Years Of Poor Leadership In Northern Nigeria To Blame For Insecurity – ICPC Chair
The chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye, has blamed rising cases violent crimes and biting poverty in northern Nigeria on years of poor leadership in the region.
Mr Owasanoye spoke on the sideline of a conference in Lagos on Friday organised by Integrity Organisation, a nongovernmental body focused on encouraging the building of a culture of integrity across the socioeconomic and political sectors in Nigeria, and Africa by extension.
The law professor, who spoke on the theme; “Governance, leadership and Ethics: How to Build a Thriving Economy,” said if the socioeconomic challenges facing northern Nigeria is addressed, 50 per cent of Nigeria’s problems would have been successfully addressed.
He said over the years, rather than building strong economy through massive investment in education, health and entrepreneurship, leaders in northern Nigeria focused on giving handouts to few individuals and jettisoned the real fundamentals of nation building.
He said he was impressed by the escalation of insecurity in the land, which he noted had forced even the elite class to abandon the popular road transportation system for the rail system.
“Quote me, and I mean it, if we resolve the problems of the north, 50 per cent of Nigeria’s problem is solved,” he said.
“This is because the irresponsibility of the successive leadership in the region has built the monster which we now confront as a nation.
“If you have abandoned a people for a long time and someone cares to give you be it religious or economic solace, then why wouldn’t you jump at it? That is the reason recruitment has been easy for the insurgents and the bandits. But it is good all of us are now victims.
“The other day I was in the train, and one of the senior persons in government notified me he was also on the train, and I said even with your security detail you could not ply the road? He said did I want him to be kidnapped? Then we saw one of the immediate past ministers on the same train. I laughed and said maybe when all of us use this, we can develop the rail system and jointly confront the roots of the challenges.”
The ICPC boss said the new system put in place by his agency, especially on the constituency projects tracking initiative, is aimed at involving key stakeholders in the decision-making processes and how their inputs could help in tackling corruption.
He said Nigerians are fond of criticisms and condemnations but that when they are handed responsibilities they realise that things are quite different.
“That is why I say talk is cheap and we cannot be bullied to do what we shouldn’t do,” he said.
Mr Owasanoye, who until his appointment as ICPC chairman in February was the secretary Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said he is committed to leaving a lasting legacy in the business of fighting corrupt practices.
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