IT is one thing for the public to admit the war against corruption is lost (some say it never begun); it is another for a top anti-corruption chief to accept the efforts to date are futile.
Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, immediate past Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, led a one day “strategic dialogue” with 12 media executives that called for the establishment of a Ministry of Integrity and Anti-Corruption Affairs.
The proposing of the ministry to be headed by the President, was the high point of the dialogue, which indirectly accepted that the efforts to date are a waste.
Justice Ayoola, a respected retired Supreme Court judge, expects corruption will vanish if the President heads the ministry against corruption.
How will this ministry be different from others? Will its contracts not be inflated? Will it not have ghost workers? Will its workers be from heaven? Where will the President, assuming we will have an angel on that seat, find the time to fight corruption? Will the ministry also fight corruption in the Presidency?
The bureaucracy involved in investigating corruption cases is already considered too much. Why add another one to it, except if we are surrendering to corruption?
Justice Ayoola has been one of those opposed to merging the anti-corruption bodies. There are arguments that better results could be achieved from the merger. What is the difference between the ICPC, the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC?
On his way out of service, Justice Ayoola is passing a vote of no confidence on them. They are government agencies with access to the President. Why are they not working? What type of collaboration will the bodies have when they are all concerned with securing their turf and pressing their influence?
The answers to corruption will not be found in churches and mosques as the “strategic dialogue” recommended. Those places have their own issues with corruption as some cases in the public domain prove.
Nigeria, through obtuse policies fertilise corrupt practices. How does anyone expect a Nigerian to survive on N18,000 a month? How are the millions who are unemployed surviving in a country without a social welfare system? Where do government officials get the millions of Naira that they use to sustain their incredible lifestyles?
Where people are denied a legitimate existence, they will survive by other means, including corruption.
Our system that awards so much powers to individuals that they can corner resources for their benefit, fuels greed and corruption. It is more so when those individuals know they can steal enough to compromise the judiciary.
An anti-corruption ministry is another layer of corruption. That an ICPC “strategic dialogue” suggested one is enough reason to worry about how ICPC understands corruption and its capacity to fight it.