Lagos – President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice as the African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion has brought corruption to the front burner as a major problem facing the continent, Dr Olawale Lawal, has said.
He said on Thursday in Lagos that corruption was a major stumbling block to Africa’s development.
Lawal, a Diplomacy and Foreign Policy lecturer at the Lagos State University, Ojo, said it was appropriate for the AU to take anti-corruption as its theme for the 54th summit.
“It is not unusual for international organisations to build their summits around certain themes.
“The choice of our own President Muhammadu Buhari to champion the continent’s anti-corruption drive is also auspicious, considering his anti-corruption credentials.
“This is an indication that African leaders now understand that corruption is a major stumbling block to development on the continent and are willing to address it, ” he said.
The lecturer advised African leaders to translate their resolutions into actions that would further earn them good reputation in the international community.
“Many of the past AU resolutions, especially as it concerns economic policies, were not implemented, but this should be different.
“African leaders should develop capacity and appropriate laws to tackle issues of corruption in their various countries, and corrupt people in leadership positions should be sanctioned.
“This will go a long way towards stemming the tide of retrogression, and it will build confidence in most of the countries of the western world,” he said.
Lawal said that Nigeria, as an important AU member country, should spearhead the right policies and programmes aimed at steady growth and sustainable development.
“Nigeria has the capacity to influence the direction of the AU due to its huge financial commitment to the organisation.
“With our president now at the forefront of anti-corruption on the continent, we should strive to improve our institutions so they can effectively tackle corruption at home.
“This will go a long way to justify the choice of President Buhari, and also to encourage other African leaders to show more commitment in developing their countries and tackling corruption,” he said. NAN