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Anti-corruption war: Obasanjo let us down, says Transparency International

Posted by By ERIC OSAGIE, who was in Berlin, Germany on 2006/09/28 | Views: 643 |

Anti-corruption war: Obasanjo let us down, says Transparency International


When President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office as Nigeriaís chief executive on May 29, 1999, there was jubilation and clinking of glasses at the high rise building, headquarters of the global anti-corruption agency, Transparency International, in Berlin, Germany.

When President Olusegun Obasanjo assumed office as Nigeriaís chief executive on May 29, 1999, there was jubilation and clinking of glasses at the high rise building, headquarters of the global anti-corruption agency, Transparency International, in Berlin, Germany.

Reason: one of the organizationís moving forces, indeed, a co-founder of the group, was in the saddle and the body hoped that the Obasanjo presidency would be one opportunity to instill the virtues and principles of TI in the governance of Africaís most populous country.

They were wrong. Obasanjo let them down.
Now, no one is clinking glasses or engaged in wide grins or broad smiles for the Obasanjo administration at the TI headquarters. Instead, itís a sad tale of disappointment.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun in Berlin, a top official of the group, Dr. Miklos Marschall, said rising corruption index in Nigeria has continued to worry TI.

His words: "In spite of the fact that Obasanjo is co-founder of TI, it is demoralizing for us at Transparency International that his being at the head of government has not solved corruption problems in Nigeria."
Obasanjo, says Dr. Marschall, who is Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, may have had a personal desire to rid the country of corruption, but apparently lacks the political will to tackle the hydra-headed monster.

"He (Obasanjo) personally comes across to us as someone who wants to make a change," he says. "I shook hands with him once. Heís a great friend of our chairman. Heís been to TI office several times. Politically, he appears not strong enough (to tackle corruption). You have a complex political system. It seems Obasanjo is not able to fight the corrupt elite. He probably wants to fight, but he seems to have huge limitations."

As one of the worldís largest oil-producing nations, Daily Sun, had in the course of the chat, intimated Marschall that Nigeria has never had a petroleum minister since 1999 (a minister of state for petroleum was only recently appointed), and also, Nigerians do not know how much the country makes from oil and how the funds are dispensed.
His pair of glasses perched atop his nostrils, the TI top shot expressed surprise that this could happen in Nigeria.

" The Nigerian people have the right to know how much the country earns from oil and how the money is spent," he says. "The minimum condition prescribed by Transparency International for oil-producing countries is that they should publish oil earnings and spending. Itís the minimum standard we expect of every oil-producing country."

The TI Director said with the advent of democracy in Nigeria, the global anti-corruption agency had hoped that Nigeria would be a model for other smaller African countries as the place to look up to as an example of a corrupt-free society. "But sadly, that has not happened. Maybe, South Africa could be that country."
Even though corruption thrives in Nigeria, Dr. Marschall had kind words for Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. "We like what he is doing in the war against
corruption. We didnít like it that Ngozi Iweala resigned. She seemed to be doing a good job."

Editorís note:
Eric Osagieís meeting with Dr. Marschall was essentially to find out how countries of Europe and Central Asia have been able to tackle corruption using global reform standards, while Africa, including Nigeria, records worsening corruption cases. Read Marschallí s expert views on these, as well as other stories from Berlin and Hamburg in subsequent editions of THE SUN, Nigeriaís King of the Tabloids.


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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown