President Muhammadu Buhari and the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki have charged Auditor-Generals in the country to develop innovative strategies that can help the government win the war against corruption.
Declaring open the 2021 conference of Auditor-Generals in Nigeria (COAGN) with the theme ‘Securing Audit Independence Sustainability: The Urgency of Now,’ President Buhari restated his administration’s commitment to end corruption in the country.
Buhari, represented by Governor Obaseki, noted that the sustained fight against corruption by his administration is already yielding positive results.
According to him, “As you go into deliberations, I urge you to come with strategies on how to help stamp out corruption in Nigeria. We have no other country than Nigeria; it is by doing so that the future generations of Nigeria can thrive in this great nation.”
Buhari further noted, “During my first inauguration, I told Nigerians that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. I have never hidden my disdain for corrupt practices and therefore welcome every opportunity to talk to those at the forefront of the anti-corruption crusade like you, Auditor Generals.
“The sustained fight against corruption is yielding positive results as witnessed by the high-profile cases successfully investigated and prosecuted by agencies saddled with the tasks.”
While assuring of the government’s commitment to ending corruption in the country, President Buhari added, “My administration has strengthened anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to perform optimally without interference.
“For the efforts to enthrone good governance and accountability across ties of government in Nigeria cannot yield the desired positive result if Auditor-Generals do not stand up to play their constitutional role in Nigeria as the people’s watchdog.”
Earlier, Governor Obaseki said his administration is collaborating with the legislative arm of government to deepen public financial management and improve accountability and transparency in government.
He said, “We have collaborated with our legislators in the Edo State House of Assembly to deepen public financial management through the enactment of laws aimed at building institutions and improving accountability and transparency in government and fiscal financial operations.
“We have promulgated laws, which include the Public Financial Management and Fiscal Responsibility Laws promulgated in 2018; Public Procurement Laws, which were promulgated and amended in 2020, and the Edo State Audit Law 2021, which was also promulgated and amended.”
Noting the laudable roles played by of the Auditor-Generals in development of the society, Obaseki noted that “the importance of auditors in our national governance framework can’t be over emphasized, in view of the fact that society and citizens look up to you to testify whether the resources of the nation and sub national governments are used reasonably for the benefits of the citizens and that our common resources have been deployed and utilized in a transparent manner that meets international best practices.”
On his part, the Auditor-General of the Federation, Aghughu Adolphus said the 2021 conference presents the auditors with the opportunity to critically assess their performances, especially in a post-lock down economy, occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.