Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, yesterday, said Nigeria needed strong institutions to move the country forward.
Ribadu spoke at a “Mentor Me Forum” for youths organised by Group of Patriotic Corpers in Abuja.
“What Nigeria needs to realise its potentials is, unfortunately, not a mere change of leadership. We don’t need anyone from outer space to come organise our polity,” he said.
“We need ourselves—our virtues and belief in a collective struggle for good governance. What we need are functional institutions; we need institutions that pander to the principle of honesty and that socialise successions of citizens who will extol this principle.
“We need leaders for whom the sufferings of the masses are immediate concerns, not jokers that insult the yearnings and honest observations of the electorate. We need institutions in which the lawmakers gather to discuss the plight of their constituents, not losing their sense of our realities in the luxuries of the state and federal capitals.
“We need a judiciary that exerts its independence and resist any prejudice in the discharge of justice. We need a civil service that does not ask for bribes to do that for which they receive salaries. We need institutions! We need functional institutions to restore the lost glories and trust that make a sane nation.”
“Principally the collapse of our institutions is the real problem of the country. Our potentials are lost in our civic decadence, which stares at us in the face wherever we go: we see the decadence in the eyes of the policeman flipping through our particulars, we see the decadence in the eyes of the university registrar demanding for bribes to grant or facilitate admissions, we see the decadence in the eyes of every citizen who has lost hope in Nigeria.”
On his EFCC assignment, he said he has no regrets for fighting fraudsters to a standstill. He said “My appointment as Chairman of the EFCC, for instance, was a turbulent task in which I had to follow the statements of my previously written will to serve in a country where, for lack of functional institutions to check mismanagements of public funds and related criminal misconduct, trust in public institutions had become demolished and perpetrators went about wearing their crimes like badges of honour. ”
“I was given an appointment to stand in the way of these celebrated fraudsters—without an office and funds to launch my operations. My success at the EFCC, especially in resisting all tempting offers and calls to bend the rules, was a direct result of my vow from when I was like you that I will never be corrupt. I resented corruption not by lips of mouth but by personal conduct. I refused to be bribed or compromised throughout my public service career. Yet, I am ever happy with myself. I have no regrets that I don’t have mansions all over the world or own a private jet.”