Bishir Auda Sabuwar
It is a general consensus that there is no way a country can experience genuine development, if corruption is left to fester or is treated with kid’s glove. I am yet to see a corrupt-ridden country from Europe to North America, from Africa to Asia, down to Australia, that achieved infrastructural development. Every corrupt country has similar story of violence, poverty, war, decay, inequality and general underdevelopment.
This is so true that corruption impedes economic development, stability, promotes crime, disorder and infrastructural retardation. All literature on corruption subscribe to this narrative.
Even in Nigeria, we have come to this reality that unless corruption is ruthlessly defeated, development and prosperity will continue to elude us. I think this is the reason why we have many Anti corruption and regulatory agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent corrupt practices and other Related offences (ICPC), Code of Conduct Bureau, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit,Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Public Complaints Commission, etc.
However, in spite of the number of anti-corruption agencies, mostly at the national level, the monster remains obstinate, defying the war against it.
I do believe that one of the loopholes in the fight against corruption in the country is refusal by the states and LGAs to key into it. Despite the fact that many corruption cases are more pervasive in the states and local government areas, yet, only the Kano state has vibrant and active anti-corruption agency.
The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission was first established in 2008 by the Kano State House of Assembly. However, the commission remains inactive and dormant until 2015, when Comrade Muhuyi Magaji Rimin Gado was appointed as the executive chairman of the commission.
Therefore, one could say that the success recorded by the agency was as a result of a vibrant, dynamic and courageous leadership by Muhuyi.
Since his assumption, Muhuyi went after fraudsters and crooks , first he uncovered a massive fraud and racketeering in land allocation at two of the major markets in the state, the Kwari and Wambai market, the perpetrators were fully brought to book to serve as deterrent to others .Again, the commission exposed ghost workers in the payroll of LGAs, thus millions of Naira were saved and channeled to other areas.
A fraud at the Microfinance Banks in the State was also detected. These banks were established to accelerate local economy, yet some heartless crooks connived and plunged the banks into bankruptcy, but thank God they were brought to face the full wrath of the law,. There was another case that involved diversion of Students’ scholarship.
Here are innocent students, studying abroad, but some corrupt officials who responsible for management of their fund felt no qualm to dip their fingers for their personal use, while, leaving the students in limbo, high and dry until the rescue came from the Anti-corruption.
The thieving officials did not spare grant from the Global Partnership For Education. The fund was meant to improve Girl-Child education in the state, but some unscrupulous individuals converted it to their private pockets until Muhuyi came after them. These are some few examples of the impact of State Anti-Corruption Commission.
If the all emir of Kano could be asked by the commission on expenditure of the emirate council, then nobody is above the law, unless perhaps is enjoying immunity. Today ,Kano state has signed into Open Government Partnership (OGP), it has Servicome, the state house of Assembly conducts public hearing on Budget, the Kano state government publishes its statement of account, publishes budget etc. All these are some of the impacts brought by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption commission.
It is vital to note that all the achievements recorded by Kano State Public Commission and Anti-Corruption Commission was due to visionary and focused leadership. Therefore, this means establishing state anti-corruption commission will not yield any result unless, there is committed and passionate leadership. Therefore, in as much as advocacy for state anti-corruption agencies is now gaining currency, there is need to further campaign for manning such commissions with highly persons who have proven record of honesty and integrity.
Today, fearing State Anti-Corruption agency in Kano is the beginning of the wisdom. However, we must equally note that fighting corruption is not easy but this does not mean that the society should remain adamant and do nothing just because we are afraid of fighting the monster. It is time the rest of Nigerian states and Local Government areas borrow a leaf from Kano state and establish their anti-corruption commissions.
Comrade Sabuwar writes from Katsina