6 March 2013

Nigeria: Corruption Beyond Capacity of Jonathan's Govt - Buhari

London — Former Head of State General Muhammad Buhari has said the fight against corruption is beyond the capacity of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.

In a keynote lecture on 'Stable Democracy and Nigeria's Economy' delivered at the Houses of Parliament in London last night, Buhari said the present government lacked the political will to fight the rampant corruption bedevilling the country.

He also said the Independent National Electoral Commission would not deliver on free and fair elections, and that INEC has a "cosy relationship with the executive and the judiciary."

Buhari said ahead of the 2011 elections, INEC requested and got N80 billion for elections and biometric data, but failed to avail the litigating parties access to the data on grounds on national security. He therefore said only the opposition, if they are strong enough, could stop rigging in the country.

He said though there was the need to restructure the country, "the problem with Nigeria is not the structure but the process", and described the clamour for more states as "dysfunctional" and out of place.

To get out of poverty and socio-economic quagmire in the country, he said, the government should focus on agriculture and provide the sector with all the necessary assistance to return the country to agricultural boom and halt the rural-urban migration.

Earlier, the chair of British African Development Programme, Lorraine Phelan, described Nigerians as a hard working people who are blessed with wealth but living in poverty. She said it was time for Nigerians to start "asking questions about and taking part in good governance. Nigeria must succeed."

In her remarks, the hostess of the lecture, Diane Abbot, said Nigeria was key to Africa's future, stressing that Nigeria's failure would not just be a failure of Africa, but that of the black race as a whole.

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