President Goodluck Jonathan
Segun James in Yenagoa
President Goodluck Jonathan saturday disagreed with a cleric over assertions that poor infrastructural development under his administration, a situation which led to the need for frequent travels by air, is the cause of so many plane crashes in recent times.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at the burial service for his former National Security Adviser Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi (rtd), Jonathan disagreed with the Bishop of the Bomadi Apostle Vicarage,Most Rev.Dr. Hyancith Egbedo, that the bad condition of the East-West road and the poor condition of the aviation industry are the causes of frequent plane crashes in the country. Egbebo, had in his homily during the ceremony held at the Peace Park, Yenagoa, described the recent cases of road accidents and air crashes as a pathetic show of shame and called on the President to spare the lives of the people by ensuring that good roads are constructed, including the East-West road.
Egbebo, who said he was nearly killed along the East-West road, told the gathering that there is the need to crush corrupt practices among political office holders and focus on the construction of good roads. The cleric said “if the roads are done (rehabilitated), the people will need less helicopters,” adding ” We need good roads to avoid the rising cases of deaths along our road including the death of high personalities.”
But Jonathan said though corruption exists in the country, the attribution of corruption as the reason for the failure in certain sectors of the economy, including aviation and road construction was wrong.
“We talk about corruption as if it is the cause of our problem. There is no doubt that we have corruption in this country but the government has also been fighting corruption,” the president said.
He pointed out that from 2007 when he served as vice president and now, the country has had more agencies dealing with corruption and has witnessed three heads of anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) within the period.
According to Jonathan, “We have discovered that most of the issues called corruption are not corruption. I remember the last meeting we had with the Chief Justice of Nigeria. This was when I tried to bring the heads of the three arms of government together to see how we will collectively suppress corruption.
“And of course, we analysed the cases in court and discovered that about 80 per cent of them were not corruption cases. Sometimes, the way we mention corruption makes it looks like when indigenes of some villages in the Niger Delta blame the death of a person on the activities of witches or spirits. If we do things properly and change our attitude as Nigerians, most of these issues that we blame on corruption will not come.”
Jonathan cited the instances of his meeting with the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and was briefed that in spite of the high incidence of road accidents, most of them occurred along good roads.
“Things happen. Why should accidents happen on good roads and not the bad ones. It is the attitude of the drivers that needs to change,” Jonathan said.