Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 general election, Peter Obi, has urged Nigerian leaders to start working toward a country built on competence and commitment in the fight against corruption.
Obi, who is a former two-term Governor of Anambra State, made this known when he spoke in Lagos on Saturday.
The presidential candidate while addressing the audience at the 10th Anniversary Memorial Celebration organised by The Chinua Achebe Foundation, said leaders in Africa’s biggest economy must be committed to the rule of law.
Obi recalled how as governor he met a state that was ranked 27th out of the 36 states of Nigeria in education, but that with concerted efforts through handing schools over to missions and pumping funds into the sector made it number one.
He said: “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 was 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.
“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 percent.”
The presidential candidate said 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 his dear country had deteriorated after 40 years of his warning for positive change.
Obi described Achebe, who taught him the English Language at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as a man whose works defined him as one imbued with communal awareness to put in great efforts to better the society.
The LP standard bearer impressively summarised the characters in Achebe’s books as sacrificing whatever it took, including their lives, to better the lots of their people.
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.