Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale have said, unexplained wealth is toxic and very un-African.
The duo said this at the ‘2021 Distinguished Leadership Lecture’, an event held at University of Ibadan, on Saturday, November 6th.
Senator Ndume, in the lecture titled, ‘Unexplained wealth and the fight against corruption in Nigeria’, said, President Buhari must look into the ugly trend of what he referred to as ‘toxic riches’, because to him, ‘it pollutes the society.’
“One should not be mistaken on how good it is to have riches, but toxic riches should be abhorred because it pollutes the society. It changes our good culture, it breeds injustice and impunity. Every citizen has a role to play.”
Senator Ali Ndume also said, the campaign against corruption in the country must start from politicians to civil servants, if the President is actually serious in his fight against the vice.
“Our crusade against this monster should start from politicians, top public servants, civil servants down to the local government staff.”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, upheld that, it is not difficult to identify the perpetrators of the ugly trend bedeviling the Nigerian society in recent times, because according to him, they exhibit insatiable appetite for wantonness.
“For the perpetrators, it is not difficult to identify the tendencies exhibited by the officers, acquiring landed property in and outside the country, having fat bank deposits, buying expensive cars, or marrying so many wives.”
He called on the federal government to revisit the ‘stillbirth’ whistle blower policy, and to reward patriotic citizens if the country is truly serious about fighting the war against corruption.
“Our whistle blower policy which had stillbirth before it became law must be revisited. The motivation should not just be the reward, but patriotism.”
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale, emphasized that the “accumulation of unexplained wealth is un-African.”
He narrated how Africans, from different countries, in particular Nigeria, have at one time or the other, exhibited true Africanism, when they returned huge sum of money found in their vehicles at different times, that belong to another person.
Prof. Adebowale mentioned the likes of a nineteen-year (19)-old Liberian, Emmanuel Tuloe, who returned the whooping sum of USD50, 000 he found sometime in October 2021, belonging to another individual. This according to reports, gave the 19 years old Tuloe, a presidential recognition and some other applause.
VC Adebowale also mentioned Mallam Tulu, a Keke NAPEP driver in Jos, who returned half a million naira, which was forgotten in his tricycle, to the owner. An airport driver, Emmanuel Eluu, who returned USD40,000 to a passenger, who left it in his car in Lagos, was also mentioned.
The likes of Mallam Umar Kiri, who returned the sum of 1.3million naira he found in his rickety commercial vehicle, even with having a large family of a wife and six (6) children to feed was likewise mentioned.
He did not again fail to reference another Lagos airport driver, Yinka Adeniyi, who in 2019, returned USD2400 to its owner, who had been his passenger between the MMA and a hotel.
According to the VC, “these are stories of honest Nigerians who shunned unexplained wealth.”
He added, “Poverty does not often provoke or justify primitive accumulation of unexplained wealth. In fact, the poor seem to be more afraid of accumulating unexplained wealth than the rich.”
Prof. Kayode Oyebode Adebowale therefore, deflated the belief that, “Africans are pathologically and incurably corrupt as they are often portrayed in the international media.”
He opined that, although “There are terribly corrupt and wicked people in Africa, no doubt. Yet, Africa can hardly be described as the exclusive continent of such people, nor can these people be described as the majority among us.”
VC Adebowale affirmed that, the premiere UI is doing everything within its capabilities, to train its graduates, on the need to shun corrupt practices in their future endeavours, by introducing a compulsory course on ethics.
“In the University of Ibadan, we are tackling the fight against corruption in an organic way. Nearly every undergraduate student in the University of Ibadan takes a course in ethics, either as a compulsory General Studies course, or as a regular department-based course. It is our firm belief that, exposure to these courses goes a long way in moulding the anticorruption disposition of our students, making them the corner pieces of a corruption free Nigeria of our dream.”
Prof. Adebowale again submitted that, “the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria, will begin to receive a fresh boost” across the nation, especially with the introduction of ‘ethics’ in the UI’s academic curriculum.
He once again, welcomed the guests, especially the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, to the event, and to the prestigious University of Ibadan.