By Olugbenga Salami
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Friday, said that Nigeria can only grow and achieve its true destiny if the present system of governance is rid of corruption.
Saraki, who stated this in his speech as chair of the 7th Zik Lecture of the Annual Zik Series, held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, said it is time for all Nigerians to recommit to the efforts aimed at eradicating corruption from Nigeria as envisioned by the nation’s founding fathers, one of whom was the great Zik of Africa.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sanni Onogu, the Senate President also stated that the late Zik believed and worked for transparency and accountability, virtues that would help to banish the “cankerworm of corruption” from the country, if they are imbibed and practiced by all Nigerians.
Saraki said: “Without wishing to pre-empt the subject of today’s lecture by His Excellency Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, which is titled, ‘Taming the Monster of Corruption in Africa’, we should ask ourselves what Dr. Azikiwe would have made of the political landscape of today, particularly with regard to the problem of corruption. Let us think upon the example he laid down, the ideals he stood for, and from which he never wavered.
“As we listen to this 7th Zik Lecture, let us meditate upon the legacy of Azikiwe, one of the greatest Africans of the 20th Century. As founder of the historic West African Pilot newspaper, Azikiwe was for freedom of the press. He was for accountability and transparency…He believed in, and fought for Nigeria’s unity.
“When I think about his legacy, I am indeed humbled; and it is a thing of pride to be chairing this event today. As we listen to the 7th Zik Lecture delivered by the eminent keynote speaker, let us recommit ourselves to defeating the monster of corruption in our country; and by so doing, set a standard for the whole of Africa.
“It is by ridding our system of governance of the cankerworm of corruption that this country can grow to achieve its true destiny as envisioned by the founding fathers, one of whom was the great Zik of Africa,” he stated.
He noted that the Great Zik of Africa was not only an astute politician and statesman, but a man who thought deeply about his country in particular and the African Continent in general.
“He thought deeply about the direction Nigeria was going, and he did his very best to steer her on the right path,” he said. “We need more thinkers in our national life, and it is my expectation that today’s lecture will go some way towards nudging those of us in this audience in that direction.”
The Senate President described the Annual Zik lecture series, held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, as a veritable platform to propagate Zik’s ideals, formulate new ideas and devise solutions to current national challenges.
He said: “It is fitting that this Annual Lecture Series has as its setting an institution of learning in his name. I say this because Zik of Africa was a renowned intellectual, and the power of his mind connected Nigeria to the entire Black World.
“It is fitting, therefore, that we remember the great man of learning in this place of learning. It is fitting that we walk in his footsteps in our quest to formulate ideas and devise solutions to current challenges. It is fitting that erudite lectures are delivered to advance his cause and propagate his ideals.
“We often lament these days that our politics is bereft of ideas. The more reason one welcomes and wholeheartedly supports this lecture in memory of a man of ideas whose example inspires us still, and can give rise to new idealists in our national life”, he stated.