Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has urged Nigerian leaders to start working toward a country built on competence and commitment in the fight against corruption.
Mr Obi said this while addressing the audience at the 10th anniversary memorial celebration organised by The Chinua Achebe Foundation. He said leaders in Africa’s biggest economy must be committed to the rule of law.
The former Anambra governor believes Nigeria can curb corruption if those at the helm of powers and their families do not steal public funds.
He stated, “People say that fighting corruption is not easy, but it is very easy. If you are in charge and you are not stealing, your wife is not stealing; your children are not stealing.
“Also, those working with you will not have any reason to steal, and you must have reduced corruption by over 50 per cent.”
Mr Obi recalled how, as governor, he met a state ranked 27th of the 36 states in education but made concerted efforts by handing schools over to missions and pumping funds into the sector.
The LP standard bearer added that this was to ensure a very conducive atmosphere of learning. He said the state moved from that position to first and stayed there until he left office.
“We can start thinking of a new Nigeria with competence and capacity that is committed to fighting corruption. Is it possible to fight corruption? The answer is yes!
“The trouble with Nigeria is self-inflicted. If Achebe were alive, he would have taken back the book.
“When he wrote it, there was no trouble. Now, there is real trouble in Nigeria. Rascality has become a measure of success in Nigeria. That must change,” Mr Obi stated.
The presidential candidate said that the late Achebe was spot on in identifying Nigeria’s troubles as leadership-induced.
He said the globally celebrated writer of ‘Things Fall Apart’ would weep bitterly today if he came back to observe how the country had deteriorated after 40 years of his warning for positive change.
According to him, the Nigerian problem is the unwillingness of its leaders to rise to the responsibility of the challenge of personal example, which are the hallmarks of true leadership.