By Dirisu Yakubu
Abuja — Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, in Abuja, decried the unsuccessful prosecution of high-profile corruption cases in Nigeria.
Obasanjo expressed his displeasure while delivering the inauguration lecture of Olusegun Obasanjo Good Governance and Development Research Centre, National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, entitled, “Leadership, Governance and the Challenges of Development in Nigeria: The Way Forward.”
He regretted that in spite of efforts by successive governments, corruption still posed a daunting challenge to the progress and development of Nigeria.
He said: “The lack of successful prosecution of high-profile corruption cases involving Politically Exposed Persons, PEPs, is giving serious cause for concern, both for Nigerians and the international community.
“We must take away the proceeds of illicit enrichment and remove negative role models in our society. I know that each arm of government has its responsibility and we must respect the separation of powers under our constitution.
“At the same time, we must have an acute and common perception of our problem and do all that is necessary to mitigate the impact of corruption in our society.”
Obasanjo said instead of pointing accusing fingers and passing the buck, Nigerians, including the church and the mosque, should all rise against corruption.
According to him, fighting corruption is not a popular agenda, but that the apparent realisation of the negative impact of corruption has promoted the fight against corruption as a measure of good governance.
The former president, who noted that the aim of fighting corruption was to correct certain wrong doings, said: “The aim of fighting corruption is most importantly, to remedy the dark sides of bad governance, such as poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease, as well as improving the well-being of the citizens, hence, we must pay equal attention to the economy which is the bedrock of all-round development.
“The beginning of getting leadership right is to make the electoral system transparent and credible to ensure that only the choices of the people are actually elected into electable political offices.”
Also speaking at the event, former President of Ghana and chairman of the event, John Dramani Mahama, challenged the centre to come up with research capable of helping to resolve the leadership challenge in Africa to usher in the desired continental development.
Mahama called on Africa’s largest economies; South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt, to lead the way through effective leadership in order to put the continent on a solid footing for the whole world to see.
In his speech, NOUN’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, said the institution was concerned about solving the problem of leadership and good governance in Nigeria, which informed the establishment of the centre.
Adamu said the centre was named after Obasanjo because he was a success story in democratic governance in Africa.
On her part, Chairlady of the occasion and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloma Mukhtar, urged NOUN to ensure that the good governance centre lived up to expectation.