Afe Babalola, Obanikoro, Pedro advocate good governance to tackle graft
A foremost legal luminary Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, former Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Lawal Pedro (SAN) and other prominent Nigerians have advocated good governance and citizens participation as the best way to tackle corruption in the country.
They disclosed this at the sixth annual Ramadan lecturer of Anwar-Ul Islam College (formerly Ahmadiyya College) Old Students’ Association (ACAOSA) in Lagos.
Obanikoro and Pedro said citizens’ participation was the best way to fight corruption in Nigeria, adding that if much of the resources currently being used to fight corruption were deployed to ensuring good governance, the fight against corruption would have been half won.
Obanikoro said: “In an environment where we pay lip service to things that are fundamental to the lives of our people, the problem of corruption will continue. Leadership and followership go together.
“If a leader is not living up to the responsibility assigned to him, the follower should be strong enough to ask pertinent questions. Where we have passive citizens, the country will remain a nation of anything goes. The problem is with us, and not the system we operate.
On his part, Pedro who is also President General of ACAOSA said: “In my opinion, it is our system of poor governance that encourages corruption, which in turn undermines the economy.
“With a booming economy in the 1960s and 1970s, Nigeria was regarded as one of the most promising major emerging economy. But that was cut short due to corrosive effect of endemic corruption that subsequently took over.“Perhaps more than Nigeria week currency and rising inflation, the graft problem has undermined all vital institutions in the country and thwarted efforts to reduce poverty and catalyze sustainable growth in the country.
Also, the guest speaker, Chief Imam of Adangba Central Mosque, Idimu, Lagos, Sheik Abdulrahman Adangba said that women owe a greater responsibility in the fight against corruption.He said that for the fight against corruption to be reduced to the barest minimum in the country, women must actively be involved in the quest to eradicated materialism, which is the root cause of corruption.
Meanwhile, Babalola blamed appointment of politicians into the council of some of Nigerian universities for endemic corruption in the institutions.His words: “Members of the councils must be people who have special interest in the university and education. They should not be appointed because of political affiliations. A council is different from board of corporate entities like the Railway, CBN and NNPC, among others.
“However, the problem is that the Federal Government often equates a University Council with the board of government agencies where they appoint members of their political parties. After elections, they look at their contributions to the success of the party and compensate them with board appointments to enable them to make money.
The founder of the Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado-Ekiti in an interview with The Guardian, also said running a university is too expensive for government to continue to fund it and sought resuscitation of the Education Bank to allow students take loans and pay their tuition fees.
On the protracted crisis rocking the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Babalola, who was the Pro-Chancellor of the institution between 2000 and 2007, enjoined the Senate of the institution to set up an independent committee to investigate the Pro- Chancellor, Wale Babalakin (SAN) and principal officers.