From the Publisher’s Desk
In our editorial in the August 2012  edition Africa Peace and Security Monitor we outlined the challenges before the newly elected Chair of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. As the election of the next Chair approaches, we believe it is legitimate to ask the following questions. Has the outgoing Chair of the Commission improved the ability of the AU to respond to the needs of African people across the continent? Has the experiment of electing Chairs of the Commission from among the five major financial contributors of the African Union helped or hindered the organization? Or should there be a return to the understanding that none of the big five countries should occupy the exalted post of Chair of the Commission? If the current experiment has failed, as demonstrated by the financial straits in which the Commission has found itself, the experiment should not be repeated if the Commission is to be financially viable. The article on the AU Chairperson examines some of the accomplishments of the current Chairperson and briefly reviews some critical issues in the selection of the next AU Chairperson. We will return to this topic in more detail in our next issue of the monitor.
Also in this current issue of the Monitor, we have a thought-provoking piece by Dele Olowu originally presented to Nigerian Diaspora professionals in The Netherlands in October 2015. In it, Olowu addressed four issues: corruption, conflicts, inadequate capacity, and culture – the key governance challenges confronting Nigeria and how to clear the Augean stable. It is our position that if corruption in Nigeria can be significantly curtailed, it will be a milestone for Nigeria and for Africa. An important question that needs to be addressed is whether the institutions established to combat corruption are up to the task and if not, how they should be strengthened to discharge their responsibilities. Establishing the relevant institutions to combat corruption is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. A change in behavior is also critical, particularly in a country where some people in position of power and authority act with high degree of impunity, preferring instead to look after their own self-interest while impeding the processes advancing the democratic growth and the economic development of the country. As Plato stated in Laws, those in positions of power and authority must demonstrate a strong sense of duty to prevent corruption, lest the general public emulates their quest for self-interest. The recent revelations that 55 public officials are on trial in Nigeria for the theft of N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013 is very troubling indeed – approximately US$9.5 billion using the average exchange rate over the period. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg! A quiet and effective onslaught on corruption is preferable to the current media war, which in the end might swing sympathy to the culprits who have ruined Nigeria through their unbridled greed and insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Nigerian who is rendered helpless and destitute by their leaders in whom they had placed their trust.
Shola J. Omoregie