A frontline pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has released its five-year assessment report detailing the achievements and gaps in the implementation of the anti-corruption programme of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The report, which is a culmination of data-driven analysis of the milestones and shortcomings of the President’s anti-corruption drive, provides a mixed bag of performance in some areas and underperformance in others.
The non-partisan and evidence-based monitoring of the processes and outcomes as they relate to how well the President’s anti-corruption agenda has fared in the last half-decade provides an objective interpretation of the facts.
In the first place, the five-year assessment situates anti-corruption as a signature issue around which President Buhari has built a personal political brand, making it the major plank on which he won the historic election of 2015.
This popular appeal, which played a big role in the defeat of the then incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, also accounted for the very high expectations of citizens that corruption would be quickly dealt with. The report notes the gaps between those high expectations and the Buhari administration’s underwhelming delivery in terms of dealing a death blow to corruption in Nigeria.
In the area of achievements, the assessment makes the point about how the Buhari administration has worked to elevate the fight against corruption by placing as its top national policy priority. It further notes the empowerment of anti-corruption agencies, and the Buhari administration’s effort to free them up to pursue far-reaching investigations into political and bureaucratic corruption.
In the context of empowerment of those agencies in the frontlines of the fight against corruption, the assessment reckons that “appointing capable practitioners to lead the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been key in reinvigorating them.”
Referencing data from multiple documentary and online sources, the report adds that there has been an uptick in corruption convictions and asset seizures by anti-graft institutions on the watch of President Buhari.
The assessment equally notes that the President pushed through a few key financial management reforms, which have been critical in preventing opportunities for corruption to thrive. One of such reforms is the mandatory use of the Treasury Single Account, which has ended the lax and opaque system wherein government monies sat in disparate accounts, which made proper oversight impossible.
The report also lists achievements like the TSA as signs of improved financial centralisation. The assessment points to the directives issued by the President mandating all government ministries, departments and agencies to use the TSA under the watchful eye of the Accountant General of the Federation, rather than maintain their own corruption-prone bank accounts.
“Over the decades, such off-the-radar accounts had proliferated uncontrollably, allowing corrupt officials to siphon public funds with ease. President Buhari has likewise pushed for tertiary educational institutions to join the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) that other government entities are already required to use,” the report reads.
Other areas where the administration got top rating include the creation of task-specific anti-corruption bodies; specifically mentioned are the two ad hoc temporary audit committees set up by the government to probe profligate and corrupt defence spending during the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan. Imp…