Akwa Ibom State governor Obong Godswill Akpabio yesterday said that Nigeria“has been drowning in a sea of corruption” and urgently needed men of goodwill like the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission(ICPC) to salvage the situation.
Speaking as the special guest at the ICPC Governors’ Forum, he lamented that “what is wrong with the country is that poor leadership by past leaders led to the problem of corruption”.
Corruption, he declared, ranges from stealing to inflation of contracts, adding that corruption occurs when leadership fails in the management of resources and lacks the ability and courage to plug loopholes in the economy.
“Our country has been drowning in a sea of corruption and we urgently need men of goodwill like you to salvage our situation. It is corruption when leaders take decisions on the basis of tribal sentiments, rather than common sense. It is corruption when projects are sited near the homes of those in authority and not in proximity to raw materials. It is corruption when a NAFDAC official tests a drug and certifies it as good because he has been financially compromised.
The drug would, thereafter, become a menace to society and lead to the death of innocent citizens. It is corruption when a customs official allows dangerous weapons to be smuggled into this country and such weapons are used to kill people,” the governor stated.
He spoke on the theme, “Good Governance and Transformation”. “If we must achieve good governance, we must collectively fight and stop corruption. Men and women in positions of influence in bodies such as anti-corruption and law-enforcement agencies should not use their positions to settle personal scores.
The man who banks government money and denies the people the fruit of democracy (like it was done in a particular state) and ends up leaving billions in the bank is guilty of denying the people the dividends of democracy. We must remember that justice delayed is justice denied. Such a man would breed discontent and cause social problems like Boko Haram. Like the Bible says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’,” he said.
Nonetheless, the governor praised President Jonathan: “We must commend the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of our nation for his transformational governance of our country. The imprints of transformation are manifest in the agricultural, power, health, transport and indeed all sectors of the economy.
His vision for our country bears eloquent testimony of this. Though beset with many challenges, he has done a difficult job well and made every patriotic Nigerian proud.”
The topic, “Good Governance and Transformation”, he said, was very apt, considering the last six years of his administration in Akwa Ibom State. “It is my candid belief that it was in appreciation of what we have done that you invited me to talk with you. Let me start by saying that we began our administration in 2007 by putting in place the principles of responsible governance.
We plugged all loopholes in the system and employed best practices in the management our resources. With a budgeting of over 80 per cent capital expenditure and less than 20 per cent recurrent, we were embarking on a journey of transformation of infrastructures.”
Earlier, the ICPC chairman, Ekpo Nta, who said the forum was apolitical, maintained that the commission deemed it right to periodically invite governors to come and share their experiences on strong and sustainable institutions for good governance. He said other governors would soon follow and that their selection would be based on public opinion.