Mr. Mogae said Nigeria was doing too little to address corruption
In remarks indicting of the Nigerian government, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, on Wednesday delivered stinging condemnations of Nigeria’s soaring corruption record, and the failure of the authorities and the populace to reverse the tide.
Mr. Mogae spoke at the 10th Daily Trust Dialogue, organized by Media Trust Limited in Abuja with the theme, “Nation Building: Challenges and Reality’’.
Mr. Mogae said Nigeria had developed tremendously over the years but more needed to be done to attain its full potential. He challenged Nigerians to do all that is necessary to halt corruption in the country.
“The practice of impunity must be stopped. You have the competence to stop corruption but you are not doing enough,’’ he said.
“A lot of development has taken place but the country is yet to realize its full potential. It, therefore, is your responsibility to do something about it.”
Mr. Mogae is a respected African leader who distinguished from the usual sit-tight, corrupt and abusive leaders. His tenure as Botswana’s president heralded economic growth, and lowered graft.
With a population of a little above two million people, Botswana remains amongst Africa’s leading economies, with a GDP of $29.7 billion and a per capita of $16.03 thousand.
Mr. Mogae won the esteemed Mo Ibrahim leadership prize in 2008, one of only a few former African leaders to have been so honored. He led the Commonwealth observer team to Nigeria’s general election in 2011.
The former president said Nigeria’s potential for greatness has been terribly stifled by corruption which is barely punished.
“It is said that out of every four Africans one is a Nigerian; it is criminal negligence not to address the issues of corruption that are combating the growth of the nation,” he said.
Annkio Briggs, a rights activist, in her speech, recommended that dialogue in nation building be a continuous process and should be taken to the states and all geopolitical zones.
She said there is too much distrust as a result of the diversity in language, which must be addressed in the interest of the nation.
Ms. Briggs said Nigerians pretend a lot and that there is a need to change the attitude for the nation to overcome its challenges.
“The problem with Nigerians is that we pretend a lot. We agree all is well even when they are not. The challenges facing the nation will remain elusive until we are ready to tell ourselves the truth,” she said.
“This is the only way we can save our children from the embarrassment of corruption. It is the responsibility of Nigerians to sit and discuss how to save Nigeria.’’
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