The leader of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) Prof. Ango Abdullahi has said Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not winning the war on corruption.
Anti-corruption is one of the campaign manifestoes of the All Progressive Congress (APC) before 2015 general elections. It was a major programme the government pursued between May 29, 2015 to May 29, 2019.
The APC-led government had claimed severally that it has made major progress in its war against corruption in the last four years.
But Prof. Abdullahi, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said corruption seemed to be striving more among civil servants in the country due to poor salary scale and allowances.
In an interview published by The Sun, the NEF leader bemoaned the fat salary and allowances members of the National Assembly every month, which he described as an inequality.
He questioned the roots of corruption in Nigeria, “Are you paying workers well?”, submitting that the sources of corruption in Nigeria are largely from our public services.
The former VC said, “The corruption is largely within our public services and if indeed they are and I have no doubt that they are, we don’t appear to be winning the war on corruption, we don’t appear to be winning the war at all. Some people may even argue that there is more corruption now than there was some years ago.”
He said the government would be chasing shadows if it failed to tackle the sources of corruption in the country.
Comparing present-day Nigeria with the first republic, Prof. Abdullahi said there was “very little corruption and in the military regime that followed, I mean the Gowon’s regime there was very little corruption because it was a continuation of our first republic leadership.”
He berated the audacity of some state governments who declared they could not pay the minimum wage while most of the politicians live extravagantly at the expense of the electorates.
“The N18, 000 is not up to somebody’s tea allowance. The Senate President has just told us that his salary in a month, leave out allowances is N750, 000, he gets this money every 30 days as a member of the National Assembly; forget about his being the Senate President.”
He said the minimum wage of N18, 000 which has now been reviewed to N30, 000 is not up to daily entertainment allowance of some Nigerian politicians. “Are you not aware that many states have said they will not be able to pay the N30,000 minimum wage?”
He called on the government to focus on addressing the inequality and wide disparity in the allowances of civil servants and politicians.