Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
But for the ineptitude of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), most aspirants seeking endorsements for elective posts across the country should be in jail.
This was the damning verdict of former President Olusegun Obasanjo during his remarks at an international symposium with the theme ‘Africa Narrative with Nigeria Situation,’ held on Saturday at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State to mark his 85th birthday.
Stonix News reports that personalities such as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, former Senate President, Ayim Pius Ayim, among others have indicated interest in the presidential race ahead of 2023.
The former president noted that if EFCC and ICPC had diligently done their jobs, with the tacit support of the judiciary, most of the aspirants ought to be behind the bars.
The Owu Chief submitted that the process of building Nigeria must not be based on sentiments, ethnicity, bigotry, sectionalism, religion, regionalism or class.
He stressed that persons with no integrity should not be given any chance to oversee the country.
“I read and hear about endorsements and statements in support of candidates that I frankly have not made, forming next political parties that I can never get involved in.
“I was told that social media credited to me names of three people from the south that I am sponsoring for Presidency in 2023.
“My friend, Professor Ango Abdullahi, who brought this to my knowledge, remarked that he did not believe that I made such a statement because it was out of my character.
“I have neither named names nor stated my position. In situations like the one we are in, I will not rush into naming names without necessary consultations and well-defined principles and criteria.
“I cast a cursory look at some of the people running around and those for whom people are running around.
“If EFCC and ICPC would have done their jobs properly and supported adequately by the judiciary, most of them would be in jail.
“Any person who has no integrity in small things cannot have integrity in big things.
“Fixing Nigeria must begin on the principles of nation-building, not necessarily on emotion, sentiments, euphoria, ignorance, incompetence, ethnicity, nepotism, bigotry, sectionalism, regionalism, religion or class.
“Each contender must be properly x-rayed and profiled from birth and Nigerians must be educated to be able to make a choice that will be in the national interest and propel Nigeria forward.
“Such a person will have to lead what remains of the nation to courageously continue on the path of nation-building as a national team leader, no matter on what platform he or she assumes leadership. No one can do it alone.
“We must, however, stop sacrificing character, track records and performance on the altar of ethnic, regional or religious jingoism.
“As the watchman counts on daybreak, so too do I count on Nigerians and Nigeria to bring forth that person,” the octogenarian averred.