Christopher Kolade, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has said that corruption still thrives under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch despite publicized effort and claims to be winning the war against graft.
The former Nigerian ambassador to the United Kingdom said this in an interview with The Niche.
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He said it was obvious that corruption in the country was not getting any weaker despite the widely-publicised anti-graft war by the Buhari government. He said it was imperative for any government serious about fighting corruption to take away the excuse of being corrupt from people.
Kolade added that if there was equality among Nigerians, corruption could be tackled more effectively.
“I say for example the anti-corruption fight. You know the only person that doesn’t know we are fighting corruption is corruption itself because have you noticed, have you observed that corruption is any weaker than it was before? So if you are fighting corruption and corruption is thriving, something is wrong. And you see, you can’t fight corruption without thinking of the people who might want to practice corruption.
“If you can take away from the human being the excuse of practicing corruption, you will fight corruption. If for instance there is greater equality among the people of Nigeria.
“If as you have been questioning me today, if I know that if I do my duty properly, the reward that was promised will come, that I will have no problem with it. But look, the policeman is given a responsibility and he is told this is the way you are to handle your responsibility.
“You are here to help people to do well. Tell me something, if you are to encounter a policeman now, the first thing in the policeman’s mind is that you must be guilty of something. But that is not the discipline of policing.
“Why does anybody want to be an Abacha? Just making money to satisfy your greed. Why does anybody want to do that? Because they believe that that is the thing that will build their ego. So you have to educate people that this thing is not like that in the aspect of our management, including how we educate our people,” he said.
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The 87-year-old also dismissed the popular notion by the younger generation that his generation led Nigeria to its current state of disrepair. In his defence, he said his generation was not adequately aware of the task ahead before independence. He blamed the current generation for failing to rise up to correct the errors of the past.
“For me, the finger pointing that says you people brought us into this situation is simply an easy way out of the problem. It shows that the people who are relying on that concept don’t want to do the work they need to do.
“The generation that secured the independence, if there had been some means of preparing them for responsibility they were taking on, then you could come back to me and say in spite of the preparation you had, in spite of all the training we gave you, you still got it wrong.
“So, the only thing that we should ask ourselves is that we inherited the situation but we didn’t have to persevere with the structure. You could have said, what kind of country do we want to have? What kind of relationship do we want to have among our people? And how do we get there? So, to that extent that they did not take time out to think that way, you can say well, they should have known better. But I can tell you, when you inherit a situation where everything seems to be going well, you tend to think there is nothing wrong here until one night the army comes knocking on your door to say out of here.
“Factually, yes this was a generation that took over from the colonial people and had the responsibility to build the future but what equipment did they have for carrying out that responsibility?
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“Younger people, particularly university students have come to me to say your generation got it wrong, they are the ones that did this, even one of you said we are a wasted generation, I say well you can say that now. But supposing I even accept that that is the truth, if I got it wrong, and somebody is now flogging me for getting it wrong, do you have to stay in the queue behind me and wait to be flogged?” he querried.
Kolade however expressed optimism that the country would get it right someday.
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