Nigeria needs moral leaders to kill corruption —Buhari
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (left), receiving an award as Grand Patron of Save Democracy Group Africa, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, from former Deputy Senate President/National Council Chairman, Save Democracy Group Africa, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, at the summit of the group, in Abuja, on Monday. With them is the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki. PHOTO: NAN
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, said Nigeria can only tackle corruption successfully if it gets moral leaders who will not steal the commonwealth.
The president, who made the submission in a speech presented on his behalf by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the opening ceremony of the National Political Summit in Abuja, said for the country to sustain its democracy and gain respect across Africa, it must evolve moral leaders.
The summit, organised by the Save Democracy Africa, headed by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Ghali Umar Na’Abba, had as its theme: 2015 General Election: The Gains and Building Positive Political Culture for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria.”
According to the president, “every step to the balance of a stable democracy is worth it. My support for sustained dialogue amongst political stakeholders and key actors in our country will help in speeding up the political evolution of our country, grow our politics, building understanding and definitely help our people.
“For the Save Democracy Group Africa, as the name implies, has one objective of positively impacting the different culture in Africa, politics at the end must serve the people, the task of nation building primarily rest on the political elite, the strength of democratic institutions also rely on the commitment of that same elite to the success of these institutions.
“I say selflessness and self respect because it requires a deep understanding of one’s role in the destiny of one’s people and those yet unborn to hold political power and yet allow one’s self to be subject to the rule of law and other restraining rules and conventions.”
Also peaking at the summit, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said Nigerians were no longer attuned to excuses from public office holders, adding that the countrymen would vote out any leader who fails to perform.
Saraki said the Eighth Senate, under his leadership, would ensure that there was no longer room for diversion of public funds.
According to him, the National Assembly would work with the executive to fight corruption in all sectors, adding that discretionary spending of government resources, unbudgeted expenditures, procurement abuses and diversion of public monies must stop.
“The 2015 general election has changed Nigeria for good. Its implications will continue to redefine the Nigerian political space for sometime to come. For the first time, the voice of the Nigerian people was definitive and unmistakable. They wanted change.
“For those of us who, by this election, have been entrusted with shaping the destination we travel from now, there is a clear and distinct warning, the change demanded by Nigerians from the 2015 election are not without consequences. The victory was won out of turmoil and strife. It was an election won on the belief that Nigeria, together, is our best chance of becoming the greatest of all black nations,” he said.
Saraki added that Nigerians had called on their leaders to stamp out corruption, improve governance, accountability, transparency, service delivery and human right protection, adding that the National Assembly was ready to roll out an array of reforms to ensure accountability.
In his presentation at the summit, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, said the decision of the legislature to stop the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo was the greatest achievements of the Nigerian legislature.
He said the decision by the lawmakers helped to save Nigeria’s democracy from going the way of some emerging democracies in Africa, adding that the legislature had contributed immensely to the stability of Nigeria’s democracy.
He said the 2015 general election was a success as technology impacted greatly on the exercise, adding, however, that there was the need to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate electronic voting.
“Perhaps, the greatest achievement of the legislature in Nigeria was the unanimous rejection of the third term bid of former President Obasanjo,” he said, adding that the National Assembly was vehement in its rejection of a proposal to elongate the tenure of the president to 12 years.
Meanwhile, a former interim leader of the Government of Liberia, Professor Amos Sawyer, has said Nigeria needed to build on the outcome of the 2015 elections.
Speaking on the topic: “Building positive Political Culture for Sustainable Democracy in Africa,” Sawyer, at the summit on Monday, said the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria was historic, adding that its success averted breakdown of law and order in spite of tension prior to the poll.
Elder statesman, Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, who also spoke at the event, said if Nigeria as a country must get it right, it must revisit and revive the past and produce leaders that would not steal.
In his opening remarks, the Director- General, Save Democracy Group Africa, Dr Ifedi Okwenna, had stated that the summit would be an annual event, adding that the concept was put together in the absence of credible platform for continuous dialogue in Africa.