President Muhammadu Buhari may have on Saturday lamented the setback Nigeria suffered in the fight against corruption since mountain of corruption allegations rise against the former acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, as Africa marks Anti-Corruption Day in the continent. President Buhari may have been particularly, pained over the MaguGate as the incident occurred at a time, he is appointed the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion by leaders of the African Union (AU).
President Buhari in a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Chairman of African Union, decried: “The concern of the African Union is that the massive corruption being perpetuated across our national governments, has created a huge governance deficit that has in turn created negative consequences that have worsened the socio-economic and political situation in Africa.
President Buhari hypothetically felt deeply disappointed by the embattled former EFCC boss when he added: “I believe that the efforts and focus of the Nigerian Government at home, partly informed this decision as well as the need for Africa, as a continent, to recommit herself to the fight against corruption and the imperative to free resources for meaningful development.” The irony of the Nigerian President’s posture was that the main officer he appointed to lead the fighter against corruption is swimming in the ocean of corruption allegations at the time President Buhari was writing to the South African President. Again, rather than fighting corruption earnestly, Nigeria appeared to have been fighting corruption with corruption, and regrettably when President Buhari is the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion. Unfortunately, the scenario was technically diversionary with the All Progressives Congress (APC) propaganda that corruption was fighting back, whereas corruption lacks the capacity to back when in the chain of justice. The Magu episode shows that corruption was fighting corruption, so, those accused knew that their accuser is also corrupt, leading to counter corruption accusations.
However, President Buhari seemingly appealed for resilience, urging African leaders to ensure the immediate actualization of the Common African Position on Assets Recovery (CAPAR), as the continent celebrated Anti-Corruption Day on Saturday.
President Buhari also emphasised the need for a re-commitment to the anti-corruption war by African leaders to engender an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international system.
The President lamented: “the massive corruption being perpetrated across our national governments has created a huge governance deficit that has in turn created negative consequences that have worsened the socioeconomic and political situation in Africa.”
Meanwhile, Magu is still undergoing investigation by the Presidential Panel on Abuja. all corruption accusations are still in the realm of allegations.
President Buhari’s letter to President Ramaphosa reads in part:
“As Your Excellency is aware, the continental fight against corruption has been premised on an irreducible minimum that can pave the way for Africa’s transformation. In this effort, the emphasis has been on the continent’s collective determination to forge resilient partnerships among our national governments, civil society organizations and other interest groups, such as women, youth and the physically challenged, to ensure improved socio-economic, political and security development and ultimately, the improvement of our continent.
“The concern of the African Union is that the massive corruption being perpetuated across our national governments, has created a huge governance deficit that has in turn created negative consequences that have worsened the socio-economic and political situation in Africa.
“Your Excellency may recall that these continental concerns led our colleagues at the African Union, to appoint my humble self as the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion. I believe that the efforts and focus of the Nigerian Government at home, partly informed this decision as well as the need for Africa, as a continent, to recommit herself to the fight against corruption and the imperative to free resources for meaningful development.
“I am, therefore, in full support of the call for the issuance of a continental message to commemorate this day, on July 11, 2020, to re-commit the African Union to the continental fight against corruption, including through a robust approach to assets recovery, hence the need for a strategic framework on a Common African Position on Assets Recovery (CAPAR).
“Happily, in February 2020, at the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union in Addis Ababa, CAPAR was adopted. In my view, the African Union must go beyond the mere annual celebration of the Africa Anti-Corruption Day by moving swiftly to operationalize the African Common Position on Assets Recovery by all member states. This is an excellent way to drive Africa’s Agenda 2063, for an ‘integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.’
“As current Chair of our Union, I sincerely commend to you, this suggestion that seeks to call our leaders in Africa to recommit ourselves to this very important task of reclaiming our continent from the vice of systemic corruption.
“Please accept, Your Excellency and Dear Brother, the assurances of my highest consideration.”