Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu has decried the corrupt leadership in Nigeria, saying they are so immersed in corruption, that they are no longer ashamed of being called thieves. Nigerians do not deserve the kind of leaders they have at the helm of affairs,”he said. The former governor spoke at a lecture at the NUJ Secretariat, GRA, Ibadan, capital of Oyo State. The lecture was titled, “Nigeria: A Nation in Quest of Credible Leadership”.Describing the nation’s public service as corruption driven, the ex-governor lamented that Nigerian civil servants are endemically corrupt stressing that they are the ones teaching politicians how to steal public fund. “The best and the worst corruption in Nigeria is inside the civil service”, he added
He equally lambasted the Nigerian legislators especially at the national level stressing that their corruption is incomprehensible. Has any senator or honourable rejected ‘Ghana must go’ in the National Assembly? All the legislators are culprits of corruption. During the third term bid, Ghana must go bags were going from Central Bank of Nigeria to the National Assembly anyhow and this money was not rejected by the legislators. People in government want to steal money that their great grandchildren will spend and pass on to their own grandchildren. Corruption in Nigeria has defied reasoning to the extent that people are not ashamed to be called thieves”, Kalu said.
Kalu equally clarified some allegations levied against his government and the relationship between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his mother who was alleged to be having illicit affair with the former president. He said, “Obasanjo knows my mother. My mother supports him but I don’t support Obasanjo. I don’t have any reason to support him. But I must say that I have forgiven him for all the sins he committed against me and my family. I did not award any contract to my mother when I was in power. My mother did not come to government house for once when I was in power because the house we were living before I became governor was far far better than the government house. I have been eating rice before Christmas. I was very rich before I became a governor. I didn’t go to the government house because of money. The government of Obasanjo damaged the business men who came into politics.”
Comparing the personality of Obasanjo to that of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Kalu said, “Jonathan is liberal to everybody. He is not a wicked man like the past president. He is tolerant.”
Earlier, during a courtesy visit to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Kalu called on politicians across various political divide in the state to support Governor Ajimobi in order to promote good governance and leadership in the state. According to Kalu, Nigerians should shun party sentiment in the process of choosing leaders, stressing that political party should no longer be the focal point in the selection of leaders in order to move the country forward.
“There should be no party differences in leadership. Whatever name you may give a party, whether you call it APC or PDP, what Nigerians need are leaders that will give them access to good water, electricity, good road network and good food on their tables. I call on all politicians to stop making parties to be the focal point in choosing leaders. Once election is over, members of PDP should support Your Excellency very well to run government because government is not a personal thing. You are neither governor of APC or PDP; you are governor of Oyo State. There are many people who are not card carrying members of any political party. Likewise, all of us, whether we are APC or PDP should also find time to support Governor Ajimobi in his bid to rebuild the state.”
The former governor also called on politicians in Nigeria to desist from politics of bitterness and rancor by giving total support to whoever emerged from a popular election irrespective of his political leaning, adding that this would ensure the enthronement of an egalitarian society and ensure development.
Responding, Governor Ajimobi thanked Kalu for the visit, stressing that he has had both private and official relationship with the former governor.
Governor Ajimobi said that his heart was gladdened when the former governor was talking about leadership, adding “leadership, to me, has always been an ability to take people to where they ought to be rather than where they want to be, and it takes a lot of courage to do that.”