By EMMANUEL EDUKUGHO
The president and the National Assembly should declare an emergency in the fight against corruption.
Dr. David Oyedepo, Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, made this call in his address on the occasion of the sixth convocation ceremony of the university on Friday.
“An institutional stand of this nature will help to keep them accountable and will help their individual and corporate resolve to combat the scourge of corruption since corruption monitors made it very clear that government institutions and the political organisations are the fountain and bedrock of corruption.”
In the address titled: “Combating the Dinosaur Syndrome: The Scourge of Corruption, the Greatest Threat to the Survival of the Nation,” he said the Nigeria nation and the black race at large like the dinosaur seem to be speedily running down the cliff of extinction through a self-destruct syndrome fueled by the cultism of corruption.
“The deep intensive and unabated corruption rot in Nigeria is eating us deep to extinction the way of the dinosaurs, but God forbid”, Oyedepo said.
The chancellor referred to a public lecture delivered by Prof. Don Ike at Covenant University in 2009, where Ike estimated that by 1999, past Nigerian leaders had stolen or misused $407 billion or 225 billion pounds. This amounted to a sum equal to all Western aid to the continent of Africa.
In 1999, the World Bank compiled a list of Nigeria’s fund by depositors in four Western countries and submitted to the then president of Nigeria.
“From that list, we were told that five of the depositors alone were responsible for much of the stolen funds in the World Bank list of 21 heavy looters.
The total amount deposited in Western banks by the heaviest 21 looters is the equivalent of 150 billion dollars”, Oyedepo pointed out.
“I believe that one of the reasons why corruption had thrived is because we neglected our true potentials and endowments to go after the raw money from raw crude. We neglected our greatest resource in agriculture and turned a great nation into a beggar nation.”
He submitted that today, WHO rates life expectancy in Africa at 47 (and in Nigeria 44) against the case of Malaysia’s 74 which got independence at the same time as Nigeria. “This is one example of the devastating effects of corruption for a nation by her leaders who squandered the resources that should have provided food and health for her people.”
According to Oyedepo, the crave for free money has eroded our national values and this has become to us like a cancerous infection on the entire society.
“For instance, how can a nation among the poorest in the world run the most expensive democracy?
A member of the National Assembly earning more than the president of USA! A Nigerian senator earns at least eight times as much as an American senator and more than three times the American president. What a wasteful generation.”