Anti-Corruption Crusade in Nigeria: An Assessment of the Disposition of the National Assembly (1999-2013)
AbstractCorruption has inadvertently been elevated to a state or national policy with all the symptoms of a hemorrhaging system. While any aggressive and purposeful anti-corruption crusade will always generate popular support and acclaim in Nigeria, it is sure to provoke anger, frustration and resistance among the political class with vested interest in the status quo. Periodically, the National Assembly, whose members largely belong to the latter group, is one of the institutions vested with the constitutional responsibility of preventing and exposing corruption, inefficiency and waste in the management of public funds within its legislative competence. This is specifically stipulated in section 88 (2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The study adopts the institutional approach to interrogate the efforts, capacity and political will of the National Assembly to function as the watchdog of public funds via legislations, inquiries or investigations, oversights, appropriations and resolutions. Our treatise includes a general survey and analysis of the Acts passed by the National Assembly establishing anti-corruption agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). We shall also do an exposition of some high-profile investigations conducted by the National Assembly over some federal government agencies pursuant to sections 88 and 89 of the constitution. Unfortunately, controversies and revelations arising from these exercises gravitated, in some cases, to narratives of sleaze in the National Assembly. It is also argued that the opaque and jumbo salaries and allowances associated with members of the National legislature significantly detract from any anti-corruption posturing of that institution. We conclude that mere sloganeering and platitudes on the powers of the National Assembly in combating corruption will yield little or no results until operators of the legislative arm of government at the national level understand and perform their critical role as the ‘soul and conscience of good governance’.
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