Let's resist corrupt leaders at the polls, Waziri charges Civil Society Groups
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs Farida Waziri has charged civil society groups across the nation, to be ready to mobilize the Nigerian public towards credible elections, come 2011. She threw this challenge on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at the first Anti-Corruption Revolution Campaign, ANCOR, Convention in Abuja .
According to her, the forth-coming elections could be new opportunities needed by Nigeria to consolidate its fledgling democracy and usher in an era of economic prosperity.
She expressed concerns about the terrible implications of voting corrupt Nigerians into office, saying that such an error may reverse the huge gains being made in the anti-graft war of the EFCC. “We may trigger costly reversals by crowning another wasteful administration that may reverse all the modest and significant gains of the past years, with the terrible implication of severe consequences, if corruption is not tackled headlong”, she feared.
She was categorical that “corruption and economic crimes are the glaring reasons why 50years after independence, Nigeria is still grappling with underdevelopment in virtually all sectors” Waziri insisted that only public participation and the principle of inclusivity will provide the much needed road map to citizens' ownership of the war against graft and consolidation of the nation's fledgling democracy.
The Head of the European Union delegation to the convention, Ambassador David Macrae supported the whistle blowers bill before the National Assembly and explained that adequate legal and institutional support must be in place to ensure that campaigners against corruption are protected from intimidation and victimization. The EU also tasked all stakeholders to ensure that the campaign will get to the rural areas.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC's Country Representstive, Mrs Dagmar Thomas agreed that the last decade has seen unprecedented action against corruption in Nigeria . She called for decisive actions against those who are guilty of economic and financial crimes. She also said that available analysis suggests that there has been some tangible progress as the risks of bribery and corruption have apparently been reduced. She said the forum which has participation from across all states of the Federation is the civil society's opportunity to express itself towards a shared vision and partner with government in the fight against corruption.
In an opening remark, the President of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Murtala Sani commended the EFCC for its concerted efforts at fighting corruption and public awareness on its activities through “ANCOR” and asked the EFCC to send some of its cases to the Tribunal for speedy dispensation. Sani explained that the law establishing the Tribunal provides for seizure and forfeiture of assets of corrupt public officers and excluding the prerogative of mercy by Chief Executive of states and the President.
The outgoing Chair of the National Steering Committee of ANCOR, Moshood Erubami commended efforts of the EFCC and charged the incoming executives to take the revolution to every nook and cranny in the country. The Anti-Corruption Revolution “ANCOR” was launched in 2008 by the EFCC as an avenue for citizens and civil society to buy into the fight against corruption .The first National Convention is holding between 14th and 15th of July 2010 in Abuja with participants from across the federation.