Throughout the campaign period, Tinubu didn’t say much about how his government intends to address corruption in Nigeria.
As Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the fight against corruption will most likely take a new dimension, but the form it will take is what Nigerians will have to wait to find out.
In the latest Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Nigeria ranked 150 out of 180 countries.
The TI report published in January 2023 showed Nigeria is one of the countries that failed to stop corruption despite Buhari’s administration’s loud campaigns against it.
It would be recalled that in 2015, one of the agendas that endeared Buhari to Nigerians was his perceived aversion to corruption but it seems the military general lost steam in his fight against the menace.
Now that Buhari has left the seat of power leaving corruption behind, Nigerians are eager to see how the Tinubu administration would deal with the problem. Although, in his manifesto, the former governor of Lagos State did not mention fighting corruption as one of the priorities of his plans for Nigeria.
According to his campaign document tagged “Renewed Hope 2023 — Action Plan for a Better Nigeria, Tinubu promises to prioritise National Security, Economy, Agriculture, Power, Oil and Gas, Transportation and Education.
Also, during the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu traversed the whole country meeting stakeholders and telling them about his plans for Healthcare, Digital Economy, Women Empowerment, Judicial Reform, Federalism/Decentralisation of Power and Foreign Policy.
Interestingly, throughout the campaign period, Tinubu didn’t say much about how his government intends to address corruption in the country, but there are a few instances where he opened up on how to make it unattractive.
For instance, during a discussion with the Arewa Joint Committee in Kaduna in October 2022, Tinubu promised to tackle corruption by focusing more on preventive measures.
“It is a consensus among our citizens that the socio-economic challenges we are faced with as a country are deeply rooted in the menace of corruption,” he said.
“We should not, and we will not give up in the effort to rid our country of this menace. My administration will support the existing anti corruption institutions and address underlying issues that make corruption thrive.”
Unlike Buhari’s direct approach, which involves the use of anti-corruption institutions to go after suspects, Tinubu’s disposition to the fight against corruption is largely preventive.
From the statement above, his government would be more interested in addressing issues that propel government officials to commit corruption.
This is also evident in the speech he delivered at the inauguration of the Magistrate Courts Complex in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Friday, May 5, 2023.
Tinubu, whose political career is riddled with a plethora of corruption allegations said his administration would put incentives and policies in place to make corruption unattractive for judges.
“You don’t expect your judges to live in squalor, to operate in squalor and dispense justice in squalor. This is part of the changes that are necessary. We must fight corruption but we must definitely look at the other side of the coin.
“If you don’t want your judges to be corrupt, you got to pay attention to their welfare. You don’t want them to operate in hazardous conditions,” he said.
Tinubu reiterated this position while delivering his inaugural presidential speech on Monday, May 29, 2023.
“Our government will continue to take proactive steps such as championing a credit culture to discourage corruption while strengthening the effectiveness and efficiency of the various anti-corruption agencies”, he said.
In essence, Tinubu’s approach to the fight against corruption is like giving cats enough fish to discourage them from stealing it. How this approach will address or solve the endemic problem is a thing Nigerians will like to learn from him and his style of government.