A group, African Women for Change Network, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The group’s Executive Director, Mrs Josephine Okpara, made this known during a freedom rally in Lagos on Wednesday.
Mrs Okpara said the President’s commitment to the war on corruption has yielded results as money is being recovered from thieves that stole the country blind while the system has been tightened to make theft of public resources less easy than it was under the previous regimes.
She said: “Thank you for making out time to be present here at this FREEDOM RALLY FOR ONE NIGERIA, which was put together for Nigerians to reassert themselves as the ultimate stakeholder in the determination of the affairs of the country. The previous years have been period when a select few not only arrogated to themselves the monopoly of being the sole deciders of our collective fate but they went ahead to allocate the entire country to themselves. Now that they see that the people have gotten true leaders that are committed to making life better for them.
“This has manifested under the previous administrations by way of political office holders turning the public treasury into personal expense accounts from where they channel public funds into local and overseas accounts, set up their own children at the expense of destroying the economy, provoke impoverished populations into becoming terrorists and all other forms of impunity that had programme the nation to collapse at some point.
“These crimes were well hidden by making crumbs available for the larger population to subsist on in exchange for being indifferent to the damages being done. Nigerians were made to accept the food of today as opposed to being taught to embrace the value of sacrifice to build durable infrastructure and institutions that will outlive those that built them.
“Africa Women Arise for Change Network is pleased that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was bold enough to marshal the political will and determination to break away from the destructive cycle that was once the norm in the land. Mr President’s commitment to the war on corruption has yielded results as money is being recovered from thieves that stole us blind while the system has been tightened to make theft of public resources less easy than it was under the previous regimes.
“We understand that the war on corruption has limited access to slush funds for all Nigerians, which has in turn caused people to tighten their belts and reassess their economic choices. The chorus of hard times across the land is therefore understandable in the context of people having to re-learn allocating resources based on their genuine incomes. It is however reassuring that the decision that gave rise to this feeling of doom will eventually lead to sunny times ahead.
“Such positive outcome has pre-conditions, one of which is that citizens must buy into ongoing reforms and stick to it until the end. This is why we are holding this rally to remind ourselves that what we are experiencing in the country today is a natural consequence of trying to do the right thing after several years of following wrong processes. We also see our present experience as a phase at which laying the foundation for future prosperity is coming with seeming pains.
“The Freedom Rally for One Nigeria is further to remind us all that we should not allow those who once tried to destroy the country to succeed. Such people have been trying to use the impact of the anti-corruption war to incite Nigerians against the government and against themselves. We have seen them bellyaching and daily creating the impression that we are not making progress as a country while the reverse is the case.
“Progress is being made under the government of President Buhari and the Freedom Rally for One Nigeria aligns totally with this progress. We are for progress and development under President Buhari. It is something we want to continue. But unfortunately, those that have truncated the fortunes of the country want to be allowed to keep sabotaging the country.
“Most tragically but unsurprisingly, a former president is the arrowhead of this misguided group. He has used the pedestal of the esteemed office he once occupied as a platform to launch attacks on a government that has succeeded in delivering to Nigerians what he failed to deliver in the eight years he led the country and things his party was not been able to deliver in the sixteen years it held Nigeria hostage. Had he and his party laid the right foundation for Nigeria, the country would by now be past the stage where the present government has to begin building the nation afresh from the ground up.
“His failure to build systems and institutions with preference for being the strong man has done untold damage to the psyche of the nation. The present administration is constrained to begin rebuilding critical national institutions while reintroducing systems that should have been in place long before it came into office. We do not want to venture into the parlous state of critical national infrastructure that are only now being built. Yet, in those eight and sixteen years, the country was bled dry, verging on the point of death while the enemies of the land pretended to be making giant strides.
“We appeal to President Buhari to focus on the task of rescuing Nigeria from strangleholds while he remains undeterred by the attacks. We further urge Mr President to acknowledge that the time for niceties are over as the reality on ground demands that the nation gets to the root of its problems without fail. For instance, we know that the violence affecting part of the country is not unconnected with the tendency for certain people with influence to maintain killer squads, which get out of control once their sponsors are out of power.
“Mr President should henceforth allow the relevant security and anti-corruption agencies dispense with the requirement to un-necessarily treat former Presidents as untouchables so that the anti-terror and anti-corruption wars can go on successfully. This is especially so when they have been proven to be strategic to the continued unity of the country as the corrupt people are the ones financing terrorists and separatists that are bent on destroying the country.