Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Pat Utomi and other experts yesterday called on managers of public institutions to Punish Treasury Looters, revamp African value system and strengthen institutions in the drive to develop Nigeria and the continent.
They proferred the solution at the opening of the third biennial international conference entitled: “Polity Debacle and the Burden of Being in Africa”.
The conference was organised by the Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.
Obasanjo advised President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure there was no hiding place for Treasury Looters.
The former President enjoined other African leaders to do the same so the continent can overcome its developmental challenges.
Obasanjo was represented by the Deputy Coordinator, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale.
According to him, “there should be no respite, there should be no hiding place for treasury looters. And good people with ideas must come forward to be counted, get elected or supported by good people to grow the economy and provide solid infrastructure.”
Obasanjo noted with dismay that the focus of African leaders has always been on material resources rather than human capital, adding that African political leaders must make changes to reduce corruption and generate laws, policies and practices needed to catch up with the world.
He added: “Africans will have to create the popular pressures that will make African leaders address the challenges of leadership, fiscal and economic, managerial, infrastructure, industrial and technological deficits”.
“The town and gown must collaborate to make Africa the best.
He said: “Those in political leadership position must enthrone a framework to provide public infrastructure.”
“There is need to restore social justice issues around resource control, citizenship and governance. Let me state unequivocally that our standards of living will rise the moment we take our destiny in our hands. I know we have what it takes.”
Utomi, former presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, Prof Emeritus Ayo Bamgbose of the University of Ibadan and representative of Senator Binta Garba representing Adamawa North also spoke.
Utomi attributed declining fortunes in Africa to collapse of culture, weak institutions, wrong policy choices and unfavourable disposition of leadership to human capital development ,among others.
He explained that the collapse of culture has changed the orientation of people from delayed gratification to immediate gains and greed.
Effective leadership, according to him, is all about shaping culture and the way things are done.
The keynote speaker, Prof Akanmu Adebayo, a professor of History and Conflict Management, Kennesaw State University, United States of America (USA), noted that the cost of governance in Nigeria and other African countries was too high and unsustainable.
The don said Nigeria and other African countries must fight corruption, but emphasised the need to review the strategies for anti-graft campaign, stressing: “Anti-corruption strategies that have not worked include public shame and execution, special tribunals and/or the court and so on.”