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ASO ROCK WATCH: On 500,000 secret bank accounts. Two other talking points



The Presidency, last week, revealed that it had uncovered over 500,000 secret bank accounts where some civil servants allegedly kept monies stolen from the Federal Government’s purse.

Two other interesting stories from the Villa are also served for your delight.

On 500,000 secret bank accounts

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, on January 25, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has discovered more than 500,000 bank accounts operated by Ministries, Agencies, and Departments. In these accounts, the money belonging to the government was kept. What is more, some of the signatories had left the service or were ‘unknown’, and so no one had access to the funds.”

This, certainly, is another huge indictment on the Nigerian civil service. Recall that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had, on January 13, heaped some of the blames for Nigeria’s underdevelopment on the civil service, noting that civil servants are apathetic to implementing Federal Government’s plans, and policies.

Though this adds to the much-talked about corruption in the civil service system, several critics have averred that the Presidency might be using the accusation to divert the attention of Nigerians from its own failings.

Indeed, the critical issue yet unaddressed is what has become of the much vaunted claim to radical civil service reforms promised by incumbent President Buhari. Rather than record progress, the administration continues to justify why it cannot right-size the civil service.

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Now that ECOWAS has asked Buhari to lead COVID-19 fight. 2 other talking points

Identifying suspects in the secret bank accounts scam, and holding them accountable is the least Nigerians expect.

Buhari’s open confession

On January 27, President Buhari openly confessed that the security situation in North-West region has overwhelmed him.

Speaking at the palace of the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, in Sokoto State, he said: “Every day, we are worried about what is happening in the North-West. When we came, if Nigerians are to be fair to us, they know the condition in the North-East and the South-South, but what is happening now in the North-West is what has honestly overwhelmed me.”

“We are going to do our best…We are going to hand over a secure country better than we inherited it.”

For sure, Buhari is honest on his submissions of rising insecurity in most parts of the country, especially the northeast and northwest.

But who takes the blame, if not the President himself who is commander of the armed forces. It might be trite to argue then that the President seems to have ran out of ideas, especially as he continues to personally oppose a new security architecture that puts more powers in the hands of the federating states.

Indicting Nigerians

On January 25, the Presidency asserted that Nigeria’s recent low ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) annual corruption perception index is an indictment on all Nigerians.

President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, during an interview on Channels TV programme Sunrise Daily monitored by Ripples Nigeria had said: “My attitude to reports like that remains the same. We don’t need such reports to validate whatever FG is doing and anti-corruption is one of the core pledges of this administration. Would you rather believe the reports about arrests by EFCC or a foreign organisation? Corruption is being tackled by this administration. Such reports are not an indictment of the administration, but of the average Nigerian like you and me.”

Adesina’s reaction continues to depict the unwillingness of the Presidency to take responsibility for its failings.

While it is true that corruption remains endemic in the country, the Federal Government must take responsibility and lead from the front in the fight against corruption.

Rather than quarrel with the report, therefore, the Presidency must brace up in its anti-corruption war by strengthening the institutions set up to act as a bulwark against corrupt practices.

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