By Joseph Jibueze
Former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Mallam Nuhu Ribadu believes the government is “complacent” in dealing with the Boko Haram sect.
To him, the security agencies are not doing enough about the sect’s activities, which he yesterday described as “a very sad thing.”
“If I were Boko Haram, I would be very happy with the complacency,” Ribadu said during a question and answer session after delivering this year’s Management Day Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) (Chartered) in Lagos.
“Nobody is doing anything,” Ribadu, a lawyer and retired police chief, added. He spoke on the topic: National Development and Mismanagement: Forces at Opposite Roles.
Ribadu, chairman of the Petroleum Task Force, said mismanagement at all levels of public administration led to the extinction of institutions of national significance and pride, such as Nigerian Airways, National Shipping Lines, Steel Rolling Mills and Nigerian Telecommunication Services (NITEL), among others.
He called for a new generation of leaders. Ribadu said: “Poor managers that we are, we have mismanaged our natural resources, particularly the oil that is the cash cow of the national economy today, to the extent that most observers and commentators of the industry now believe oil is a curse on Nigeria.
“Development will continue to elude us if we cannot deploy a new generation of managers that will interpret the challenge of our failure as the failure of current management practices.
“Here then is the deal. People like us, as indeed most citizens, have an idea of the kind of community we want to live in. We know that the community must support the ennoblement of man and its resources, that it must be an empowering community of equality and justice, where values of collective and individual progress are an abiding faith.
“What we may not know however is how to confront this challenge. I dare say that this is the responsibility of those who elect to be managers among us. We can even take the initial bite by placing the qualifications of the managers we desire before the nation.
“We can say the manager we desire must be one with a national ethos, not a sectional jingoist. He must be a competent, modern, honest, God-fearing, compassionate, benevolent, courageous and firm, confident, articulate, great team builder.”
Ribadu said the EFCC suffered a setback “from those who thought they were God” after he was removed as chairman.
According to him, certain powerful individuals went after the commission’s jugular “with a vengeance.” He added: “One by one, where are they today? They are nowhere. If you like, I can name names.”
The former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) presidential candidate said corruption can only be tackled from top to bottom. Little can be achieved in winning the anti-graft war, if a leader is not determined to fight it, he said.
“It has to start at the highest level. To fight corruption, we need a leader who is not corrupt, who does not allow people around him to be corrupt, and where a Local Government chairman will not be allowed to be corrupt,” Ribadu said.
On whether his principles will not be compromised while serving in government, Ribadu said: “I worked in Nigeria Police Force for 27 years and I can swear that I have never taken a bribe, wallahi-talahi. I can be in any company and survive. I will remain the Ribadu that I have always been.”
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