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90-year-old former Switzerland ambassador explains how corruption began in Nigeria

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A former Nigerian ambassador to Switzerland, Yahaya Kwande, has explained why the anti-corruption campaign embarked upon by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration would fail.

The 90-year-old said that the anti-corruption fight would fail because the people could not identify with it as it has no bearing on their everyday lives.

According to Kwande, who spoke to Daily Sun, news of the seizing of billions from corrupt elements do not positively affect Nigerians because policemen still extort them daily on the roads.

Asked if Buhari’s anti-corruption fight would yield any result, the elder statesman said, “It’s nonsense, what result is it yielding if the ordinary man will not feel happy that his money is his money, and the taxi driver that manages to get some money to buy an old vehicle so that he will pick, N20, N20 on the road, only to share with somebody that is being paid and you are still shouting that you are stopping bribery and corruption because you recovered N10 billion from somebody that has kept it somewhere? Does the poor man care; does he know what is a billion? What bribery are you talking about that you are stopping?”

Meanwhile, Kwande revealed that corruption began in the country due to citizen’s lack of contention, saying that corrupt government officials deserved less blame than the citizens that pressure them into stealing through unreasonable demands.

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He said, “I said don’t blame the officials; blame the ordinary Nigerians. They are the corrupt people not the representatives. In someone’s village there might be a teacher, a very good teacher that is helping the community, he is their light. Then time comes he want to contest but there is no money but they manage to put him in, he is now member of the state Assembly or House of Representatives, or Senate, poor man. On the day he was sworn-in he comes back to now look into his own little hut that he has built, he will find 1000 people waiting to take their own with numerous complaint, ‘my wife is sick, my son cannot go to school,’ you don’t ask him where he will get the money from, you want him to go and sit on a minister that he is over sighting to ask for money to approve your budget? When he gets it, he goes into his village and distribute so that they will elect him again next time. Who is the corrupt person? Is it him or the man that is forcing him to go and steal? It was so clear, I was standing in one of the distribution points during the election, and they were saying ‘how much are we giving the Police? How much are we giving INEC? They were not doing it as if they were afraid. These are officials that were to do their job and even the government that will stop it is saying how much are we going to give, estimate this for that, estimate that for this and you say you are fighting corruption?”

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist. His views are always the end products of a deliberate search for information and knowledge. He has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He is an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming. If you know the capitals of 45 African countries by heart, then you are exactly like him.

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