Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, the former governor of Sokoto state, has claimed that most Nigerians are corrupt and that the menace has eaten deep into the system.
The former governor who is facing corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been unequivocal in his support for President Muhammadu Buhari in his fight against corruption.
In an interview with The Sun, Bafarawa said the issue of corruption is a common practice in Nigeria and is fueled by the people who demand for money to support a political candidate. He applauded the administration of Buhari for taking a strong stance to fight corruption.
He said: “Today, corruption has become a general thing as you can see that 90 per cent of Nigerians are corrupt, because when you go to the grassroots level, corruption starts from there. The electorate will demand money before voting a candidate, no matter how good such is or the ideology she has. All that the voter wants is how much the candidate is ready to give. Then he who is going for the election will first look for money, whether he borrowed from the bank or his godfather will sponsor him is immaterial. That is the beginning of corruption, from the grassroots to the local government level, state level to national level. The electorate are corrupt; the politicians are either corrupt or forced to be corrupt because when they get to the office they are elected for, their first concern is how to pay the money back. They cannot get this money without the collaboration of the civil servants, because governors do not write the memo or raise the voucher.
“The civil servants will collaborate in bringing out the money and then you can see how corruption spreads all over.
For the Buhari administration not to take part in corruption is a blessing to everybody. We should not see it as Buhari fighting corruption, but as a war, we should join hands to fight. Buhari cannot do it alone and the danger is that if corruption is ignored, it is going to swallow the country, because we can now see the danger of where we have found ourselves.”
Bafarawa suggested that corruption should not just be fought by EFCC but a public awareness should be done to prevent corruption rather than prosecute it alone.
“For this administration to survive the fight against corruption, it is just not about using EFCC or ICPC. I expect the government to open an office for public awareness against corruption, while at the same time the government is fighting corruption with the EFCC. Also, it should create an avenue for public awareness for fighting corruption, a special office should be opened for campaign for the electors for the common man to see the dangers of corruption. Before arresting people or taking any prosecutorial steps, we better start with how to prevent corruption instead of curing the ailment when it is already alive.”
He advised that public officials must be held accountable and monitored.
“In Nigeria, it is common to see someone that never had the means of owning a building get to the office of the local government chairman and leaves as the owner of the best mansion in the area.
“Also, someone who never had a little building when he became governor, leaves office with houses in almost every city in Nigeria and abroad.
“Yet, the society would not probe to find how he got the money to own the buildings he got while in office. Unless people realize that it is their money that got the person in power those property. Because of the laxity of the people, some others that come to power later have the same mindset of stealing and leaving without questions asked. Whenever Nigerians start asking questions on accountability from leaders, then things would change for good and the trend of corruption will come to an end. So, these are the things people see happening but take them as the norm. Today, Nigerians take politics as where to make easy money, therefore, everybody jumps out from professional services and training to join politics and get their share of the easy money.”
You may read the rest of the interview here.