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Our culture mounts pressure on leaders to become thieves — Don

By Ike Uchechukwu

A university don, Prof Uno Igim,  has said African culture puts much pressure on political leaders to steal and become corrupt because they want to please their people.

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Prof Igim of Department of Public Administration, University of Calabar, UNICAL, spoke in his keynote address at a one-day symposium organised by Corruption Through Interfaith Platforms in Nigeria Project (2018-2020), funded by Mac Arthur Foundation.

Igim said Africans demanded so much from their leaders once in position because they wanted them to satisfy all their selfish needs at once, even if it meant dipping their hands into public funds.

He said: “Our culture as Africans mounts so much pressure on our leaders to become thieves and steal as well as become corrupt once they take up leadership positions because we want them to satisfy all our needs at once.

“There is a lot of demand on public office holders by the traditional and religious leaders to meet up with so many demands and when they to look  bad or are perceived in a negative light, they steal.”

On their part, the traditional rulers represented by HRM,Etiyin Otu Mesembe VI, Paramount Ruler of Odukpani Local Government Area, Cross River State said the government was part of the problem because the traditional institution was not well taken care of.

He said: “We have been coerced to join the bandwagon because the government seems to have neglected the traditional institution.

“The government at all levels fight corruption in a selective manner and this makes the fight a lip service. If we want to fight this hydra-headed problem, we must do it from the roots.”

“As a leader whether traditional, religious or political,  you must understand that once you become corrupt, no matter the level, the people will not have regard for you any longer, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes, you will be exposed.

“Our constitution was borrowed and developed with a mindset of corruption and carefully excluding the traditional system because of greed and other selfish interests.  Our constitution is borrowed, it does not serve the purpose of the people.

“But our leaders while adopting the constitution carefully avoided the traditional institution. The traditional institution can stop corruption because we all come from a community.”

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