Lagos—Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has said that “rooting out high level official corruption, ending impunity of perpetrators, and turning around Nigeria will take more than mere promises and preaching of decency: it requires strong leadership at the highest level of government.”
In a statement by its Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that, “President Goodluck Jonathan’s New Year statement promising that his administration would move faster in 2013 to meet the basic needs of the citizens is rather routine and rhetorical. What is required now is for this government to act more and promise less. The President must show strong leadership and lead by example if he is to earn the trust of Nigerians and convince them that he is truly committed to the fight against corruption.
“Half measures which avoid public scrutiny of the President’s own asset declaration, and effective prosecution of corruption cases when they involve those connected with this government are utterly inadequate and tend to throw the government into disrepute.
“The lack of accountable leadership–together with the deficit of transparency in the management of public finances and public spending–has continued to exacerbate the country’s growing poverty and underdevelopment.
“Ultimately, the responsibility for sorting out Nigeria rests with President Jonathan. The buck stops with him. Nigerians will judge him not by the number of promises he has made but by the number of roads repaired, decent hospitals established, and how much difference he is able to make to ensure the enjoyment of other basic necessities of life for millions of impoverished Nigerians.”
“Genuine fight against corruption can’t happen unless President Jonathan wants it, and leads by example. We are concerned that this government has continued to deny the endemic nature of corruption at the highest level of government. This attitude is aptly illustrated when in response to the courageous statement by Bishop of Bomadi Catholic Diocese, Vicarage Hyacinth Egbebor underscoring the systemic nature of corruption in the country President Jonathan recently claimed that ‘most of these things we talk about corruption are not even corruption.
It is true that most cases we talk about corruption as if corruption is the cause of most of our problems.”