In a paper entitled, ‘Nigeria: Towards the creation of incentives and structures for good governance’ at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Faculty of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Soludo observed that it is no longer complimentary to describe somebody as a politician, adding that to many people, a politician is a liar, a corrupt person, a thug or simply a dishonourable person.
His words: “My experience so far tells me that Nigeria is in deep trouble. Even when I joined government in 2003 as the chief economic adviser to the president, not a few people were concerned that such a decent scholar should join government. When I indicated interest to contest an election to govern Anambra State, which everyone agreed is Nigeria s textbook example of opportunities squandered, there was uproar.
“Everywhere I went, dozens of questions were asked why I should stoop so low. Many were indeed surprised that I could become the candidate of my political party in spite of the army of opposition. My reading of all the concerns was that people not only agreed that things were too bad, but that they had in fact given up any hope of redemption.
“But my most useful years were the years I was into the murky waters of politics. I have no regrets because there was contribution to make, otherwise we allow hoodlums to take over.”
Former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who chaired the occasion described corruption as the greatest impediment to good governance in the country.
According to him, apart from fueling the mismanagement of the country’s resources, corruption detracts from the character of the people and impugns the integrity of the leadership at all levels of governance.
‘At the moment, the entire nation is treated to the mind-bugling and sickening details that are coming out from the fuel subsidy probe and the police pension scam. Misappropriation of public funds used to be described in millions, now it is reported in billions and even trillions.
“Corruption has so seriously eaten deep into the fabric of our society that it has virtually swallowed up our collective values. There is hardly any sector of our national life that has been spared this affliction,” Anyaoku said.
By VINCENT UJUMADU