The Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday challenged Nigerian workers to insist on a review of corrupt government policies by past administrations, saying past misdeeds should not be swept under the carpet.
Speaking at an anti-corruption rally organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Benin, Mr. Oshiomhole said even as workers demand probity and accountability from leaders, they also must shun corrupt practices in their places of work.
Mr. Oshiomhole said the country is gradually returning to the right track under President Muhammadu Buhari, recalling that those who raised a voice against corruption previously were punished.
“The [former] Central Bank governor, today an Emir of Kano, raised his voice against corrupt practices in the oil sector as a seasoned banker, an economist and, in his younger days, an activist in the student union movement.
“He showed numbers about the scale of money that was diverted from national treasury into private pockets or to put it more nicely, money that were not accounted for.
“There was not one single protest from labour, civil society, and religious leaders were criminally silent. Everything was fine and the CBN governor was taught his lessons and he was excused from the Central Bank.
“They have other allegations on how much we have spent on power. In the name of power generation, huge numbers were thrown on the floor of the National Assembly, panels were set up, people appeared and all manners of numbers were thrown around. In the end, nothing happened. We heard of huge contracts of N20 billion per kilometer to construct a 4-kilometer runway in Abuja at N80 billion.
“Enquiries were made, public hearing took place and in the end, the then Federal Executive Council said they had scaled down the amount from N80 billion to N40 billion. There were few newspaper editorials, but there was no protest from any on.
“So many things have happened and so many people kept quiet because it was hazardous to speak the truth.
“Today, because of the spirit of the president of the federal republic, Nigerians have courage to stand and be counted on the fight against corruption.
“Let me appeal to you comrades that there are a couple of things which we must all avoid doing. When a teacher approaches SUBEB to influence his transfer from my village to Auchi and part with N20,000 to get the transfer done, that is a corrupt practice. When a worker on level 14 approaches a traditional ruler to write a letter to the governor to be promoted to a permanent secretary over above level 15 and level 16, that is a corrupt practice.
“When we promote people on account of who they know rather than what they know, that is corrupt practice. When people put in 4 hours instead of 8 hours, that is corrupt practice. When we cover up those who were absent from work and mark that they were present that is corrupt practice.
“So in fighting against corruption, all those who are victims of state corruption must demand a review and a revocation of all of these transactions that did not meet the primary rule of transparency and accountability.
“We shall not let the sleeping dog lie because the dog is not sleeping, it is barking and if we do not, this crisis will continue,” said the governor.
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