From JUSTINA ASISHANA, Minna
NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka yesterday lamented that corruption has become a unifying factor and a language easily understood by Nigerians.
“Corruption unites us, very few things unite us in Nigeria as corruption does,” he said.
The Nobel Laureate said that instead of corruption to be treated with total disgust, it is now a status symbol in Nigeria, stressing that this has dampened development in the country.
Soyinka who was the Speaker at the 2nd Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu National Literary Colloquium in Minna remarked that corruption is now the language being understood by everyone, saying “Corruption does not have tribal, ethnic or religious differences. It is a language understood by everyone in Nigeria.”
Professor Soyinka who decried the continuous increase in the rate of bombing and kidnapping in several parts of the country said the crime, including kidnapping and bombings were not enough reasons to claim marginalization by any part of the country.
According to him, “Kidnapping is not because of unemployment but because of greed and criminal tendency to deprive others from their legitimate freedom.”
On the spate of killing of innocent people in some parts of the north, the Nobel Laureate said, “We must be able to distinguish between taking up arms against the government and declaring war on the nation.”
Speaking on the same issue, Niger State Governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said corruption should be fought with the same seriousness used in fighting terrorism in other nations.
“For us, fighting corruption with all seriousness is akin to fighting terrorism by other nations and should be our major pre-occupation,” he said.
Aliyu stated that the Second Africa Fraud Barometer findings which rated Nigeria as the most fraudulent country in Africa, the Transparency International which ranked Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt nation in the world, and the Global Terrorism Index which put the nation as the 7th most terrorized country in the world should be of concern to all Nigerians.
He therefore called on everyone to pay special attention to how Nigeria can succeed in changing the tide for the good of all.
Aliyu also expressed worry that the nation lacks effective institutions and legislations to punish culprits to deter others from engaging in crime, lamenting that, “What we get often is sensational reportage of the initial trials of corrupt public or private officials, many of whom find their ways to freedom.
“Before we make any progress at all as a nation, we must first tackle the problem of corruption both at individual, corporate and institutional levels. And we must all become whistle blowers to expose corruption and corrupt officials anywhere they may be found,” he emphasized.
Corruption now Nigeria’s unifying factor —Soyinka
From JUSTINA ASISHANA, Minna