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Mrs. Waziri’s Removal Is Insufficient

By on November 25, 2011

Mrs. Farida Waziri’s removal from Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is not sufficient. What we need is far-reaching reforms targeted at institutions of government to usher in a new dawn.

After being at the saddle for three-and-a half years, Mrs. Waziri was finally eased out. Some stakeholders in the polity consider her removal as a right move in fighting the menace of corruption.  It is still being debated that she was relieved of her job for reputation issues and professional lapses in handling cases of corruption.

Nigeria as a state suffers from weak legal structures and civil institutions which require a political will to correct. Mrs. Waziri’s removal is like a tiny drop of water in addressing our corruption challenge.  The biggest challenge is strengthening our institutions.

Corruption is a manifestation of institutional failure which in turn reflects political failure. Looking at the underlying factors promoting corruption like clientalism, political patronage or corporatism which all deepen the corruption root in the country, we have to contend with a social structure which is highly characterized by high degree of tribal, religious or geographical divisions.

All the above factors make the state to be particularly vulnerable to political clientalism, where the ruling political elite buy its support from the groups that will sustain its power.

But we can do better. Anti-corruption crusade started off with Obsanjo’s administration and continues to gain steps; it has remained on the top agenda of public policy in the nation. With both international and domestic pressure breathing hard on successive government, we have to move from the phase of setting up anti-corruption institutions to improving legal structures of these institutions fighting corruption.

While it is important that we address the vacancy of checks and balances, encourage a proper coordination of corruption-fighting institutions and tools using in fighting corruption in a coherent fashion, we need the political will. It is that will that draws on everyone’s effort to contribute to the fight. We also have to give boost to judicial autonomy and improve low efficiency in the legal system which has weakened our collective ability.

Finally, while the institutional arrangement for anti-corruption is very weak, we can begin by improving on supervision over government officials and public servants. Capacity building for these institutions is very important too. Public participation in Anti-corruption movement should be made very effective if we are to make progress.