The pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu, has said Nigerian governors are often subject of corruption probes because they control a large chunk of resources and exercise power in their states.
“You are in charge of our government. You control our resources, including that of the local governments,” Mr Ribadu said.
Mr Ribadu spoke Tuesday at a retreat for newly elected governors organised by the Nigerian Governors Forum in Abuja.
He reminded the governors that there was no way, as governors, they could escape probe adding that probes could come even from persons they anoint, as experienced in the past.
Mr Ribadu noted that because of the problem of drugs, terrorism, corrupt governments and leaders, the world came up with measures to address them “by following the money.”
He said Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies and mechanisms come as a response to global protocols and demand.
The former EFCC chairman said governors are under the searchlight because of global attention on corruption by politically exposed persons.
“When you go out, they are looking at you. Whatever you do they are observing it,” he said.
He said because of Nigeria’s unitary policing model, the enforcement of the anti-graft laws are vested in the federal government.
“The president has powers of oversight on public money and law enforcement which is exercised through the police, ICPC and EFCC.”
Mr Ribadu said the federal agencies go in because of failure of state assemblies to execute their constitutional mandate of checking their state governments.
The way out for the governors, according to Mr Ribadu, is to embark on self-preservation on how to leave their office with their integrity intact.
He said, to eschew corruption, the governors should adhere strictly to their oath of office and govern with fairness and justice.
“The day you leave, there will be checks. The person you install may be the one to come and check you. You should know that,” he said.
He advised the governors to avoid cash transaction, including security votes, saying public funds should not be spent recklessly.
Mr Ribadu urged the governors to emulate President Muhammadu Buhari in separating governance from personal interests.
“You are lucky you have someone to learn from, please emulate President Muhammadu Buhari. He has no business partner, nobody sits with him to make deals. We don’t have overnight billionaires again. He is a good leader to emulate.”
Earlier, the acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu, tasked the governors to eschew corruption which, he said, has a bearing on development challenges across the country.
He said the agency is beaming searchlight on all politically exposed persons to cut the prevalence of corruption.