Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday, upbraided some Nigeria governors for living like emperors while asking Nigerian citizens to make sacrifices so as to survive this difficult time.
Obasanjo made the statement while speaking as the chairman of the inaugural conference of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy(ISGPP), at the University of Ibadan.
He noted that in 1999 when he became the president of Nigeria, he set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to wage war against corruption, which he recognised as a hindrance towards the growth of Nigeria.
Obasanjo stated that after he left office in 2007, corruption became an order of the day in the country resulting in the loss of billions of dollars from the Nigerian economy.
“Leaders who call for sacrifice from the citizenry cannot be living in obscene opulence. We must address these foundational issues to make the economy work, to strengthen our institutions, build public confidence in government and deal with our peace and security challenges.
“We must address the issue of employment for our teeming population particularly for our youths. Leadership must mentor the young, and provide them with hope about their future as part of a process of inter-generational conversation.
“Nigeria is a country where some governors have become sole administrators, acting like emperors. These governors have rendered public institutions irrelevant and useless.
“Is there development work going on in the 774 constitutionally recognised local government councils, which have been merely appropriated as private estates of some governors?
“Some governors have hijacked the resources of the local governments and this has crippled the developments of the local government councils in the country. The National Assembly must also open its budgets to public scrutiny.
“The drastic fall in the price of oil in the international market has unraveled the weakness of governance in Nigeria. The Minister of Finance has recently announced that the 2016 budget deficit may be increased from the current N2.2 trillion in the draft document before the National Assembly, to N3 trillion due to decline in the price of crude oil.
“If the current fiscal challenge is not creatively addressed, Nigeria may be on its way to another episode of debt overhang which may not be good for the country.”