“Fighting Corruption Is Not A One-Night Affair; Of Course, There Are Deep-Rooted Interests – Obasanjo
Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that fighting corruption in Nigeria is not a one night affair. He also claimed that the givers of most of the corruption in Africa are from outside the continent.
In an interview with a UK newspaper, theguardian recently, Mr Obasanjo told the reporter interviewing him that instead of saying Nigerian leaders lack accountability, he should say they are corrupt.
According to him: “You are being euphemistic when you say lack of accountability. Call it corruption. There is no part of the world where corruption is absolutely eliminated. But (in other countries) corruption has not been a way of life. When you are found, you are dealt with. And that’s what we need.”
“Fighting corruption is not a one-night affair. Of course, there are deep-rooted interests, and if you are going to deal with it, you have to deal with it ruthlessly and consistently. If you deal with it today and you then turn a blind eye tomorrow, it will come back with vengeance.”
“The givers of most of the corruption in Africa are from outside Africa. They do in Africa (things) they would not do in their own countries.
“In my part of the world, we have a saying that the man who carries a pot of palm oil from the ceiling is not the only thief. He has an accomplice in the man who helps him to bring it down. The giver and the taker are criminals, and they should be treated as such.”
“I still believe in the opportunities that Africa affords to make legitimate money. Africa is one place I believe that if you are courageous enough, you get the money; you can invest and get 25 per cent return on your investment annually. There aren’t many places in the world where you can get that return.” He added.
Obasanjo was in the UK to promote investment in Nigeria, facilitating firms’ entry into Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
Corruption in Nigeria
Political corruption is not a recent phenomenon that pervades the Nigerian state. Since the creation of modern public administration in the country, there have been cases of official misuse of resources for personal enrichment. Nigeria is ranked 143 out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The rise of public administration and the discovery of petroleum and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to a litany of ignoble corrupt practices in the country.
Over the years, the country has seen its wealth withered with little to show in living conditions of the average human being. Obafemi Awolowo raised a salient issue when he said, since independence, our governments have been a matter of few holding the cow for the strongest and most cunning to milk, Under those circumstances everybody runs over everybody to make good at the expense of others.