Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A group, the Rivers Unity House (RUH), has accused Nigerians of encouraging corrupt practices among the political class by not asking questions concerning their background and activities in office.
It therefore urged Nigerians to make the issue of corruption among politicians an issue in the campaigns for the 2019 elections.
RUH Co-convener, Mr. Peter Ekekwe, disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt while speaking to journalists on the forthcoming anti-corruption symposium, organised by the group with the theme; “Corruption As An Issue In Nigeria’s Development Crises.”
He also accused Nigerians of personalising power and governance in the country by seeing the president and the governor as the country and the state respectively.
The one-day symposium, which will hold on Wednesday at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, will have two senior lecturers of the University of Port Harcourt: Professor Eme Ekekwe and Professor Steve Okodudu, as well as the spokesman of the Buhari Reelection Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, as speakers.
Ekekwe said: “The problem of Nigeria, we do not is the problem, the led in Nigeria is actually part of the problem, to the point that they seem to lie to themselves, to the point of betrayal and treachery. You see the led lying to themselves all on defence of a candidate or an individual.
“Somebody trying to lie to people just to make a point is corruption. When something is wrong you need to be bold to say it is wrong. If it is right, say it is right. That way, you will be arguing based on issues. If I can tell my brother that he is a thief when he steals, I have lost the moral right to call another person a thief if that person steals.”
He expressed worries that supporters of the president or governor see whatever he does as right while those opposed to them see whatever they do as wrong.
The RUH Co-convener said: “Part of the corrupt environment is that we have personalised power so much that the governor is seen as the state, the president is seen as the country. So, whatever he does, for his supporters, he is correct and for those who oppose him, whatever he does is wrong.
“We have come to a point where a director in the civil service who earns N150,000 as salary, pays N1 million as school fees per term for his children. Nobody is saying that it is wrong and nobody sees anything wrong with it. People live above their means and we don’t ask questions.
“The Commonwealth of a country or a state become the personal property of less than 10% of the population of with the country the state.
“Having stolen from the people, every four years, they recycle it, drops crumps for the people to buy their votes and once they achieve that, you have ceded the power you have to actually call the shots to them.”
Ekekwe stated that the main objective of the one-day anti-corruption symposium is to let the people know what corruption is doing to the country and the need to check it.
He said: “We have come to a point where we said, okay, we need to have a discussion about corruption and how it affects our governance, our development as a country. We need to make it an issue, to probe the issue, to interrogate the issue and to comprehensively explained to people what corruption is doing to the system if it remains unchecked.”