The much acclaimed anti-corruption fight by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has been described as “mere window dressing” aimed at hoodwinking the people and the international community that he is performing in office.
Making this submission on Tuesday at the 2018 Bar Week, currently going on in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, with the theme; ‘The Ideology of Restructuring in Nigeria: Legal, Political and Socio-Economic Imperative’, human rights activists and senior lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), surmised that Nigeria would be in trouble if it was not restructured, adding that “Nigeria will restructure us”.
In his paper entitled; ‘The Bar, Bench, Investigating Agencies and Anti-Corruption Campaign in Nigeria’, Ozekhome who critically examined the anti-corruption war under Buhari, concluded that the campaign was a ruse.
He, however, attributed the genesis of corruption to military incursion into the Nigeria’s political space, lamenting that the malaise has become hydra-headed and well entrenched to the extent that successive governments lack the courage to fight to a standstill.
“Corruption is not limited to the payment and receipt of bribes; it takes various forms and is practiced under all forms of government including established democracies”, he noted, adding that the vice permeate every strata of Nigeria’s public and private life.
According to Ozekhome, the Federal Government has continued to paint a picture of anti-corruption war being waged in the country, but pointed out that such action would only amount to nothing when the same system wallow in corruption and other vices.
He chided the Federal Government for what he described as fragrant abuse of human rights and frequent disregard to the rule of law, saying such act of impunity runs counter to the anti-corruption mantra of the President Buhari-led administration.
The Senior Advocate recalled that the wholesale introduction of corruption into the body politics of Nigeria by military governments forced former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to establish the two anti-corruption agencies (ICPC and EFCC), but regretted that such fight may never be won, after all.
“One thing that gained prominence during these many years of military rule in Nigeria was widespread corruption, assassinations, killings, money laundering and human rights abuses and gross unaccountability and impunity which became a culture well entrenched in Nigeria.
“Wanton corruption is unfolding in different shapes daily, but this has been given a new name in the shape of ‘corruption fighting back’, a term the government of the day prefer to adopt to explain away the violent disregard to the principle of separation of power and fragrant violations of fundamental human rights and rule of law…”, he said.
He noted that the widespread trampling on the rule of law has made nonsense of the anti-corruption war, pointing out that “democracy must float with the rule of law”.