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Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Pledge Resonates in Far-Off Zambia

NEW YORK, Apr 29 2015 (IPS) - Nigeria’s president-elect is already making waves with his pledge to attack corruption, starting with the missing 20 billion dollars allegedly swiped from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during the previous administration.

Muhammadu Buhari pledged to pursue the claim of former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended last year by former president Goodluck Jonathan after he warned of massive mismanagement by the oil corporation. His claim was never investigated by the ex-president.

“This issue is not over yet,” declared Buhari, who will be sworn in on May 29. “Once we assume office we will order a fresh probe into the matter… We will not allow people to steal money meant for Nigerians to buy shares and stash (them) away in foreign lands.”

Buhari’s warning to those who pocketed national funds thrilled Africans as far away as Zambia and prompted an editorial in The Post newspaper.

“Nigerian President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari’s message on corruption brings some hope for that country and our continent,” wrote The Post’s editor in a piece viewed 1,294 times.

The editorial continued: “We wish this was the message we were getting from our own President, Edgar Lungu. But it is not. If there is anything Edgar hardly talks about, it is corruption.

“What we have in Zambia today is a corrupt government… This is a government where those in leadership are the ones getting government contracts. They are the suppliers of government. Leaders and cadres of the ruling party are the ones doing business with government.

“If one scrutinises all government contracts, it will not be difficult to discover that almost all of them have been given to people connected to the ruling party and its leadership…. When one criticises such practices, he is seen to be hurtful, frustrated.

“Look at how quickly those in the leadership of government, from president to the lowest cadre, become rich! What is the magic? Where is the money coming from? It is from corruption, from bribes, from selling government policy. There is no other source of that money other than corruption.”

Africans surveyed by the group Afrobarometer in 2013 expressed similar views and many believe the situation has deteriorated in the last decade.

In the survey of 34 countries, 56 percent of the 51,000 people surveyed thought their governments were doing “fairly badly” or “very badly” in the fight against corruption. Only 35 percent said their governments were doing “fairly well” or “very well”.

Among those most dissatisfied by official efforts to end corruption were Nigerians and Egyptians at the top, followed by Zimbabweans, Ugandans and Sudanese, Kenyans, Malians, Tunisians, Togolese, Tanzanians and South Africans.

Edited by Kitty Stapp

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