The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and some other elders and prominent Nigerians say corruption has gone completely out of control in Nigeria.The elders, who spoke under the auspices of the Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance (NWGPG), said the country is on autopilot.
In a joint statement they say, “The result is that corruption has gone completely out of control, as there is a concerted effort to dismantle anti-corruption agencies and render them ineffective, while evidence of corruption is growing, the prosecution has slowed down considerably.”
Noting that it is time for citizens to act and that Nigerians needed not to agonize any longer but organize, the civil society actors added that “in the absence of a binding narrative, there are series of conspiracy theories that have emerged, with immense capacity to divide the country along the sharp lines of ethnicity and religion, which is further sustained by the absence of strategic communication between the Nigerian state and its citizens.”
They added “This situation is further heightening the level of desperation among the citizens that are increasingly being detached from the everyday governance of the Nigerian state.”
On insecurity, they regretted that the situation keep galloping towards the abyss all because of perceived lack of political will and the inability of the country’s security architecture to manage the multiple challenges adding that confidence towards the Nigerian state remained very low and worsening the divides in the federation and creating widespread demands for dialogue and consensus-building on restructuring, the group lamented the current government deaf-ear posture to realities in the country.
On the presidency’s habitual resort to attacks on those who air their views on happenings in the country, the group said:“Indeed, the presidency has adopted the strategy of responding to demands for an urgent and holistic review of the basic structures and governance processes of our nation with demeaning statements.
“This tendency to abuse those who legitimately ask those with the responsibility to listen to popular voices is alienating more Nigerians from the administration and playing into the hands of those who feed off desperation.”
On what should be done they said “The nation needs to adopt a sense of urgency in the way it deals with rapidly accumulating liabilities.
“Nigerians cannot wait for the convenience or pleasure of leaders in deciding what is essential.
“We must avoid the tendency to ignore our problems until they become a lot worse in terms of the capacities of leaders to deal with them.
They call on younger Nigerians, in particular, to get involved in the search for a future without current levels of bitterness and dislocations.”
Aside Cardinal Onaiyekan, others members of the group include Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd.), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, Dr. Nguyan Shaku Feese, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Adagbo Onoja, Amb. Fatima Balla, Amb. Zango Abdu, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Chris Kwaja, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Kemi Okenyodo, Jim Gala, Aisha Muhammed Oyebode and Tsema Yvonne.