Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, has decried the worsening level of corruption on African continent.
PM News reports that Obasanjo expressed his concern speaking at the opening ceremony of the First International Conference of the African Studies Association of Africa held on Wednesday, October 14, in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The theme of the three-day conference, which was attended by prominent scholars and academics, was “African Studies in the Twenty-First Century: Past, Present and Future.”
Speaking at the event that was hosted by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan , Obasanjo stressed that one of the main challenges for the African continent was corruption, and urged African nations to rise up and defeat it.
The former Nigerian leader said that corruption destroys the deep moral fabric of the African society. According to him, stealing from the community is a grave offence that puts permanent dent on the integrity and values of the family.
“But today, the corrupt is venerated. The impression that Africans have a cultural disposition to be corrupt is a travesty of the truth. We are hospitable but hospitality is different corruption,” he said.
Obasanjo recalled that during his tenure as a president the Enugu state government obtained a loan of $8 million to establish a Carpet Industry. Noting that the money was spent without the ground for the project ever cleared, the ex-president lamented that the sum was part of the debt the nation had to pay.
Obasanjo also recalled the cold war that made things worse for Africa and hindered development on the continent as the Europeans used Africans as slaves.
“We got loans, some dubious, others used to acquire weapons and we ended up in debt and instability that gave us only more pains, coups and counter-coups and bad governance. Some of the worst dictators in the world emerged from Africa with the full endorsement and encouragement of outside influence.
“I wish we do not have to dig into the misery and pains of the past, but history cannot be changed. What we must do is to forge a new front and achieve better output today as we write the history for tomorrow. Yesterday is gone but tomorrow is yet to come and the knowledge and understanding of yesterday can make us chart a better course for tomorrow, hence a great history,” he said.
According to This Day, Obasanjo further noted that Africa was fast moving out of bad governance and corruption, shunning human rights violations.
"Vices which were commonplace during the reckless years of authoritarian regimes in Africa have significantly reduced. The right to free speech, the right to express a different view point, the right to draw personal conclusions based on self-instituted research and to query certain cultural practices and beliefs are part of the huge liberty that the continent of Africa now boasts of," he stated.
Speaking about the future of African studies, Obasanjo noted that the success of the studies is connected with the intellectual, philosophical, ideological and institutional transformation that is taking place in various socio-cultural and political systems in different countries.
“African studies should not be satisfied with merely contributing to the accumulation of knowledge about Africa. Scholars should have novel priority which should slant towards indigenous-based tradition of knowledge. In line with the necessity of making African studies a wider project, African scholars should not be satisfied with merely contributing knowledge that is capitalised on and managed by the West,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has recently announced that anti-graft war will reach all those involved in the corruption cases in Nigeria. He also stressed that Muhammadu Buhari-led government would not spare any individual found guilty.