country.
Speaking with Christiane Amanpour of the Cable News Network, CNN, Buhari said his government would tackle corruption head-on if voted into power
“We have to, because there are serious citizens of this country that say unless Nigeria kills corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
“And that’s best illustrated by another hearing conducted by the National Assembly on pension fund, electricity and then the corruption in the petroleum industry from where the country derives over 90 percent in external revenue.
“The National Assembly conducted a hearing here in Abuja and in the six geopolitical zones of the country, then they took the recommendation to the executive. And it’s been collecting dust for the past 18 months,” Buhari said.
Explaining the reason why the Nigerian troops have not been able to battle insurgency, Buhari, a retired war General, said it was lamentable that the Nigerian soldiers who had earned themselves international repute, had suddenly turned into an embarrassment.
“Boko Haram, we know how it started. Certainly the Nigerian military that built our reputation internationally for effectiveness, it’s a great embarrassment to them and to the country that they haven’t been able to secure (Nigeria’s) territory of an area of 14 local governments out of 774 local governments.
“I believe this problem will not be too difficult for (our) APC government because we know the Nigerian military is competent. It’s a question of making sure the money voted for equipment and training is properly utilised.
“Well this has been made much more clear when the National Assembly attempted to conduct a hearing after the soldiers were giving interviews to foreign media about being sent to the front without proper weapons.
“The National Assembly attempted to conduct a hearing by getting the budgets approved by the National Assembly over the last three years and inviting the service chiefs to come and tell them (why the) weapons were not procured and sent to the soldiers — and competent leadership. And that hearing was scuttled.
“So in short, it’s the misapplication or misappropriation of the resources provided by the government for weapons. That’s why the Nigerian military was unable to defeat Boko Haram,” he said.
He said though he was disappointed with the recent postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, arguing that the electoral umpire was forced by the military to take the stand, but since “those six weeks are within the constitutional time allowed, this was why we came and asked our supporters to remain calm and resolute and obey the laws.”
Buhari said he was a changed man and that all he did as military Head of State were done because it was a military era which is basically different from democracy, adding that he should not be judged harshly because of the way he ran the country as a military head of state..
He said his recent endorsement by former President Obasanjo would boost his candidacy.
“Well, it would certainly bring more supporters to us and more confidence again to us from those who were sitting on the fence, because General Obasanjo is highly respected and as far as Nigerians (issues are) concerned, there’s no serious issue that can be discussed without people seeking for his opinion and listening to it,” he said.
But President Goodluck Jonathan also during a media chat Wednesday, said his government was resorting to using information technology to fight corruption. The President also reiterated that stealing was different from corruption.