JETHRO IBILEKE/Benin

Nigerian leaders have been criticised by former President Olusegun Obasanjo for attempting to cover up issues of corruption and security challenges bedeviling the nation despite immense revelations of such cases on a daily basis.

Obasanjo who expressed despair and frustration, salso stated that enough was not also being done on the issue of security by those in charge.

He spoke this morning in Benin, Edo state, after a courtesy call on Governor Adams Oshiomhole at the Government House.

Olusegun Obasanjo: blast leaders' attitude on Corruption

Olusegun Obasanjo: blast leaders’ attitude on Corruption

Obasanjo who was in Benin City to deliver the first memorial lecture in honour of late chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr Abel Guobadia, organised by the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), described the late Guobadia as the “unsung Nigerian who was pivotal to our today’s democracy.”

Commenting on the issue of corruption and security, Obasanjo said; “How many times are you going to flog this horse? I have flogged the horse of corruption, I have flogged it internally, externally. I flogged it every day. Some people go along with me, they agree that it is a problem that we have to face squarely. Some people abuse me, some people do all sorts of things but the point is that when you have a problem and you attempt to cover it, you are not solving the problem. If anything, you are complicating the problem.

“Even security, I have talked about it, I have been called names. I have gone out to go and find out on fact finding, I have found out what is there and what is not there, I have talked, I have reported, I have nothing more to hide.”

The former President said he launched his Foundation in London recently to enable him access resources needed to service the African Continent.

“It is an African-wide foundation. If I based it only in Nigeria it will not have access to all the 54 countries of Africa that I want to touch. We want to be able to tap resources from outside Africa to be able to do good in Africa.”

According to Obasanjo, the indigenisation policy of the military administration did not work, and that that necessitated his ambitious drive for privatisation and market driven economy as President in 1999.

Obasanjo who commended Governor Oshiomhole on his efforts to develop Edo state, described him as one who has developed from radicalism to realism.

“I now see a governor who once lived a life of radicalism but he is now living a life of realism, but we all do that. I was head of state and I believed that there was no way to manage the Nigerian economy except by Indigenisation and we went out for indigenisation but the truth is that indigenisation did not succeed the way we wanted it to succeed. So when I had the second opportunity, when God gave me the second chance, I learnt from my past and I became an apostle of genuine private sector, direct foreign investment, free market economy. I can see the sign, before the state was run down, but it is now being run up. I commend the work you are doing.”

Responding, Oshiomhole said he learnt the art of being strict on decisions from the former president when he (Oshiomhole) was the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).

“As president of the NLC, I had that privileged opportunity to relate with you and to learn one or two things from your style and your courage when it comes to taking major decisions which every leadership requires to be able to drive changes. In Edo we are trying to refocus it, reinvent governance and give our people confidence that democracy can work and indeed it is working. We are able to deliver some critical areas of infrastructure.”