Okwe Obi, Abuja
From 1999 t0 2018, over N63 trillion budgeted to better Nigeria has yielded no fruit, a problem that has been attributed to pervasive corruption, said the MacArthur Foundation.
Fighting corruption, the Foundation says, is made more difficult in the country as corrupt politicians and civil servants mobilise resources against the anti-graft agency charged with exposing their shady practices.
MacArthur’s Country Director, Dr Kole Shettima, represented by Dr Olaide Oladayo, disclosed this in Abuja at a book launch titled ‘Nigeria: Corruption and Democracy in Governance’ by Jide Ojo.
According to him, even those who once championed the course of a corrupt-free society enmesh themselves in the practice when elected or appointed into positions of authority. He, however, said that despite this many Nigerians are inclined to stem the tide of graft.
“A lot of NGOs are responding to governments failures, and corruption is one of them. Between 1999 and 2018, Nigeria has budgeted more than 60 trillion Naira, the managers are politicians and not development partners,” Oladayo said.
“And we have asked what has happened to the 60 trillion budgeted for the Nigerian public and this is just the federal level, the challenge that is facing the country is not one the federal government alone can solve, the challenges facing us as a people or nation requires every one of us to work together in partnership. We can no longer afford to brand ourselves unpalatable names in order to hang the others.”
Meanwhile, author Ojo said he was compelled to write the book because of the condition of underdevelopment Nigerians live under, a situation that has limited the country’s growth in spite of its enormous human capital and natural resources.
“Corruption is one of the major challenges we have as a country. The rationale behind our inability to match the rest of the world can be found in a lack of accountability and corruption challenge,” he said.
“The panacea to our underdevelopment can be found in our ability to tackle our corruption challenge. No matter the blame game we do it’s not going to solve the problem. Even if our budget increased tenfold and we don’t solve the problem of corruption, it will be like pouring water in a basket.
“If we don’t fix the problem of corruption, it will be like mopping a leaking roof. The challenge is for all of us to find a very ingenious and creative way of solving this challenge.”