Former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa has described 90 percent of Nigerians as corrupt.
Bafarawa, who was recently questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for collecting money from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) wondered why states in Nigeria have suddenly gone broke after years of enjoying the windfall from oil.
“When I left office, I left behind N12 billion in the treasury. You can see the fortune that came the way of the nation between 2007 and 2015 when the price of oil rose to over $100 per barrel. One begins to wonder why those who enjoyed the huge oil revenue should be asking for bailout from the Federal Government,” Bafarawa told Vanguard in an interview.
“I can say that I left behind legacies that generations yet unborn will be very proud of. We had a good leader, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was committed to fighting corruption and he created many institutions like the EFCC and the ICPC to handle the job. Whatever name you want to give him; whether he did it for fighting corruption or for witch-hunting, at least, it assisted in fighting corruption. He laid a foundation, he realised there was corruption and he fought it. After he left, his successors -YarÁdua and Jonathan-did not do much to fight corruption and that exacerbated the monster in the land.
“Today, one can say that up to 90 percent of Nigerians are corrupt because when you go to the grassroots level, that is where corruption starts. The electorate will demand money before they elect you into office no matter how good you are, no matter the kind of ideology you have and intend to bring for their own good. If you don’t give them money, they would not support you. The game is that anyone who comes and shares money to them gets the support and nothing more,” the former governor said.
Bafarawa also explained his reason for supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption despite being one of the early victims of probe.
“My support for him stems from the fact that it is a blessing for Nigerians that Buhari’s administration is fighting corruption,” he said. “We shouldn’t see it as Buhari fighting corruption but something that all of us must join and ensure that it succeeds because Buhari can’t do it alone. It would also be dangerous if we ignore the fight against corruption because it will swallow the country.
“As I have said earlier when a huge amount of about $100 a barrel for crude oil is spent and all the money vanishes and government has to bail states out it shows clearly that something has gone wrong somewhere. Giving that bailout to state without the federal Government investigating what they did with their huge oil earnings was a bit hasty. I would have expected the President to raise a committee to probe how the states incurred their debts and how they arrived at seeking bailout and how they want to use the bailout funds.
“For this administration to succeed in fighting corruption, the government must involve not just the EFCC and ICPC but also other Nigerians. The government must open an office for public awareness for fighting corruption.”