Corruption, the misuse of public power for private benefit is a major threat facing humanity – destabilizing societies and exacerbating violent conflicts. In 2010, Nigeria ranked 134th out of 178 countries, in 2011 - 143th out of 183, in 2012 - 139th out of 176 and 2013, 144th out of 177 countries.

In recent public statement signed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni stated that the index is a reality check that must be taken serious by the Government and confirms that the country’s fight against corruption must be by actions and not just words. The statement went further to call on the President to declare his assets as expression of his readiness and commitment to combat the continuous decay eating deep into economy.

He said that the present administration has more to do in taking concrete actions and impressive leadership steps at highest levels to demonstrate that the President is on the side of millions of victims and not corrupt officials who benefit at the expense of the citizenry’s wellbeing. Calling on the President and his cabinet to declare their assets in the spirit of the Yuletide season – a Christmas gift to Nigerians, this simple but big step will convey strong leadership, transparency, accountability and rule of law, and it will improve our plummeting CPI ranking he added.

“This is now a critical time for the Government to genuinely commit itself to the fight against corruption if it is ever going to stop this embarrassing record in global ranking. Nigerians have suffered enough under the crunching effects of high level official corruption and deserve good governance and development”

The Group ultimately identifies the President as the main man who can turn the tide by judiciously and concretely delivering on his promises of better access to basic amenities by all Nigerians. Initiatives against corruption which does not publicly scrutinize President’s own asset declaration and successfully prosecute corrupt officials will only continue to weaken the country’s ability to implement international anticorruption obligations and commitments, the Group says.
They added that honest fight against corruption is impossible if the President does not led by example, prioritize and demonstrate commitment to fight corruption by prosecuting and seriously punishing guilty person(s) in the fuel subsidy scam and fully recover stolen public wealth and resources.

The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is largely based on perceived level of corruption as determined by expert assessments and surveys. CPI has been criticized on methods used. However, it is worthy to note the fact that there is a very strong significant correlation between higher CPI and long term economic growth. Never before has the need to integrate anticorruption activities into all aspect of decision making be more urgent than present.

Recall that in 2012 media chat in June, the President said on live television “I don’t give a damn” when asked why he was yet to publicly declare his asset. Also, some ministers amidst heaps of allegations and established corruption cases are yet to be investigated or prosecuted. It is likely that despite positive reviews from different fronts, the monster called corruption will continue to sink its rotten teeth into Nigeria’s marrow and in the wake of present administration, Nigerians will find themselves in deeper pool of mud.

Report: Unen Ameji.

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