General Overseer of Latter Rain Assembly Pastor Tunde Bakare has said despite evidence of a high level of corruption in public and private life, President Muhammadu Buhari can win the war on corruption.
He spoke in Lagos weekend at the the launch of the Onyekachi Ubani Foundation (MOU) by Second Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Monday Ubani.
Dignitaries at the event included President Buhari, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, among others.
Bakare, who was represented by Segun Oloketuyi, managing director of Wema Bank Plc, delivered the keynote speech on the theme: ‘The system that allows massive corruption in Nigeria must be a bad system’.
Under military rule, he said Nigeria became synonymous with corruption, and this was carried on “through 17 years of civil governance.” He blamed this on an “expectation and demand culture” leading to an attitude of impunity.
“Despite the emergence of a new government on the heels of a strong anti-corruption campaign, despite the credence lent to this anti-corruption promise by the antecedent of President Buhari, and despite global acknowledgement that Nigeria has taken shovel loads off the peak of this mountain of filth, the stench of corruption remains “fantastically” horrible with the rest of the world turning their noses away in disgust and derision,” Bakare added.
Nevertheless, he noted that Nigerians are essentially not corrupt and gave instances of the airport cleaner, who found and returned N12 million and Buhari’s declaration to be incorruptible, which has gone unchallenged.
Bakare added: “Therefore, I am confident that there is hope. What is urgently required is the redefinition of our value system along the lines of probity and integrity by highlighting our anti-corruption narrative. Then, upon that foundation, we must build a corruption-tight system that reinforces this narrative and eliminates the contrary. This task of refabricating society is a collective responsibility that must involve all, the government as well as the governed.”
Earlier, in his welcome address President Buhari commended the vision of the foundation.
He said: “It is significant that the foundation is dedicated to helping the poor and needy in the society and also to celebrate those who made our country proud with virtuous acts.
“Barrister Ubani, you have decided to improve other peoples’ lives in your own little way, Very inspiring. If this is the heartbeat of more privileged Nigerians, then the burden of government will be a lot lightened.”
Responding, Ubani said the society will continue to breed miscreants if the wealthy do not assist the poor.
“The consequences of not being our Brother’s Keeper is what bred Boko Haram; it is currently breeding other societal miscreants all over the place. God knows what else, what next, where else, when next the next terror will hit us. The danger is growing within; it is drawing nearer and nearer to our door step, just as the storm gathers,” he said.
Ubani noted that he decided to set up the foundation because there was a limit to how many people he could personally help.
“There is a limit to how many Nigerians a Good Samaritan with limited resources can help, but I am convinced that if I get your support in your capacity as an empowered Nigerian, together we can create a system that will lift a majority of Nigerians, young and old, out of poverty and hunger. It takes just a little more creative thinking and brainstorming to build that enabling structure outside of the box.”