Between Good Governance and Corruption

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By Adegbenro Adebanjo

 

The Muhammed Buhari Administration enjoys massive support among the generality of Nigerians and in the International Community. The honeymoon seems to be unending. And with its dogged fight against corruption, some have become extreme believers and cheer leaders.

And those who fault any move or policies and actions of the government or dare to provide alternative viewpoints are seen as unpatriotic and are visited with harsh strictures.  Let it be stated clearly that this government   must be supported to cleanse the society and engender a new moral ethos that sanctions corruption and other societal ills.

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But we miss the point when we treat every suggestion against a government policy and even mild criticism against its actions like the bungling of the process of correcting errors in the budget as anti-government. Let it never be the case that we invest this regime with the Kabiyesi syndrome i.e. it can never make a mistake or be questioned.

The critics and fans are important in democratic settings. The fans make those in government feel comfortable and loved. The critics, who do not necessarily dislike those in power, help to call attention to foibles and mistakes and ensure that government stays on course. If we want this government to succeed, we must not build a cult of self-praise around its leaders and treat all critics as saboteurs who must be run out of town. Muhammed Buhari is the president of Nigeria and not a particular party or tribe. And all Nigerians should have a say for or against the government in a decent manner and within the ambit of the law.

Let us speak truth to power whether we are applauding the Buhari administration for its dogged fight against corruption or offering an alternative viewpoint or constructive criticism that will deepen good governance.

Some gaps are already glaring in the government process.  The fight against Lassa fever has not been as decisive as what we witnessed when Ebola was fought to a standstill. The managers of our health care need to do more and the government also needs to be more proactive. The scourge poses clear and present danger to human survival in the same way that corruption poses a danger to the economic survival of the country and its people.  Those in charge of our health care should give the Lassa fever scourge the treatment given to Ebola by the past regime.

Again the new economic managers have not demonstrated enough capacity to get us out of the current economic logjam. They should move against the free fall of the Naira and advise the President about a workable and viable economic direction. They are too tentative. The Naira in some quarters now exchange for as high as 290 to a dollar. This is not acceptable because it has virtually damaged the stock market while inflation has gone sky high.

As we are tackling corruption we should also not forget to reflate the economy and look for ways to tackle the spiraling unemployment number. Like those who should know have warned repeatedly, the unacceptable unemployment situation especially among the youth is a time bomb and should be systematically diffused before it detonates with cataclysmic consequences. The recent budget crisis is needless and shows some tactlessness. The Government should not be too big to admit its errors of omission and commission and make a correction in a decent and legal manner.

Let it be restated that corruption must be fought to a standstill. All those who have put their hand in the till must pay for their perfidy within the ambit of the law. However, while the fight against corruption and the entrenchment of a sane society of probity is going on we must not forget the small matters of killing the Lassa fever scourge through good policy and taking charge of the process of economic revival. 

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