If succeeding regimes had checked corruption as his government did, Nigeria would not be swimming in graft with the attendant socio-economic and developmental problems, former Military Head State, General Yakubu Gowon, retd, has said.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari said the $320 million Abacha loot from Switzerland would go to poor Nigerians. Gowon, who said the condition he found himself after his ouster from office in 1975 might have changed the attitude of Nigerian leaders to corruption by deciding to “prepare for the future”, added that he and his officers did not indulge in corruption.
There were, however, mixed reactions from some elder statesmen to Gowon’s claims. While former Anambra State governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, agreed with the former Head of State, Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay; founder of Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun; former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, and Senator Femi Okurounmu, among others, disagreed.
Speaking at the Eight Annual General Meeting and Conference for Heads of Anti-corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, in Abuja, Gowon joked that he “did not prepare for the future,” because “it was some of my staff who attended the OAU meeting with me (when he was overthrown) that contributed their estacode to let me have something to live on.”
Gowon’s claims elicited a deluge of comments from Nigerian elder statesmen, yesterday, most of who disagreed with him, countering that corruption started under his stewardship.