Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A legal luminary, Mallam Yusuf Olu Ali (SAN) has criticised the strategy being used by the federal government to fight the ongoing war against corruption in the country.
He said the top to bottom approach would not bring desired result to the government.
Ali, who spoke with journalists in Ilorin, Kwara state capital on the state of the nation said that, “the present approach of President Muhammadu Buhari to pursuing three out of one thousand corrupt persons in the country is highly ridiculous.”
The legal luminary, who was honored the prestigious award of the Fellow of Kwara. State Polytechnic, Ilorin recently alongside with the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Alhaji Kamoru Yusuf among others added,”I have always said that this top to bottom approach fight against corruption cannot work and there is urgent need by the federal government to create a mass movement so as to record a huge success on the war against corruption.
“When you arrest three persons out of thousand, what can you achieve?If we have to start from somewhere like some people are saying, then let’s start properly.
“Now,bribery or whatever you call is is just one out of many and when you are fighting corruption in public places and you are making noise about it, definitely you can’t achieve any reasonable result .There is a way you fight it and get maximum result, not just making noise.
“I tell people that for the street to be clean every member of the street for keep his corner clean. Corruption is symptomatic of a deeper problem. When are talking about corruption we should not limit it to bribery. Nepotism is corruption; ethnicity is corruption; tribalism is corruption and influence peddling is also corruption. Just fighting by public officials is a tip of the iceberg.
“Our police officers still openly collect bribe on our roads, and for me that is just a tip of the iceberg.”
The legal icon, who said corruption had permeated all fabrics of the nations life, added that everyone must be involved in reorientation and rejuvenation of attitude to achieve a turn around.
He said: “At the presentation of my book ‘anatomy of corruption’ in Abuja May this year, in my speech I said categorically that top to bottom approach on the fight againt corruption can never work.
“If you want fight corruption you must create a mass movement. Majority of Nigerians must buy into it, but you arrest three people out of 10,000. What have you achieve? What is going on is fight against corrupt people not against corruption per say.
“Corruption is an institutional thing, so fight against it is more than what we are doing. Because if we are not careful things we are not doing properly may become a culture. If you want to fight against corruption we have to dig deeper”.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria who decried the present economic recession Nigerians are going through said it was largely caused by the bad image of a country rid with corruption that was sold to the outside world,which prompted investors to stop bringing in their money.
Ali, who harped that it’s lack of confidence in Nigeria’s economy that caused the recession however said that for the country to recover from her present economic problems,there was the urgent need to go out and market Nigeria to the outside world in such a way that investors would start bringing their money again.
He also pointed out that the problem with leaders in Africa unlike the developed countries is because they are complacent and failed to improve on the legacy that was bequeathed on them by the Europeans.
His words, “A people deserve the kind of leader they get, Just like in other African countries,in Nigeria anything goes and it’s very unfortunate.We don’t have minimum standard,and that is why we are where we are today.
“Nothing is inherently wrong with us in Africa,its only that we rest on our oars,whereas in developed country,they will always improve on what they have.That is the clear difference between us,America is particularly different because an average Americans will insist on what is right.”
The legal icon also called on individuals, and private organisations to partner with governments at all levels to rescue the nation’s education from total collapse, stressing that it’s very clear now that the government cannot do it all alone.
He added that henceforth students in tertiary institutions across the country must be prepared by their curriculum to overcome the challenges of unemployment from the time they are students before they graduate.