Professor Banji Akintoye

Banji Stephen Akintoye, a foremost historian, has described corruption as an instrument deliberately chosen to govern the people. 

He spoke during the weekend, at the public lecture to mark the 10th anniversary of Adaba 88.9 FM, a radio station in Akure, Ondo State, on the theme: 'Nigeria: Signs Of Our Time’, held at Bash Event Centre, in Akure.

Akintoye, a second republic Senator, noted that corruption had been used to dominate the country's polity by the political class.

He said: "The truth is that corruption was chosen deliberately as an instrument of governance and control in Nigeria. 

"I saw it as I sat on the floor of the Senate for four years. I saw the instrument of corruption being manipulated and involved. We talked about it; we stood up against it, but we were rejected, because the voice of the majority was more than the minority.

"We have leaders that wanted to use corruption to dominate and control Nigeria. I saw it in the Shagari administration. From the centre, a lot of corruption is happening. Also, under the military government of Ibrahim Babangida, it really opened. But the totality of it is that corruption has succeeded so massively in our society. 

"The truth of the matter is that corruption is the king over Nigeria, from the top to the bottom, and the result is that the ordinary duty of the government to the people of Nigeria has disastrously collapsed."

He traced the problem confronting Nigeria to the colonial era, noting that the British lacked the understanding of a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria, before handing over the baton of leadership to nationalists. 

He said: "Nigeria is going through a moment of numerous crises. The root of it all is that after we had been gathered together as a country, we have never sat down to decide what type of country we really want.

"We are essentially jumbo; jumbo of different nationalities, with its culture, territory, and agenda, and it has happened over the years since Independence.

"The British didn't know what to do with us for a start. But they didn't know how to bring all of us together as a country. The people in control of the Federal Government were given the power to control the rest of Nigeria; it was a folly federation.

"It’s not a proper federation; that's the truth of our situation in Nigeria and what developed from that are conflicts of independent national agendas."

He affirmed the need to call a colloquium on the way forward for the country. 

In his view, "Let the leaders of Yoruba, Ijaw, Fulani, Hausa, Igbo, among others, come out and hold a national stakeholders’ meeting and decide on it before it’s too late. There will be no way to sustain this country if these are to continue. The political party around Goodluck Jonathan began to break up; the political party around Muhammadu Buhari is now breaking up. 

"So, we have things to attend to, but we are not attending to them. I love Nigeria, but I fear for Nigeria.”

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