Buhari said this at the opening of the 45th Annual Accountants Conference and 50th Anniversary celebration of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria themed, “ICAN: Building On a Legacy of Service”.
The President, represented by Mrs Anastasia Nwaobia, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, vowed to step up his anti-corruption campaign through the re-invigoration of all anti corruption agencies in the country.
He said that institutions such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) were key in his fight against corruption.
He said that the lack of prudence, transparency and honesty in the management of public resources had left Nigerians in a state of suffering and deprivation.
He called on ICAN to assist his administration in reversing the trend by ensuring that the resources of government were duly accounted for with all sense of transparency.
“We are at the threshold of history where we must collectively take the destiny of the nation in our hands.
“As Nigerians, no one can love Nigeria like you and me. On our part, we will continue to lead by example, making efforts to live above board.
“As we strive to walk or talk, we will carry to its logical conclusions our initiative to overhaul the bureaucracy of the public sector in an effort to engender transparency and improve productivity in public governance.
“I assure you that persons found wanting will not be spared,” he said.
Buhari said with the huge number of resources at the country’s disposal, its citizens had no business being classified poor among the comity of nations.
The President said his administration had commenced the process of rebuilding a better country for all through the enthronement of honesty in the management of public resources.
“As blessed as we are as a nation, Nigerians have no business being classified as poor.
“Yet, through the greed of some unpatriotic few, our common wealth has been badly pillaged in the name of public service.
“Our ability as a nation to create wealth has increasingly been hampered by lack of prudence, transparency and honesty in the management of public resources by some of those entrusted with the duty of governance at all levels.
“This should not be allowed to continue. The nation ought and must leave the throes of poverty and underdevelopment. I do believe that as a people, we are naturally destined for greatness,” he said.
While admitting that the battle for the enthronement of the right values would be difficult, his administration was committed to effecting a change in the nation’s value system.
He expressed optimism that corruption would soon be a thing of the past. He reiterated his administration’s commitment to changing Nigeria for the better.
Earlier, Mr Samuel Deru, President of ICAN, said that the nation’s economy needed surgical and drastic reforms beyond the solution of privatisation of government companies.
These reforms, he added, should begin with plugging of all revenue leakages, revisit and redefining of priorities, slashing of cost of governance and investing more in capital ventures.
“In spite of the current challenges, as a body, we are persuaded that integrity and public interest as cherished virtues, will continue to underlie good governance and economic prosperity.
“Accordingly, we will continue to defend these ideals, no matter the odds. To ensure this, we have set in motion strategies to re-engineer our processes in order to re-position the profession for greater value delivery,” he said.
Dere called on the government to make the budget cycle a subject of legislation, to enhance budgeting ethics and effective implementation processes.