Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
A former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, has said that for Nigeria to surmount its current numerous challenges, it must uphold the rule of law at all times.
This was disclosed yesterday by Nigerian author and a former Presidential spokesman, Reno Omokri, who stressed that he (Omokri) was part of a group of 62 persons granted audience by the troubled former Pakistani leader.
“On Sunday, June 29, 2023, Mr Imran Khan, the former populist Prime Minister of Pakistan, granted audience to a group of 62 pillars of the global conservatives movement, including bestselling Nigerian author, and former Presidential spokesman, Reno Omokri.
“In response to a question by Mr Omokri on how Nigeria can address her developmental issues, Mr Khan, who is currently under house arrest, compared Pakistan to Nigeria and said Nigeria could address its challenges by upholding the rule of law,” Omokri wrote.
Omokri also quoted the former prime minister as saying that: “severity of punishment is not as important as certainty of punishment”, insisting that if countries like Nigeria and Pakistan can ensure that those who engage in corrupt practices and stash ill-gotten funds in offshore accounts get punished like the rest of the population, they will develop.
He stated that when Khan was asked if it were not better to grant amnesty to the corrupt military and political elite and then stop future corruption, he responded that sanctions for corrupt persons must be across board make the needed impact.
“Greed can never be satisfied. And if I do not stop those who did that before my time, I would not have the nerve to stop my own people from doing the same thing. And the rule of law is not served that way. Pakistan has more resources than Norway, but Norway and other countries at the top of the HDI index are wealthy because of the rule of law.
“People who desperately cross the Mediterranean with many dying in the process, are not necessarily running away from poverty. They are running towards the rule of law in Europe,” Khan was quoted as saying.
He admitted that he never even knew what the rule of law meant until he travelled to England as a teenager, explaining that that tells the extent to which it was absent in Pakistan under the military and their client politicians.
Mr Khan, a former record-holding cricketer, also revealed that he had spoken to a former President Muhammadu Buhari’s defence minister in the past about Nigeria and expressed his willingness to visit his supporters in Nigeria whenever he is released.
Later on his Twitter handle , Omokri wrote: “A pleasure to join conservatives from around the world for a briefing with Imran Khan, @imrankhanpti, the immediate past elected prime minister of Pakistan and still the most popular man, according to opinion polls, in that country.
“I brought Imran messages of support and solidarity from the leader of our political party, the @OfficialPDPNig, Waziri @Atiku Abubakar to Mr Khan and his political party, @PTIofficial.
“Mr Khan was kind enough to give me tips about how Nigeria can address multidimensional poverty, using the success of his Ehsaas programme as a model. He also suggested to me how Nigeria can transition to renewable energy, a process he initiated in Pakistan before his removal by forces backed by the military.
“I extend a hand of fellowship to Imran and call on the Western democracies not to forget this prisoner of conscience and strong proponent of the rule of law.
“Finally, I hope Pakistan upholds the rule of law, for which Mr Khan is very passionate, and releases political prisoners and moves to free and fair elections shortly. I also thank @sayedzbukhari for all his help,” Omokri wrote.