By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the board of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
The President in his remarks took his time to explain what constitutes corruption and corrupt practices especially to those who he said were pretending not to know.
He also charged the anti-graft body to beam its searchlight on those government agencies prone to corruption but have yet to comply with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by not remitting revenues.
He stressed that the menace of corruption must be dealt with for the country to move forward.
According to him, fight against corruption was pivotal to his administration’s three point agenda.
He said “It is a cardinal programme in the three point agenda that I promised to pursue and will continue to pursue as I seek the mandate of Nigerians for a second term.
“The fight against corruption is very crucial in our national development. This is why I have often said – if we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
“We are all witnesses to the damage that unbridled corruption has inflicted on our development aspirations. Apart from deliberate and wanton looting of our national wealth and common patrimony, corruption has eroded our values and ethical foundation as a nation.
“Corruption has negatively affected our political, economic and social life. Those opposed to our fight against corruption berate us for our focus, determination and single mindedness. They pretend that they do not know what corruption is. But Nigerians know what corruption is.
Ordinary people know what corruption is and they support our effort and determination to fight it.
“The abuse of public office for private gain represents corruption in its worst form. The circumvention of public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit is another form of corruption.
“The abuse of public office for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs is also corruption. The diversion of State revenue or miss-application of budgeted funds falls into the same category.
“I am particularly delighted that the ICPC law under which you will operate is robust enough to assist government to sanitize the public sector of in service delivery, public procurement, diversion of public revenue, deliberate misuse of public funds, and so on.
“As I have noted in recent times, despite our anti-corruption drive, some agencies of government still divert or refuse to fully account for revenue generated. Rather than obey constitutional provisions and extant rules and regulations, such agencies continue as if nothing has changed.
“We are determined to ensure that every agency of government account for public revenue generated or expended. I am looking forward to ICPC’s support both for enforcement of anti-corruption laws and submission of policy measures and directives to prevent revenue leakage and diversion.
“In this regard, I urge you to collaborate with other government agencies such as the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation towards mitigating wrong-doing in public expenditure. Furthermore, I look forward to receiving anti-corruption recommendations linked to e-Government standards and principles.”
The ICPC Board Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, in his acceptance speech said Buhari leadership’s unquestionable, unequivocal and unshakable resolve to deal with corruption was very well known.
While acknowledging Buhari’s political will to fight corruption, Owasanoye pledged that the Commission and it’s board will never disappoint.
Other members of the board are: Dr Grace Chinda, Okolo Titus, Obiora Igwedebia, Mrs Olubukola Balogun, Justice Adams Bello, Hannatu Muhammed, Abdullahi Saidu, and Yahaya Dauda.