Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 2 December 2015 | 3,398 times
The war of corruption cannot be won in Nigeria by the current administration, except Nigerians themselves exhibit the character of respect, discipline and integrity to one another.
This was the disclosure of Dr. Yusuf Maitama Sule, keynote speaker at the 8th annual forum of the Laureates of the National Order of Merit (NNOM), organised by the governing board of Nigerian National Merit Award (NNMA), with the theme: ‘Corruption eradication and the Nigerian ethical revolution,’ held on Tuesday at the Merit House Complex, Maitama, Abuja.
Speaking further on the past leadership system in Nigeria, as compared to the current practices, he said: “Our forefathers; Nnamdi Azikwe, Pa Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and the rest, cooperated and worked with another, despite their differences. They placed the national interest above personal interest. They went into politics because they wanted to give but not to take. They stood for justice and unity of Nigeria.”
He emphasised on the developmental stride achieved by some countries of the world, saying that "India has made it in the aspect of computer technology, and China has also developed in different ways. Brazil
also has stronger economy than even Great Britain. But I keep saying that Nigeria and Brazil started building their industries the same year, but Brazil has gone far ahead of us unfortunately.”
Dr. Maitama, who happens to be the first Minister of Oil in Nigeria (1959-1966) lamented that “We have lost our leaders at a point. That was where we missed it. Things have changed negatively. Chaos and
confusion is now in politics and immorality in the society. The norms and values left by our forefathers have been thrown away. We used to be our brothers' keeper, but not today again. This was not in our
character and we have to change it.
“We should be leading the Africa but we have to build our house first. Nigeria would have been another Dubai, if not for her leadership. What do we do now? We steal to enjoy ourselves in London, Europe, buy cars for our girl friends with oil money. Nigerian population alone is enough to provide market for its consumption.”
“I was the first Minister of Oil, from 1959-1966, and to date, Nigeria still owe me but I am not owing Nigeria. I am not rich but I thank God for the long life I have. Today, I am with you and I am happy. I too
believe that Nigeria would change for the better. I have a dream that Nigeria would be truly united one day. I have a dream that Nigeria would build a very strong nation and develop the political clout to
move the nation forward.”
While charging the youths, he said: “You can change Nigeria for the better. You need the good old ones and the good young ones to bring about the change. The best prosperity happens by combination of two. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this administration. What we need is leaders but not looters. We must show love, preach love and teach love among ourselves.”
In his welcome address, earlier, Chairman of the Governing Board of the NNMA, Professor Etim Essien, stated that the topic of the event fitted in squarely with the clearly stated objective and commitment of
President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration.
Professor Essien, however, added that corruption involves bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, extortion, favoritism, human trafficking and nepotism, and the path to change towards its
eradication is bumpy.
He emphasised that “we can repair it through persistent and steadfast in implementing the rules to run our society, to aggressively drive us towards the goal". As Nigerians, we have to face the challenges posed to us by the President, saying attacking corruption is a serious
national life and death struggle.”
“Sadly, 19 of the total of 71 laureates who have received the NNMA award have passed on.”
Also speaking at the event, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chief Host of the event, Engr. Babachir Lawal, represented by Mrs Obiageli Nwokedi, noted that the government will
always create the enabling environment for the NNMA, with endowment fund, to be able to run efficiently.
She explained that Buhari is willing to fight corruption but cannot be fought alone, adding that it must be a collective battle to eradicate the long time albatross.
•Photo: From the right, Dr. Yusuf Maitama, keynote speaker; Professor E.M Essien OFR, NNOM and Mrs Obiageli Nwokedi, representative of Secretary to the Government of Federation, Engr. Babachir Lawal, during the event.
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