Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itsejuwa Sagay SAN made this call on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 when he delivered the 27th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna at the Caverton Lecture Theatre, Gidan Kwano campus.

In the titled Nigeria: “The Travails of an Animal Kingdom,” the legal icon citing examples of some developing countries that have been propelled to greatness by their leaders, pointed out that there was a correlation between strong leadership and development.

He likened the propensity of the Nigerian elite to acquire illicit wealth for the benefit of themselves and their families to animalistic instinct that is selfish and guided by the desire to consume.

According to him, given the tendencies of the country’s elite, Nigeria is not yet ready for the operation of liberal democracy and as such, the leadership must utilise creative powers to operate the Constitution without giving room for abuses.

He maintained that corruption has devastated all spheres of human activity and the future of the youth is eaten by the corrupt elite.

The immediate consequences of corruption by the elite are unemployment, poor infrastructural and social amenities as well as increase in criminality and suicide, he said.

The Presidential Adviser wondered why people would loot what they cannot spend in 10 life times whilst exposing the rest of the population to poverty, misery and death.
Prof. Sagay frowned at a situation where judges alleged to be involved in corrupt practices seek to escape trial hiding under the disciplinary powers of the National Judicial Commission (NJC) and described the Court of Appeal judgement in favour of such judicial officers as “judicial pronouncement of immunity.”

According to him, the greatest protection of a judge is high moral authority.

Going down memory lane, Prof. Sagay noted that Nigeria has been faced with a declining quality of political elite since the end of the First Republic, that have plunged the country into “socio-political wilderness,” a situation that has made the country to become a caricature of suffering humanity.

The catalogue of Nigeria’s misfortunes, he opined, is compounded by complete loss of values and obsessive love of acquisition.

He also condemned the disproportionate gap between the remunerations of top public servants and the lower ranking ones who earn minimum wage, a situation he said was against International Labour Organisation’s standards.

In his remarks, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the University’s Governing Council, Prof. ‘Femi Odekunle said the political elite was the most culpable in the issue of corruption.

Prof. Odekunle said he was against the death penalty being advocated as penalty for corruption, opting instead for imprisonment, which would deprive such persons the use of stolen monies, and in turn make their families see them suffer the consequences of their actions.

On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Abdullahi Bala FSSSN, described the lecture as illuminating in terms of the problems facing Nigeria today. He thanked Prof. Sagay for delivering the lecture.


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