Barely two months into his tenure, President Muhammadu Buhari has carved a niche for himself as a leader with zero tolerance for corruption and extravagance. Few are surprised, though, given that the retired General had made such crusade the cardinal points of his short – lived tenure as Head of Head of State in the 1980s, as evident in the jailing of corrupt politicians and the iconic War Against Indiscipline.
For a man who had persistently proclaimed during his electioneering campaigns that his presidency would call to account all those who had plundered the nation’s resources with impunity in recent years, the ongoing cleansing of the Augean Stable is quite a welcome development. Small wonder, he has been receiving critical acclaim at home and abroad not only for his forthrightness, transparency and courage, but also for his political will to do the needful irrespective of whose ox may be gored.
Even as this laudable campaign rolls on, we at Desert Herald sincerely believe that it is incumbent on the Buhari administration to, as a matter of urgency, put in place proactive measures that would block the numerous leakages in the system. The reason is obvious: just corrupt indulgence of civil servants and political office holders alike, the nation is also at the mercy of prodigal officials who pilfer our common wealth through sundry avenues of wastefulness.
Across the world Nigeria has earned universal notoriety as a nation whose recurrent expenses far outweighs capital expenditure at a ratio of about 75-25%. In other words, an alarming percentage of the nation’s annual’s budget is devoted to the salaries and other entitlements of workers and political appointee, thereby leaving little or nothing for public infrastructure. Worse of all, a significant percentage of the non-capital budget is usually squandered on the worker’s and politician’s insatiable quest for personal enjoyment and aggrandizement.
It would be recalled, for instance, that barely had President Buhari mounted the saddle nine weeks ago than he was requested to approve the purchase of cars totaling N400millin.Buhari, to his eternal credit, threw the pig headed request into the trash can. The reality however is that the head most Miniseries, departments and Agencies (MDAs) hardly ever hesitate to approve such outlandish requests even when other top priority projects are begging for attention for example, it has become fashionable in virtually all government out fits to expend hundreds of millions on the accommodation and vehicle for chairman and members of their Boards. As a rule, this set of ‘’workers’” whose jobs are purely part time, are not entitled to such perks.
But such is the level of bastardisation which the system has been subjected over the decades that Board members of many an ageing wallow in opulence at the expense of the real workers.
To sum up, Buhar’s attention shouldn’t be focused only on hiring good hands to fill the positions being vacated by corrupt officials; sufficient attention should also be paid to the leakages and wastages in the system, including inflated contracts. otherwise, any money budgeted for MDAs would end up the same way water ends in a basket let the ant-wastage crusade go hand –in hand with the ant-graft war!