Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, yesterday declared that the disregard for justice and the rule of law is a greater form of corruption than stealing of public funds.
Symington stated this in Ilorin, Kwara State, after he declared the 34th convocation lecture of the University of Ilorin.
He delivered a lecture entitled “Citizen Leadership and the Link between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance” where he also said the task of making Nigeria was that of both the government and the citizenry.
But responding to a question from a member of the audience on how the country could develop as the United States, Symington identified patriotism, selfless and transparent service, justice, and consistency in doing good, as important factors.
He argued that the disregard for justice and the rule of law should be seen as greater form of corruption than stealing of money.
“What many consider as the great corruption is stealing of money but what to me is the greatert corruption is when people are deprived of justice, when you do things without regard to the rule of law,” he added.
Speaking further, the US envoy said the process of making Nigeria great requires a collective effort of all the stakeholders.
He said that all the Nigerian citizens must be working with the government instead of only relying on government for an improved fortunes.
Symington who expressed belief in future greatness of Nigeria, urged the citizens to always do at home as they do in abroad.
He explained that, the people of the country must giving priority to their Nigerian identity as against tribal or regional one.
He said that any young one who desires to contribute in future to transformation of the country to a better one should start the process now by endeavour to change life of his partner to a better where necessary.
The Ambassador noted further that, security and other challenges in the country would be surmounted when the citizens unite and work together.
He said, “One of the most important things that I want you to leave today with is the idea that good governance can only come from strong independent citizens. So, I think the right answer is there is no person who can make Nigeria more secure.
“There was that time in Nigeria when security was not the job of only the soldier and the police, but every village chief and every person who lived in the town was involved”.
The envoy added, “There is no police force in the whole world that keeps the neighbourhood safe all by itself. If you have such a police force, I would not want to live in that neighbourhood. Every security in the world derives from the support of the people in the place that is insecure.
“If you will have the tenacity to change Nigeria, look around you right now and change the life of one person today”.