The Convener of Save Nigeria Group (SNG) and Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos, Tunde Bakare, yesterday accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of rasing the bar of corruption in Nigeria, despite what he termed as the ex-president’s “supposed achievements” in office.
Bakare made the assertion at the 10th Chief Gani Fawehinmi Annual Lecture/Symposium organised by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch with a theme titled “Nigeria at Centenary: A Nation Still in Bondage? The event was chaired by former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd.).
According to the cleric, Obasanjo raised the mountain of corruption to an unimaginable peak despite the golden opportunity presented to him to liberate the country after his ascension to the highest office in the land.
He said, “Media was censored, outspoken critics were targeted and judicial decisions were subjected to executive interpretations. Meanwhile, Obasanjo himself raised the mountain of corruption to an unimaginable level.
“As apathy set in among the electorate, General Obasanjo, indignant that he could not foist third term agenda on Nigeria, imposed sick president on the nation through a fraudulent election, I beg your pardon, selection, overseen by Prof. Maurice Iwu”.
He also said Obasanjo’s supposed achievement in office had no significant impact on the people’s lives.
Bakare, who threw his weight behind the convocation of “a people-driven” national conference, said the atmosphere of abundance created when Obasanjo assumed office in 1999, provided a breeding ground for personal aggrandizement across all levels of government.
The one-time presidential running mate in the 2011 election under the platform of the now defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) said, “The atmosphere of abundance provided the breeding ground for personal aggrandisement as politicians, from the Presidency to the state and local governments, helped themselves to the nation’s resources.
“Then, complacency set in as General Obasanjo, satisfied with his supposed achievements, which however did not reflect significantly in the living condition of the average Nigerian, sought to perpetuate himself in power and so unleashed the machinery of state against perceived enemies among the political class”.
Bakare also addressed the present structure of federalism in the country, saying it has prevented the birth and development of true nationhood.
According to him, “With a culture of corruption, impunity and sectional interest that pervades every sector and every level of the social cadre; and with pseudo-federal structure that constrains the birth and development of true nationhood, Nigeria is not yet free.
“The capacity of the constituents to develop at their respective paces has been hindered because institutions in the country only serve the interest of a privileged few who have cornered the resources of our country.
“The country cannot develop with a judiciary that will set free perpetrators of multibillion naira theft and send pepper and onion thieves to jail; not with legislatures that consume the greater percentage of the country’s recurrent expenditure, making laws that have no bearing on the welfare of the people and defending positions like child marriage that perpetuate socio- economic bondage”, he stressed.