A former senator in the country, Senator Rowland Owie has lambasted former president, Olusegun Obasanjo for institutionalizing corruption during his regime as the President of the country. Owie said this while reacting to a recent comment made by the retired Military General on the state of the nation.
Obasanjo was recently quoted to have said, during a recent visit to the United States of America, that endemic corruption among the citizenry, especially those holding public offices, had prevented the country from growing.
Meanwhile, the former legislator, who was chief whip during Obasanjo’s administration between 1999 and 2003, affirmed that he was shocked to hear Obasanjo talking about corruption, “when his government was responsible for corruption in Nigeria”. Owie contends that: “Nigerians should remember that the foundation for corruption was laid when the military regime of Murtala/Obasanjo sacked public servants, a majority of whom were dedicated to their fatherland.” According to him, it was because of this action, that public officers realised that their tenures were no longer permanent and it encouraged corrupt practices in public offices.
He also disclosed that between 1999 and 2007, when Obasanjo was the president, Nigeria had witnessed monumental corruption in public service, including those he (Obasanjo) personally manipulated. He stated: “Between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo finally institutionalized corruption. Has he told Nigerians the actual cost of the Abuja National Stadium? He privatized the Ajaokuta Steel, Delta Steel Aladja, NITEL, Itakpe Iron Ore and several others. Where are the proceeds? He ruined the privatized companies and sent thousands of Nigerians into the unemployment market.
“What of his 200 million shares in blind trust in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja? What of the $16.5 billion for the development of the power sector? Obasanjo should stop playing to the gallery.”