A former Abia State Governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday, challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute former President Olusegun Obasanjo to prove the commitment of his administration to fighting corruption in all ramifications.
Kalu said this at the quarterly public lecture series of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) held in Abuja. He described his prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as politically motivated, declaring that he was innocent of all the allegations levelled against him by the anti-graft agency.
“My prosecution is political. Our accounts in Abia State were transparent under my watch. The U.S. knows, the UK knows. I have been given red carpets in these two countries. I have been given a red carpet in China. In fact, I am stronger in fighting corruption than President Buhari because he is not fighting it well. “Buhari has got some guts, but he should arrest Obasanjo for us to know that the president is fighting corruption.
Without arresting Obasanjo, he has not started fighting corruption because Obasanjo took away our $16 billion electricity money. So, unless he arrests Obasanjo, corruption is not being fought in Nigeria,” he said.
In his lecture titled “Culture, economy and good governance: The Nigerian experience,” the formergovernor applauded the economic diversification programme of the present administration, but called for adequate investment in culture and tourism.
According to him, Nigeria’s cultural diversity was a potent driver of its economic enhancement, explaining that each of the over 250 ethnic groups in the country has one cultural product or another; which if properly harnessed, would transform the national economy.
Nigeria, Kalu said, cannot make meaningful economic development in the absence of peace and security. He also said that the recent shock suffered by the economy which manifested as recession was because Nigeria had relied mainly on crude oil for several years, describing crude oil as a curse instead of blessing to the nation.
He canvassed for strategic tapping of the nation’s rich cultural endowment, pointing out that with the enabling environment afforded by the ease of doing business policy recently released by government, what was left was peace and security for cultural investors to thrive.
He noted that government alone cannot drive the process, adding that at his own end, he had initiated and promoted the annual Igbere Cultural Festival in his community in Abia State. Kalu said the last edition of the cultural festival attracted over 50,000 participants and visitors, who invariably enhanced the local economy.
“The differences in human living, language, fashion, architecture, food, dance, music etc., are the essential make up of our cultural diversity.
It means that as there are over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, there are over one billion economic opportunities. This is so because all the ethnic groups in Nigeria are unique in their own way; having different fashion sense, food, music, dance, masquerades, architecture etc.
What this means is that we are living at a time when opportunities exist in economic emancipation of the different ethnic groups in Nigeria, but our proclivity to zero in on only white collar jobs leave us crying and suffering the effects of unemployment.
Acting Executive Secretary of NICO, Louis Eriomala, in a welcome address, said the country must make culture the bedrock of its developmental aspirations, in order to advance rapidly it’s socioeconomic and political spheres.