“There is no need pretending that this country is not burdened by the weight of a cancerous phenomenon that is called corruption. Every Nigerian knows that we have a problem. This is a broken society and it has permeated every aspect of our national life. So, we must do something about it. Nobody is going to take my voice. Voice is God-given. God has given every Nigerian the voice in order to determine the kind of results we will get from our leaders.“
Former Minister of Education under the regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili has again raised the alarm that Nigeria is sinking under the weight of corruption going on under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The ex-minister recently accused the Jonathan/Yaradua government of squandering a whooping $67 billion from the country’s foreign reserves. The comment had generated heated debates from the public and the presidency which in turn ordered a probe of Ezekwesili’s tenure as minister of education.
Oby who again spoke today after a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) service to commemorate her 50th birthday in Abuja vowed not to keep quiet in the face of bad governance in the country. She denied nursing any political ambition.
According to her: “Actually, there is nothing about being interested in politics if you understand democracy. Democracy is incomplete without the engagement of the citizens in the process. The demand for accountability and for results is the role of citizens. You don’t have to be in politics in order to be an active citizen engaged in the democratic process. The reason that we have lacked results and accountability since our first democratic experiment in the 60’s was simply because the citizens failed to play that role. I am not going to be a citizen that acts like a eunuch like there is no capacity to demand accountability.
“So, I am not a politician. The day I decide that I want to be a politician, you don’t need to guess, you will see me. I am very candid, I am very frank, I am too honest to play games on things that I believe in. I don’t want to be a politician, I am not a politician but I am an active citizen who is basically carrying out the role that every citizen of this nation must carry out.
“My general overview is that we are going through the throes of challenges that require a very strong sense of sacrificial leadership. The corruption in the society right now is so endemic, it’s almost become democratized. And that is going to sink us. We need not implode under the weight corruption. We need to tackle corruption and tackle it as you would tackle cancer. It can kill.
“There is no need pretending that this country is not burdened by the weight of a cancerous phenomenon that is called corruption. Every Nigerian knows that we have a problem. This is a broken society and it has permeated every aspect of our national life. So, we must do something about it. Nobody is going to take my voice. Voice is God-given. God has given every Nigerian the voice in order to determine the kind of results we will get from our leaders.
In a democracy when you sit quietly and you are murmuring in your home, nobody that is leading will have the incentives to offer you results. Every one of us must demand for results. The resources that are spent in this country are greater than what 25 countries in Africa spend. There 25 countries in Africa that do not have the equivalent of what we have in this country. So to that extent you can see that if there are no results that are coming out of the spendings of oil money in this country, it must become your responsibility. The society must be mobilized to play its active responsibility in underpinning democracy that works for larger number.”
She said this much even as former President Obasanjo lampooned the Jonathan administration for instituting any probe against Ezekwesili. ”Anybody talking about probing Oby is wasting his time, Nigeria is instead owing her”, he said as he laughed off the issue .
According to him: “actually those who wanted to probe you (Oby), you should have asked them to because if they are honest probers they would find out that government of Nigeria should give you money for what you have done for this country without stealing money.
“I have always said this, whatever you want to blame in my government, blame me. Dont blame any of those people who assisted me. If there is any credit to dispense we share it, but for anything you want to say is wrong, I was the one in charge and I was in charge.”
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