By Jude Atupulazi
Former Anambra Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, has advised the Church to be more critical in the fight against corruption. Obi, who spoke on the theme, “The Church and Good Governance” at All Souls Church, Lekki, as the Guest Lecturer at the Centenary Anniversary of the Diocese of Lagos Anglican Communion, traced the problem of Nigeria to cumulative years of bad leadership.
He said all institutions in the country, including the Church, contributed to that failure, either through commission or omission.
‘By blessing poor people who suddenly make money in government and come to Church for thanksgiving, rather than calling police for them, the Church is not showing right example,’ Obi said, emphasizing the need for the Church to be conscious of being the conscience of the world.
To reduce corruption, Obi said that Government must make deliberate efforts to reduce the many ”toll gates” by changing her procurement processes to ensure that money moved directly to institutions they were meant for. Using his time as the Governor of Anambra State for example, Obi said that money meant for schools were given to them directly and that it was one of the reasons Anambra achieved so much in education, moving from number 27 to number 1.
Obi also spoke of the exceptionally high cost of governance and proffered solution.
‘As the Governor of Anambra, I reduced the cost of governance through eliminating many unnecessary things our people make part of government such as long convoys, maintaining multiple guests houses, travelling with a retinue of aides, among others. By the time you know it, I had excess money to meet our obligations including clearing arrears of pension to the tune of about 35 billion Naira and saving over 75 billion Naira for the state as at the day I left office,’ Obi said.
Other speakers – Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN and Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae reminded the Church that she was expected to be the moral compass of world.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, thanked the organizers, as well as the speakers, for proffering solutions to the problem of corruption. Describing corruption as a complex phenomenon affecting all the countries of the world, he said Nigeria’s own peculiar complexity lay in the fact that when other countries caught corrupt people and sent them to jail, such people in Nigeria went to the senate and started making laws for the country.
Echoing Peter Obi, he said if rich Nigerians and those in government did not, due to corruption, take care of the poor, one day the poor would not allow them to sleep.