A former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and a former assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to tackle corruption as his first order of business.
In a jointly written piece by Albright and Carson, which was published in US-based magazine, TIME, on Thursday, May 28, the authors noted that Buhari must tackle corruption “because it is a poison in any democracy.”
In the piece titled, ‘Why Change in Nigeria Matters to the World,’ Albright and Carson noted that, Buhari campaigned on a promise to address alleged multi-billion dollar corruption scandals, which stemmed largely from mismanagement of the country’s oil reserves.
“These kinds of scandals weaken Nigeria’s legitimacy both domestically and abroad. Its oil reserves are tremendous, but if mismanaged they threaten to undermine the country’s political authority.
“Corruption must be addressed at the institutional level by strengthening institutions such as the electoral commission, National Assembly, political parties and civil society organisations all of which have an important role to play in addressing corruption. Another priority will be improving the transparency of government bodies, such as the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. The international community should also support the recovery of stolen assets,” they wrote.
While noting that Buhari, an anti-corruption crusader, has a big job to do if he is to capitalise on the new momentum for change, Albright and Carson said the President would need to engage the support of the international community to move the country forward.
“Buhari’s challenge will be to deliver for his people – because years of experience have taught us that while successful elections are necessary, they are not by themselves sufficient for a country to achieve real long-term economic and social progress. Put another way: People like to vote, but they also like to eat.
“To put the country on a road to better governance, increased security, and greater prosperity, President Buhari will need to bring Nigeria’s vast resources together to tackle a series of deep-seated, interconnected challenges and he will need the support of the United States and its partners to do so,” they added.
They also noted that Nigeria’s position as a regional and an economic superpower meant the country’s progress was significant for the African continent and the world at large.
They noted, “The stakes could not be greater, both for Nigeria and the world. With a population of roughly 180 million people and an economy expected to reach $1tn by 2030, the country is already a regional political and economic powerhouse and it is increasingly a global one as well.
“By 2050, Nigeria’s population is expected to surpass that of the United States, and its total population is projected to reach 900 million by the end of this century. This means that what happens in Nigeria will have a profound impact on the future of sub-Saharan Africa and the world.”