Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, said corruption in government is one of the major factors responsible for the resurgence of military coups in West Africa.
Owasanoye, who stated this at the ongoing 5th annual general assembly meeting of the Network of National Anti-corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA) in Abuja, stressed the need to reflect on the challenges being faced by the West African region, especially the negative role of corruption in the frustration of the aspirations of the sub-region to attain socio-economic growth and meet global development standards.
He noted that the sub-region has in the past two years witnessed a resurgence of the military takeover of governments and a reversal of years of gains of democratic culture in the 15 nation regional member states.
He observed that the new wave started in Mali in 2020 followed by Guinea in 2021 and most recently Burkina Faso in February 2022. He noted that there has been reported failed attempts in other places, most notably Guinea Bissau, thereby raising question on what role corruption played in the resurgence of military coups in the West African sub-region.
“Every student of West African history knows that social discontent is always a factor in the forceful takeover of government by military juntas. The current wave of coups is however occasioned by a mixed bag of issues within the region including regional political instability, insecurity, absence of rule of law, weak institutions and of course corruption in government and governance. The presence of these factors and more, but most especially weak institutions of state and corruption in government and governance has and continues to undermine development aspirations of the region and makes ordinary people welcome change of government no matter how implemented in the hope that livelihood will improve.”
Also, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, President Jean Claude Kassi Brou, said that corruption remains a major problem in the overall governance process across the ECOWAS member states.
Brou who was represented by Prof Femi Ajibawa said, in recent times, the corruption crisis has led to a loss of trust and confidence between the citizenry and government.