Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has called on Nigerians to ensure that they get rid of vote-buying and remain circumspect as the 2019 elections approach.
“We need to enjoy the dividends of democracy through credible elections and I hereby urge all Nigerians not to succumb to any political pressure, but to say ‘no’ to vote-buying,” Magu said.
He gave the charge at the Anti-Corruption Walk/Marathon, which held on December 10, 2018 at the Eagle Square, Abuja, organized by the EFCC, as part of activities marking the 2018 United Nation’s Anti-Corruption Day celebration, themed, “Say No To Corruption”.
Speaking at the event, which also had as participants, youths from all over Africa who had converged on Abuja to hold the inaugural African Youth Congress Against Corruption the Africa, 2018 AYCAC Summit, Magu stressed the importance of youth participation in the fight against corruption.
Holding posters that had on them inscriptions like “Youth Earnestly Say No to Corruption” and “Do Not Shield Corrupt Persons, Expose Them”, Magu said that the war against corruption was not one that should be left to the EFCC alone, but one which was be waged collectively by all Nigerians.
The marathon event, which was the first of its kind being used to convey the anti-corruption message to Nigerians, was organized by the EFCC in partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Crimes, ICPC, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, AFN and Fair Play International.
Participants at the anti-corruption marathon received various prizes, including cash prize of N1million for Deborah Pam, a staff of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, who came first in the female category, winning in a record time of 1hr 17 min and 58 seconds. Cash prizes of N500,000 and N200,000 went to Elizabeth Nuhu and Olude Fadekemi, who came second and third respectively.
In the men’s category, Shehu Muazu came tops in a record time of 1hr 4 mins with Goyet Gideon following in second place and Emmanuel Gyang coming in third place.
Among dignitaries that joined in the marathon, were Hon. Kayode Oladele; Chioma Ajunwa, Nigeria’s first female Olympian gold medallist; sportsmen and women including Mary Onyali, Garba Lawal, Henry Amike, Samson Saisai, who represented the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development; Ayo Ojuroye, Chief Executive Officer, Bet9ja, and members of the Nigerian Youth Service Corps members.
The anti-corruption walk was staged across the various offices of the EFCC across the country. Magu who was represented by Usman Imam, Zonal Head of the South-East zone of the EFCC, said, “Your ‘No’ must not only be heard, but must be seen and felt through a conscious determination to resist attempts by individuals,organisations and systems to do that which negates integrity,transparency,honesty and equality.”
In the same vein, Abdulkarim Chukkol, Head, Uyo Zonal Office, urged participants to “take the fight against corruption seriously and use the media to create more awareness on the ills of corruption, while using the same tool to expose corrupt practices so they can be dealt with and corrected”.
At the Ibadan Zonal Office, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who on behalf of the acting EFCC Chairman welcomed participants including members of the Civil Society Organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations, Trade Unions, Collaborating Agencies, Youth Corp members and the Press, said, “Our ‘No’ must count more than ever before.”
“We are on the verge of another electioneering process when we need to interrogate the profile and antecedent of the people we elect to represent us in the various public offices,” he added.
Garba Dugum, Kano Zonal Head, led the walk as part of activities to commemorate the Anti-Corruption Day. His counterpart in Maiduguri, Adamu Dan-Musa, in commemoration of the Anti-Corruption Day called on all staff of the zonal office and stakeholders to be “committed to the fight against corruption”.
The anti-corruption walk at the Benin Zonal Office of the EFCC, which began at Ring Road, through Airport Road ending at the Commission’s zonal office, witnessed a colourful display of messages to drive home the anti-corruption message.
Speaking to journalists, Zonal Head, Mailafia Yakubu, urged the public to “take ownership of the fight against corruption in Nigeria as corruption was at the intersection of our development”
In his remark at the Lagos anti-corruption walk, Magu, who was represented by Muhammed Abba, Director of Operations, EFCC Lagos Zonal Office, observed that the country was “not immune to the devastating effects of corruption”, and so urged participants to “hearken to the call to hop on the fast moving train of the war against corruption, because no one must be left behind. It is a collective responsibility to take Nigeria out of the woods”.
Prior to the anti-corruption walk, the EFCC had on December 9, 2018 in Abuja, organized a novelty match at the Mediterranean Recreation Centre. The match was played between the EFCC FC and a team that was made up of Magu, legendary football stars including John Fashanu, Tijjani Babangida, Garba Lawal, and management staff of the Commission.
The game ended 3-0 with the acting Chairman scoring a goal for the management staff/legendary stars against Officers of EFCC, another game saw the EFCC FC defeating FC International 6-2.
MC Tagwaye also known as Mr President gave his unwavering support to the war against corruption saying “we are here to support what EFCC is doing, Nigerians are in support of EFCC adding that EFCC is regaining the glory of Nigeria”. The R&B group Styl-Plus thrilled spectators to their old classics such as Olufunmi, Four years, Imagine that, Call my name at the event
President Muhammadu Buhari had also charged African youths to own the fight against corruption at the opening ceremony of the two-day African Youth Congress against Corruption, at the State House Conference Hall, Abuja, December 9, 2018.
“The young people of Africa, this fight against corruption are yours to lead and to win. You must effectively ensure that our natural and mineral resources remain on the continent for job and welfare issue as well as affordable healthcare and quality education for our people,” he said.
Buhari who is also the African Union Anti-Corruption Champion, expressed optimism that African youths will rise to the great task of ridding the continent of corrupt practices.
Declared the “Year of Combating Corruption – a Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”, the 2018 Congress, which had in attendance young anti-corruption crusaders and participants from the five African regions, provided the youths the opportunity to deliberate on how to advance the corruption fight in their various countries.
President Buhari stressed that: “African youths must remain the front and centre of restoring traditional African values of probity, integrity, diligence and hard work.”
In his opening remarks, Magu, who spoke on behalf of anti-corruption agencies, said that the demonstration of the political will to fight corruption by the President, should serve as an impetus for all and sundry to join the collective action.
Magu said: “His action has ensured the independence of the anti-corruption agencies to operate without intervention or restrictions. For these and more, we are grateful to Mr. President.
“It has therefore, become imperative for all of us to come together and fight corruption to rescue our nation and the continent so we may secure the future of our teeming youth.”
While assuring the African youths that the EFCC will not betray the anti-corruption mandate given to it by the people, Magu said, “We will remain firm and resolute as we confront corruption boldly and courageously until all corrupt elements and their destructive practices are defeated. We must uphold Accountability above everything else in every aspect of our lives and particularly, when we are called to serve”.