The Director General of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Mr. Frank Nweke, Thursday called on all Nigerians to join hands in fighting the scourge of corruption.
Nweke, a former federal minister, made the call at a media workshop on Anti-Corruption under the United Nations Global Compact Initiative, organised by the group in Lagos.
He stressed that governance is an undertaking to serve the people and the citizens need to hold governments and their representatives accountable so that they can deliver on their promises to the people, who put them into positions of power in the first place.
According to him, “Why should the average citizen feel inferior to the person who was elected into office to serve? Government officials are there on our behalf and they must serve the people. In the developed climes, there are strong checks and balances in place to sanction offenders.”
While responding to a poser on the need for the leaders and authorities in Nigeria to spearhead the fight against corruption, Nweke asserted that political authority does not confer leadership on an individual.
“Everyone has a role to play; people must go to extra length to tackle corruption. Corruption undermines our lives in significant ways and it touches everyone and has denied us many basic benefits. Even within small offices and large ones, we see the issue of corruption. Corruption is corruption, good or bad. The attitude should be zero tolerance for corruption in Nigeria.”
To him, “We have been talking about the problem of corruption and the issue needs to be examined from various perspectives. The most important thing is that we must not give up the fight”.
Participants at the workshop, who were taken through various experiences and lessons on the incidence of corruption in Nigeria from way back till the present time, agreed on the need for the fight against corruption to be sustained.
While some blamed the growing incidence of corruption on the weak and corrupt leaders in the country, others insisted that the scourge has infiltrated every sector of the economy and every level of the society and that everyone is to blame.
There was a consensus on the need for all Nigerians to re-examine their values and to inculcate the right mindset against corruption right from the family level.
In a passionate and pointed presentation, the Editor of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja, urged media practitioners to get angry enough and ginger the general populace on the issue of corruption, and also to build enough capacity on the issue to make a difference for the collective good of the country.
He called for greater collaboration between the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in a united fight against corruption, and also stressed the need for greater use of the principle of naming and shaming, and urged governments to enforce greater sanctions on offenders and corrupt officials in a bid to curb corruption in the country.