By Romoke W. Ahmad
Ilorin — The Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, William Stuart Symington, says disregard for justice and rule of law is more dangerous than stealing of public funds.
The US envoy stated this while responding to a question on the sideline of the convocation lecture of the University of Ilorin in Ilorin yesterday.
Symington delivered a lecture entitled “Citizen Leadership and the Link between Economic Diversity and Democratic Good Governance” where he said the task of making Nigeria is that of both the government and the citizenry.
Responding to a question on how the country could develop like the United States, Symington highlighted patriotism, selfless and transparent service, justice, and consistency in doing good as important factors and suggested that disregard of justice and the rule of law should be seen as greater form of corruption than stealing of money.
He said: “What many consider as the great corruption is stealing of money but what to me is the great corruption is when people are deprived justice, when you do things without regard to the rule of law.
The US envoy however said the process of making Nigeria great requires a collective effort of all the stakeholders with the citizens working with the government instead of only relying on government for improved fortunes.
Symington, who expressed belief in the future greatness of Nigeria, urged the citizens to always do at home what they do abroad “which is giving priority to their Nigerian identity as against tribal or regional one.”
He said insecurity and other challenges in the country would be surmounted if the citizens unite and work together.
“One of the most important things that I want you to leave today with is the idea that good governance can only come from strong independent citizens. So I think the right answer is there is no person who can make Nigeria more secure.
“There was that time in Nigeria when security was not the job of only the soldier and the police, but every village chief and every person who lived in the town was involved,” he said.