In recognition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership role in curbing corruption in Nigeria, the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU), had at their July 4, 2017 Ordinary Session unanimously endorsed him to champion the fight against graft in the continent.
Over the years, corruption has been a militating factor in the development of the continent. Very often accusing fingers are pointed in the direction of African leaders for using their privileged positions to short-change their citizens by acquiring stupendous wealth for themselves and their relatives.
It was therefore like a soothing balm when Buhari was officially recognised as the first African leader to consciously wage a decisive war against corruption, realizing that the eradication of that evil practice will pave the way for the rapid industrial and human capital development of Nigeria and the continent as a whole. This stance resonated well with the African Union leadership; hence they assigned the very important role of the first Anti-Corruption Champion to Buhari for the year 2018.
Buhari used the opportunity of the meeting to canvass the support of the African Union in combating the menace of terrorism on the African continent. While he regretted the transnational nature which terrorism has assumed especially in West Africa and the whole continent, as well as putting Africa at the receiving end of their nefarious activities, he offered a panacea to curb the spread of terrorism.
For example, he attributed the increase in terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries to the drying up of Lake Chad, which is covered by desert encroachment resulting in avoidable clashes between farmers and herders who compete for the available grazing land.
One of the solutions Buhari offered towards addressing the problem is the assistance of the international community on plans by the countries around the Lake Chad to revive the drying lake. If this measure is successfully implemented it will promote farming activities, as well as boost employment opportunities in the Lake Chad countries.
Buhari’s presentations provided a leeway for solving two major problems confronting Africa, and which posed a setback to the growth and development of the continent and its peoples. The result is that Africa has been associated with negative news and tales by the civilised world, and the derision associated with such underdevelopment.
There is no doubt that he has awakened the consciousness of the African leaders to the need to refocus their attention to the pressing needs of the African peoples which are mainly development-related, and this cannot be achieved in an atmosphere pervaded by official graft. Prudence is the hallmark of public office and persons aspiring to lead others must adhere to those basic tenets bearing in mind that such offices are held in trust for the people.
President Buhari’s new role is not only a reawakening for Africans but it will position Nigeria well in the eyes of foreign direct investors as a country ready and suitable for doing business. Already, the Buhari administration has put several measures in place to facilitate foreign investments inflow to Nigeria such as the Ease of Doing Business policy and other progressive measures.
On the home front, Buhari’s determination to confront the twin evils of corruption and terrorism has brought respite to Nigerians as Boko Haram, which used to hold sway in some communities has been degraded and has retreated to their Sambisa forest. Before the emergence of Buhari, the incidents of bombing in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, was commonplace with the attendant loss of lives and properties.
It is indeed heartening to note that the president has given a good account of his administration by fulfilling his promise to successfully address the three cornerstones of his campaign which include, reviving the economy, providing security and eradicating corruption.
So far, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the “change agenda” of his administration and it is even more gratifying that these achievements are being recognized abroad, especially by brother African countries.
Based on the foregoing, one hopes that Nigerians will continue to support Buhari in the arduous task developing the country for the benefit of all Nigerians. There is no doubt that the key projects his administration has embarked on, will in the fullness of time, be in the interest of the country. I have in mind strategic projects like the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road, Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Lagos-Kano rail line and many other on-going projects.