President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday told African leaders while launching the African anti-corruption year at the ongoing AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that winning the war against corruption in the continent would require a change of mindset.
The summit was attended by Heads of State and Government of the African Union.
The Nigerian supreme leader, who described corruption as one of the greatest evils facing the continent, renewed his commitment towards the fight against it in Nigeria, saying there’s no going back.
While stating that corruption is one of the “greatest evils of our time”, Buhari said Africa has made significant strides in tackling the menace by “putting in place legal and policy frameworks, notably the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC)”.
He told African leaders at the summit with the theme, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to African Transformation,” that his administration had gone far in its change agenda of which the fight against corruption was an important part.
“In Nigeria we have gone far into the implementation of our change agenda, which is primarily aimed at fighting corruption,” he said.
The President described strong institutions as necessary condition for winning the fight against corruption, stressing that for the corruption war to be won, African leaders must empower anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence.
He, however, added that public confidence has been eroded by a “focus on short-term priorities and payoffs, propelled by corruption, which too often leaves projects uncompleted and promises unfulfilled.
His words: “As leaders, we must build synergy between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government in order to entrench good governance, transparency and accountability.
“Strong institutions are a necessary condition in any society which aims to fight corruption. In building strong national and regional institutions, we must adequately empower our national anti-corruption agencies and insulate them from political influence.
“We have to encourage increased institutional collaboration between law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption agencies in order to win this fight.”
“The African Union must do more to stop the continuous assault on our economic and financial resources by multinationals in collusion with some of our citizens.
“Tackling corrupt acts and greed require a reorientation of our attitudes and perceptions.
“To win the fight against corruption, we must have a change of mindset.
“As we set off on this honorable path, let us also bear in mind that fighting corruption is not going to be a straightforward task and that corruption does fight back.
“While we may face some setbacks, we should remain resolute. Our common goal is to eradicate corruption in the best interest of our societies.”