President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for continental strategic partnership and a global alliance to successfully defeat corruption and corrupt practices in Africa.
The president made the call at the on-going National Democracy Day Anti-Corruption summit with the theme; Curbing Electoral Spending: A Panacea to Public Corruption, organized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja on Tuesday.
Buhari further stated that for the continent to consolidate true democracy and good governance it must check the uncontrolled electoral spending and voter inducement.
He, therefore, urged all law enforcement agencies and the Judiciary in Nigeria, and across Africa, to tackle financial corruption in the political systems.
He said: “This Summit, therefore, has the potential of spurring us to action starting with the discussions and exchange of ideas among participants.
“It is also my hope that the participation of Heads of African anti-corruption agencies in this Summit would enrich the discussion with valuable regional and continental perspectives.
“Let us remind ourselves of the Thabo Mbeki Panel on illicit financial flows published a few years ago.
“Through corruption Africa has lost over $1 trillion over the last 50 years, a figure surpassing all the combined development aid received by the continent during the same period.
“I want to remind us that political corruption is merely an extension of larger corruption in the wider society.
“Consequently, if we desire to curtail political corruption in public governance, then, corruption must also be fought in the wider society.’’
Buhari said that African leaders must henceforth see the anti-corruption fight not to end in itself but as an instrument not only to fight poverty but a means to restore the right order of things.
The president, who gave the assurance of his unwavering support and commitment to the fight against all forms of corruption in Nigeria and Africa, thanked the Acting Chairman and staff of the EFCC for organizing the summit.
In his remarks, the visiting President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said he was proud of the achievements of Nigeria and Nigerians abroad, adding that Nigeria had remained the leader of Africa.
He said: “I wish to call to mind the greatness of this nation Nigeria; the diversity, the creativity and ambition of Nigerians to represent Africa.
“The achievements of Nigerian sons and daughters here at home and in Diaspora, make our continent proud.
“Nigeria has always shown common course in Africa’s progress and prosperity and this does not go unnoticed. This country is truly the engine of Africa’s potential. This is how we see Nigeria. We stand in solidarity with your efforts built on all the assets with which this country has been blessed and we are investing in your success.”
Kagame suggested that the fight against corruption should be renamed as the struggle for transparency, public integrity and accountability.
According to him, taming corruption is a campaign that can be won because it is within the powers of human beings to end it.
He said: “This is a campaign that can be won. Tolerating corruption is a choice not inevitability. It is within our power to end it. That is the most important starting point.
“The primary responsibility to actualise with leaders at every level where corruption has become the norm, they will oblige. It is because leaders have made it acceptable.
“We tend to focus on the petty corruption of everyday’s life while turning a blind eye on the more consequential forms that people only whisper about because the rich and the powerful are the main beneficiaries.”