ASKiNGRADiO.com | News | Nigeria | October 28, 2017
Civil society members say inaction against corrupt politicians against Muhammadu Buhari’s election campaign
By Rafiu Ajakaye
The civil society in Nigeria on Friday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently review his cabinet and remove members who face corruption allegations.
At a town hall meeting held in capital Abuja, members said that the administration’s response to economic woes of the country was not satisfactory.
They urged the president to dedicate funds to sectors capable of lifting citizens out of poverty.
The #StateOfNigeria meeting was organized by the Center of Democracy and Development, a civil society group working across West Africa.
It aims to track the success of Buhari’s election campaign in 2015.
Buhari, when he was elected in May 2015 promised to defeat the Boko Haram group, revive the economy and take strong action against corruption.
During the meeting, the ongoing separatist agitations across the country, especially in the mainly ethnic Igbo southeast region, were blamed on the waning public confidence in the government.
No change despite promises
Igbo secessionist activist Nnamdi Kanu is standing trial for treason, in a move which separatist groups call Buhari’s failure to address the heterogenous nature of Nigerian society.
“The style of the president in terms of his appointments has not helped national cohesion. Besides, several of his ministers have corruption allegations around their neck and they remain in office. Reports of probe into corruption scandals are never made public. That is no change,” Priscilla Achakpa, executive director of Women Environmental Program, said at the meeting.
She added that the government had ignored climate change as an issue, including the drying up of Lake Chad and its effects on human migration for survival.
Udo Jude Ilo, country director of Open Society for West Africa, warned that the optimism that greeted the president’s coming was giving way to “anger and hopelessness”.
He added: “Understandably, after years of bad governance, unprecedented corruption and economic challenges, Nigerians hoped for a remarkable departure from the past practices of impunity and graft. Accepted that change doesn’t come easy, what has happened over the last two years has not given Nigerians enough reasons to hope.”
Several other members of the meeting said Buhari had not tackled the economic crises he had inherited.
“We are yet to have any coherent economic blueprint to salvage the country. We are yet to determine the economic model we want to have as a people. This has bred confusion. Graduate unemployment remains at all time high and this is a recipe for security crisis,” Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, a former vice chancellor of the University of Abuja, said in his keynote address.
Yaqub said while the government has pronounced Boko Haram defeated, dozens of people are still being killed.
Peter Ozo-Eson, a top labor leader, said the Buhari government has not done anything to give ownership of the economy back to the people “as what we still have is an economy deliberately concentrated in the hands of a few”.
“No economy functions without supporting infrastructure but what we have as roads are death traps,” he said.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, head of the Muslim Rights Concern, said the president has done well in the area of fighting corruption “as people who were once considered sacred cows are now being hounded and tried”.