Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto state (1999 – 2007) in his interview with Daily Sun, said that corruption in Nigeria is a common practice among citizens who demand money to support any political quest.
Even though he is currently on EFCC claws for corruption charges, Bafarawa applaud the administration of Buhari for taking a stance to fight official corruption in Nigeria and insisted he bare no grudges against Buhari over his ‘unjust’ arrest.
According to Bafarawa, “everyone is corrupt!”
“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 a person is or the ideology s/he has. All 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 electorates 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 also suggested there should be a new corruption awareness office – besides EFCC – to enlighten the public about dangers of corruption and also advised that public officials must also be held accountable and monitored.
“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.
“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 and those properties. Because of the laxity of the people, some others that comes 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.”
Speaking on other issues, Ahaji Attahiru Bafarawa in his opinion, said during the interview that Nigerians made a huge mistake when they frustrated former President GoodLuck Jonathan on fuel subsidy, that, which could have solved the economic problem Nigeria found itself today.
Bafarawa urged Nigerians to invest in Industries as an alternative means of livelihood other than seeking the easy ways of making money – Stealing Public funds.
Speaking about the ordeal that lead to his arrest Bafarawa said he turned himself in, since he isn’t guilty and had nothing to hide. He revealed he wasn’t in the country when EFCC came to his house to take him and that as soon as he returned, he reported to their office.