Kufuor, Ekwueme task Nigerians on Anti-Graft war
Immediate past president of Ghana, John Kufuor and former vice president, Dr Alex Ekwueme have challenged Nigerians on the need to see the war against graft in Nigeria as theirs if the future of the country is to be secured.
The two elderstatesmen gave the charge yesterday in Owerri, the Imo state capital while speaking at the South East/ South South launch of Anti-Corruption Revolution (ANCOR) campaign organized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC along with other stakeholders.
While delivering the keynote address at the occasion, President Kufuor commended the EFCC “for its foresight and vision” in insisting that nothing short of the public ownership of the war against corruption would succeed in tackling the menace of corrupt practices. The solution to corruption, he said, “must rest with the entire population, not leadership alone”, adding that “Citizens must demand accountability from public office holders.”
According to him, “in doing this we must recognize that fighting corruption is not an event but a process and the starting point must be the national constitution. The constitution must be the supreme law and the reference point of the social order. As such, it must guarantee the rule of law and due process to protect human right and the equality of citizens before the law.
“Whils the enforcement of the anti –corruption regime must be done by independent state institution which are set up for the purpose, the role of the individual in triggering and sustaining the process cannot be underestimated.
“In this regard, every citizen must be a watchdog in exposing corrupt practices. This will be possible when the state follows up in earnest and takes the necessary measures to see the process through while protecting the individual.”
Chairman of the occasion, former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme lauded the EFCC for its concept of ANCOR. He said that the revolution was relevant at this point in the life of the nation because “most Nigerians agree that corruption has deprived Nigeria of resources that could have been used for national development.” He explained that greed and lack of contentment are responsible for corrupt practices and that a revolution of the form and mould of ANCOR would go a long way in sensitizing Nigerians to the evils of corruption.
ANCOR is the EFCC'S wake-up call to all Nigerians to buy in and own the anti-corruption war. Conceived as a public-resistance and mass response initiative against the menace of corruption, it has become an accepted national campaign.
In the same way, Ikedi Ohakim, Imo State Governor and Chief Host, commended the EFCC for its new approach at fighting corruption. “Waziri is doing a good job. Her approach has restored public confidence in the Commission. EFCC is no longer an instrument of vendetta”, he said. He particularly applauded the Commission for carrying Nigerians along in the anti-corruption war. “Anti-corruption war must be a mass movement. Every Nigerian must be involved in fighting corruption”, he said.
He also stressed the need for a change of attitude by all Nigerians to combat the menace of corruption. He regretted that corruption has wasted two generations of Nigerians already. “Corruption has consumed two generations of Nigerians. There is no where we are going if we don't combat corruption”, he said.
In her remarks, EFCC chairman, Mrs Farida Waziri explained at the occasion that it was not enough for Nigeria to attain democracy if corrupt practices are still un-checked. “Democracy is not enough. Citizens should hold their leaders accountable”, she stressed. She also explained the need for all Nigerians to partner with the EFCC to collectively confront and combat the menace of corruption. She went down memory lane to explain what the EFCC had achieved with ANCOR and urged Nigerians not to leave the anti-corruption war to the Commission alone.
The South East/ South South ANCOR launch was well-attended. Nigerians from all walks of life converged at the Disney Hotel venue of the event to lend support to the campaign. An excited Ohakim appreciated the response of the people to the launch saying that it demonstrated the resolve of Nigerians to see the EFCC succeed in its mission. Three deputy governors representing Imo, Ebonyi and Delta states attended the event. Also in attendance were top traditional rulers, Prof Joseph Edozien, Asagba of Asaba and Obong of Calabar, Esit Okon , representatives of the Nigerian Labour Congress, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Civil society groups, market women among others. ANCOR was officially launched by President Umaru Yar'Adua on December 10,2008 in Abuja and had since been launched in the South-West on February 17, 2009 in Lagos.| Article source