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A former Chairman of the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday said the amount
being budgeted for political office holders as security votes should be
stopped.

Ribadu stated this in Abuja while
delivering a lecture on “Minimising and discouraging Corruption in Public Life”
at the 2016 annual conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management.

He said the fight against
corruption must start from the leader, adding that with a deficient leadership,
it would be difficult to achieve the needed results in the fight against graft.

Ribadu said while Minimising
corruption in the public sector was a big challenge, it should be seen as a
national assignment in which all stakeholders must come together to ensure its
success.

He said to effectively fight the
war against corrupt practices; the issue of transparency must be taken
seriously in the conduct of all government businesses from budgeting to the
award of contracts and even employment.

Lack of transparency, according to
him, is the first thing that sows the seed of corruption.

He said, “Corruption is a major
impediment to our progress as it deprives us of our tomorrow even before the
day breaks. It is stealing from us, denying us what we are entitled to and
stealing from our children by leaving for them a hopeless future.

“Yet, the cancerous virus of
corruption is inherent in most of us. It is the temptation to make free money,
or use influence to gain undue favour or influence.

“Leadership is everything when it
comes to tackling corruption in public life. It is the leader, whether
political or administrative, that can set the tune for others to follow.

“A leader with soiled hands has no
moral basis to question his subordinates or followers. And when the leader is
involved in dirty deals it becomes a free for all.

“For leaders to set this example,
there should be practical steps that will change the ways of doing things for
the better. Ostentatious lifestyle by leaders evinces a feeling of extravagance
and corruption.

“There is no reason, for example,
why we should continue to see the long motorcades for both elected and
appointed leaders.

“Leaders who receive huge sums of
money in security votes and live in cosy government houses do not exude the
needed seriousness to match words with action when it comes to fight against
corruption.”

The former EFCC boss also advocated
the deployment of technology in the procurement process in fighting corruption.

This, he added, would allow transparency
and accountability in the conduct of government businesses.

He said cash transactions should be
completely abolished or minimised, adding that it would be easier to track
electronic transactions as opposed to cash.

In fighting corruption in the
electoral system, he said, “We should weed out corruption in our electoral
process.”

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