Defaulting on campaign promise is corruption – Akwa Ibom Speaker

The Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, has advised the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria to consider prosecuting elected politicians who abandon their campaign promises after their election.

Mr. Luke, who is a lawyer, said the failure by politicians and the political parties to fulfill campaign promises should be seen as a form of corruption.

He made the remark on Tuesday in Uyo at a summit against corruption organized by the State government and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

“Every time we talk about corruption, we talk only in terms of the financials,” Mr. Luke said. “But I think corrupt practices transcend this.

“If a political party goes to an election and makes promises that they know they can’t fulfill, that is corruption.

“Except in circumstances where we cannot genuinely deliver on promises because of circumstances, when we make electoral promises as politicians, including myself, and refuse to deliver on those promises, then we should be prosecuted for corruption,” he said.

Mr. Luke said it was dishonest for politicians to abandon their “lofty” campaign promises, after using them to lure the electorate. He asked the ICPC to find ways to prosecute such politicians.

He said it was necessary for the states to join the anti-corruption war if the country must move forward.

“The benefits of state governments’ participation in the war against corruption are enormous. First, a corruption-free environment will help to expand the resource base of the state especially at a time like this that we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn.

“Secondly, states like Akwa Ibom stand to benefit from meeting up with the dynamics of global public finance management. Already, through the insistence of His Excellency the Governor, we are setting a pace in this area with the adoption of the International Public Sector Accounting Standard, IPSAS, as a model for budgeting and expenditure of public finances in Akwa Ibom state.

“Very importantly, when we are free of financial impropriety, the cost of governance will reduce,” the speaker said, adding that the House was ready to support the fight against corruption in the state.

The governor, Udom Emmanuel, who hosted the summit, said corruption in the oil-rich state was “extremely minimal”.

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