By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”CHAIRMAN of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, yesterday in Benin appealed to the National Assembly to immediately consider the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill currently y before it to enable Nigerians demand for accountability and purposeful governance from their leaders.
Mrs. Waziri, who spoke on the topic, â€œTransparency, Accountability and the Challenges of Good Governance in Nigeriaâ€ at the 2nd Prof. Ambrose Alli Annual Lecture organized by Visionary Leadership Development Service, assured Nigerians that the EFCC will not rest on its oars until the corrupt were brought to book and tenets of good governance entrenched in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
According to her, â€œuntil we all see the fight against corruption as our fight, the EFCC will lose the fight. We must all stand up and say something and do some thing whenever we see something that is not goodâ€.
She disclosed that the anti-graft agency has launched an Anti-Corruption Revolution (ANCOR) aimed at ensuring that the citizenry took ownership of the fight against corruption.
On the Commissionâ€™s involvement in bank matters, she insisted that it was criminal failure of leadership by banksâ€™ helmsmen and women to engage in sharp practices, arguing that the anti-graft commissionâ€™s involvement in banking matters was justified.
She added that â€we have recovered over N114 billion and filed charges against these failed leadersÂ of banks and stock broking firmâ€.
Waziri attributed insatiable wants and human greed as drivers of corruption, inabilityÂ to hand out prompt penalties to corrupt leaders and individuals, just as she cited prolong court cases, administrative and bureaucratic procedures involved in the apprehension of corrupt elements and retrieval of looted funds.
Stressing that legitimacy in a democratic government could only be conferred by the majority, Mrs. Waziri pointed out that leadership transparency and accountability must of truth begin from very credible electoral system and processes to ensure that the will of the people was respected and their popular choice of leaders are rightly enthroned.
â€œOnly then can such leaders be brought to book and be effectively held accountable should they be found wanting in the course of their stewardship to the people. Also, only then can they have a listening ear to the cries and aspirations of the people,â€ the EFCC Chairman said.
She called on the civil society organizations and the media to ensure that the peopleâ€™s votes counted through votersâ€™ mobilization and education campaign.
Chairman of the occasion and former Deputy Speaker in the defunct Bendel State House of Assembly, Senator F.S Okpozo, recalled with nostalgia theÂ legaciesÂ of Prof. Alli, especially in the field of education, health, infrastructural development , saying the former governorâ€™s legacies were unbeatable.
In his speech, National Publicity Secretary of Action Congress (AC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said corruption was the biggest hindrance to good governance in Nigeria, saying that corruption was not just stealing money, but including rigging election and stealing peopleâ€™s votes.
He challenged the EFCC and other anti-corrupt agencies not to close their eyes to political corruption.