At least two perspectives on fighting corruption have emerged this week from key Nigerian reformers that served together during the Obasanjo era.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, during a BBC interview with Will Ross, passionately emphasized the need for strong institutions and systems to tackle corruption. To the extent that she was dismissive of the role of whistle-blowers “It is not very sexy to build systems and institutions. It takes time and nobody wants to discuss it. All they want to do is talk about personalities and who blew the whistle…”
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu on the other hand, in his speech at the Nigeria’s Governor’s Forum, stressed the need for leadership by example and sanctioning corrupt officials. Premium Times quoted him as saying “The money coming to us is ending up in extremely few hands. Corruption must be made unattractive and difficult to commit. When there is transparency, there is less room for direct stealing…where there are sanctions, there will be no impunity. Impunity means failure to punish.” He urged the State Governors to lead by example.
You can understand why the emphasis is different between the two. One currently has a role in government and the other is in opposition. Yet for Nigeria to effectively tackle corruption it will need to build institutions and have leaders that lead by good example, with no room for impunity. Nigeria needs both good leaders and institutions.
Mrs. Onyinye Ough, a development expert, anti-corruption blogger, and publisher of the Step Up Nigeria blog, contributed this piece to her column from where it it was culled with permission from the author.