Former President Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings has called for a paradigm shift in the fight against corruption, to ensure that it does not create undue hardship to the people.
He said corruption had eaten so deep into the fabric of the society that the quest to clean up seems to rather create hardship instead of reducing the cost of living.
Former President Rawlings made the call in a keynote address at a lecture organised by the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), at the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti in Nigeria.
The lecture, which was delivered by Dr Makanjuola Owolabi, a Senior Nigeria Air Force Officer, was on the theme: “Leadership with Character.”
He said: “A new way may have to be devised to fight this kind of corruption without creating undue hardship for our people.
He said many Nigerians have baulked against the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari because of the austerity measures taken to curb the menace.
The Former President said good leadership could be sustained and preserved if we continue to use the power of our vote wisely.
He said both Ghana and Nigeria had shown a clear inclination to serve notice to leaders that if they fail to protect the interest of the people they would not be allowed to stay in power to perpetuate that disservice.
Flt Lt Rawlings questioned the quality of some of the personalities who ascended to political leadership positions on the continent.
“Unfortunately we have under the guise of democracy allowed the rich to purchase our power of choice”.
Leadership is no longer about desirable traits such as honesty, hard work, empathy and courage but simply a position for the highest bidder,” Flt Lt Rawlings said.
“Today to be a successful politician all one needs is a pocket large enough to sway the conscience of the vulnerable in the society. The watchdog role of the media has slowly been eroded. Gradually we are losing focus on the things that are important like proper qualification and character,” he said.
Former President Rawlings charged Nigerians to check the dangerous corruption of ethnicity that appears to be rearing its head in their country.
“Let’s find a way out of this dark trap. Stop threatening each other on tribal grounds. Let’s learn to accommodate each other. The continent needs you strong and united,” he urged.
Flt Lt Rawlings said he was inspired by the defiance of the people of Ada in the Greater Accra Region when they prevented a sub-chief from paying homage to the paramount chief during the annual Asafotufiam festival last Saturday.
He said the people felt the sub-chief was not qualified to legitimise his title by paying homage to the paramount chief.
He charged the continent to wean itself off the apron strings of the West and let Africa’s voice be heard on global issues.
“We need to self-identify as a continent where our development is no longer dependent on the West. We need to start helping our communities. It is unfair that when there is a crisis in Somalia, Africa responds only when the West has taken the initiative. Lately the narrative is changing as we saw in The Gambia not too long ago. ECOWAS and the African Union found their lost teeth and supported The Gambian people to restore the change they had voted for,” Former President Rawlings said.