Moghalu, Durotoye ask Nigerians to participate in electoral process
Segun James and Shola Oyeyipo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday allegedly revealed that three persons stole $3billion under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Osinbajo, who spoke at The Platform, a programme organised by the Covenant Christian Centre with the theme: â€˜Get Involved,â€™ said: â€œGrand corruption remains the most enduring threat to our economy. Just to give an example, $3 billion was stolen from what was called Strategic Allowance Contract sometimes in 2013. Three Nigerians were responsible.
â€œToday, $3billion is N1trillion. Our entire budget, and budgets are estimates not actual cash, is N7trillion. So, three people made away with N1trillion and our entire budget is N7trillion.You cannot wonder why the economy will not struggle?
â€œWhen oil in our country was selling at $100 â€“ $113 a barrel, the government as at then spent N15 billion on transportation, and agriculture got N14 billion. All these ministries mentioned got N139 billion. Today, the oil prices is between $60 and $70, Power, Works and Housing can get N450 billion, transport got N80 billion, agriculture got N65 billion and the total is N560 billion.
â€œHow come we can do more with less income? How come we are able to invest in infrastructure? How come we can do the Lagos â€“ Kano standard gauge railway, the Manbila hydro, the Second Niger Bridge with 60 per cent less income? The truth is, if you can control corruption, you can do more with less.â€
He advised that irrespective of tribe and tongue, Nigerians had better come together to collectively work for the development of the country, noting that â€œour destiny as Nigerians, no matter the tribe or religion, is tied together. What affects one, affects all. Nations are built by the contributions of many.â€
He said all Nigerians have a role to play in building the country.
Osinbajo said nation building in its classical sense refers to formal and informal processes by which political leadership attempts to build a national identity, a national ethos especially in ethnically and religiously diverse society.
He spoke on the theme: â€˜Get Involvedâ€™ at the event which was put together by the Covenant Christian Centre.
According to him, while governmentâ€™s role is in casting the vision and creating the environment for nationhood, the real building of nations is done and best seen through the accomplishment of many outside the political leadership.
â€œMen and women in business, agriculture, education, entertainment and arts who by just doing their business diligently or serving faithfully or making sacrifices contribute to building the economy and social systems that ultimately build the nation,â€ he said.
He then went on to share the stories of young Nigerians who had distinguished themselves in their careers including music, fashion, writing and creation of start ups that are helping to transform the society.
The vice president noted that all those who distinguished themselves in what they do did not wait for government, adding that they excelled despite the challenging environment in which they found themselves.
Osinbajo therefore encouraged other Nigerians to emulate these pioneers, adding that by so doing, they would be helping to build the country.
Throughout his speech, which lasted for about 45 minutes, the vice president paid tributes to young Nigerians home and abroad who continued to distinguish themselves in their profession.
To the delight of the audience, Osinbajo quoted from Chimamanda Adicheâ€™s novel, â€˜Half of Yellow Sunâ€™ to illustrate his point on the ability of Nigerians to be creative and innovative.
Osinbajo said a creative generation would breed a successful generation.
While encouraging Nigerians to continue to be creative, he reminded them that poverty does not discriminate against men, women or tribe.
He said: â€œWhen the drum sounds, let everyone answer, because we are all in this together. Our differences will not stop us all from falling together.â€
However, the VP noted that unmitigated corruption of the past remains the major problem confronting Nigeria.
Osinbajo said though the current administration is reversing the situation, the Nigerian economy has received fatal blows from corrupt persons in recent past.
Earlier, a former Deputy-Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, had called on Nigerians to be actively involved in the process of nation building for them to have a better country.
Moghalu, who is musing the ambition of taking over from President Muhammadu Buhari, said the current problems facing the country would find quick answers if citizens contributed their quota to the country development.
He conceded that Nigerians were justified to complain about a number of issues based on disappointments by leaders resulting in dashed hopes, but added that, â€œcomplaining and managingâ€ would not solve any problem until Nigerians get involved in the process of choosing the leaders they desired. The former CBN chief added that the real power lied with the people and urged Nigerians to use the power to bring about change.
â€œThere is no power greater than the power of the people. The power to change belongs to the people.We can get the kind of nation we desire if we use our power,â€ he said.
In his speech, a leadership expert and another presidential hopeful, Fela Durotoye, noted that the country had suffered rot in all sectors consistently for about 50 years.
While blaming the lack of development in the country on poor leadership and followership as well as erosion of the country â€˜s values, he was optimistic that the situation could be changed for the better if Nigerians made the decision to make the change happen.
Durotoye said rather than continue to blame the past generations for the parlous state of affairs, the current generation of Nigerians could brave the odds and bring solutions.
Lootersâ€™ List: Dokpesi Demands N5bn Compensation from FG
The founder of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, has filed separate charges against the federal government for including his name on a list of alleged looters of its treasury.
In a suit dated April 30 and filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Dokpesi is asking the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, as well as his counterpart in the justice ministry, Abubakar Malami, to pay N5 billion as damages for alleged defamation of his character.
Dokpesi, according to Premium Times, is also demanding a refund of N50 million which he described as the cost of instituting the charges.
In a similar motion, Dokpesi asked the court to issue an order enforcing his fundamental rights, allegedly abused by the defendants.
Following the publication of the list of alleged looters of governmentâ€™s treasury, where Dokpesi was accused of embezzling N2.1 billion, his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, wrote a pre-litigation letter seeking a retraction of the publication and threatening a law suit if his demands were not heeded.
The list released in two batches by the federal government contained a number of politically-exposed persons accused of embezzling public funds. Most of those in both lists were members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Although Dokpesi is facing trial for alleged diversion of N2.1 billion, the Daar Communications Chairman has denied any involvement in the crime.
In the defamation suit, Dokpesi cited quotes from a press briefing organised by the information ministry wherein a reference was made to his ongoing trial, stressing that the briefing was solely intended to discredit his personality.
He accused the defendants in the suit of causing him trauma and loss of trust among well-meaning Nigerians.
Dokpesi also asked the court to stop the defendants from further publishing anything relating to the alleged defamatory remarks mentioned in the suit.
In the fundamental rights suit also dated April 30, Dokpesi is asking the court to determine if the remarks related to him during the press briefing by Mohammed did not amount to an abuse of his fundamental rights, as enshrined in sections 36 (5) of the Constitution; a violation of the provisions of section 133 (4), (5) and (9) of the Criminal Code Act, as well as section 155 of the penal code laws of the federation, 2004.
Dokpesi is also asking the court to determine whether Mohammed had the legal authority to pronounce him (Dokpesi) a public looter, without an order of court, to that effect.
He wants the court to issue an order nullifying the media publications where the said remarks were made.