Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has attributed government’s difficulties in finding the right people for nation building tasks to the extreme level of corruption in Nigeria especially in the judiciary and legislature.
According to a statement issued on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the Vice-President spoke on the theme, “Change agents in nation-building,” at the annual dinner of the Apostles In The Market Place on Saturday in Lagos.
He said it was regrettable that the administration was operating in a system “where the norm is corrupt behaviour across all arms of government.
“I have had several long discussions with President Buhari, the key issue always is finding the right persons for any task; a tough task indeed in a corrupt system.
“This is a system where the norm is corrupt behaviour across all arms of formal systems of governance. In such a system, the private sector is a strong collaborator. The fight against corruption is then a fight against the system,” the Vice-President was quoted to have said.
Osinbajo said a critical assessment of the list of corrupt persons would show that they cut across tribal, ethnic and religious lines.
He said such corrupt persons and their collaborators were enshrined in the legislature, the judiciary and even in the press.
He said those who belonged to the group of corrupt persons always “protect one another’s interest and are ready to go down with any of their own.”
The Vice-President said, “When you look at any list of alleged perpetrators of a heinous case of corruption, all tribes, ethnicities and religions are well represented.
“In other words, high-level corruption knows no religion or ethnicity.
“Such perpetrators and conspirators are in governments, the legislature, the judiciary and the press. They are united, they protect one another, they fight for one another and they are prepared to go down together.
“They are one tribe and indivisible, regardless of diversity. It is this tribe that confuses the arguments for change in society.”
Osinbajo added that such a corrupt system can hardly deliver public goods.
While wondering how many new roads the Federal Government managed to build in the last 10 years, the Vice-President sought an explanation on the whereabouts of the billions of dollars realised when the price of oil was over $100 per barrel.
He added that the revelations on the alleged theft of funds meant to procure arms for the military to defend the nation demonstrated the moral ambivalence that pervaded the system.
“That system needs to be dismantled if the nation is to progress.
“Nigeria’s greatest battle is the one to bring integrity and accountability to public service and the private sector.
“This requires a new way of thinking, a new crop of leadership and a new tribe. The challenge today for us all – friends and colleagues, is to populate that new tribe,” he said.
Osinbajo said the new tribe of Nigerians must be ready to fight and dismantle the corrupt system in the nation’s private and public sectors.
“We need a new tribe of men and women of all faith, tribes and ethnicities.
“This will be a tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraints that are crucial to building a strong society; who are prepared to stick together, fight corruption side-by-side, and insist on justice even when our friends are at the receiving end,” he added.