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A public presentation of a new book on practical ways to extirpate corruption in Nigeria took place on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The book titled “We The People: Building a New Democracy in Nigeria as a model for Africa” was written by 18 distinguished Nigerian intellectuals from across the six geopolitical zones. It is a book designed to be a teaching tool, to affirm the fundamentals of integrity, and demonstrate how to transform the mind-set of Nigerians in order to clean up the country from the bottom up.
Published by the “People’s Grassroots Association for Corruption-free Nigeria,” a non-governmental organization, We the People is dedicated to creating a new integrity-driven Nigeria, especially from the grassroots as different from the familiar, traditional top-down approach which does not seem to be working.
The book was edited by Peter Nwangwu, an award winning scientist and inventor, a professor of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacy. He is also the Senior Vice-President for Africa of Global Edison Corporation, Irvin, |Texas, USA.
We the People is a 418-page 18-chapter book choked full of factual information about the need for a reformed, clean Nigeria. It has already received rave reviews from distinguished Nigerians including Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, Dr. Fred Odutola, Senator Ken Nnamani, Prof. Emele Mba Ukah, Prof. Nuhu O. Yaqub, Dr. Foley Beach and more.
Featured in the book are chapters on why the top-to-bottom approach to corruption-fighting was unable to work in the 1980s and has had mixed results in the 2010s. President Muhammadu Buhari himself confessed about a fortnight ago that he had thought that scraping the top would do the magic. He has found, he said, that the problem is profound, and goes far deeper than many Nigerians had imagined.
There is a chapter on the heart-breaking tribulations of a Nigerian who staunchly refused to offer bribes, and why the bribery and corruption system frustrates the development of a fair and just society. Another chapter explains how a corruption-free Nigeria would boost investments and drive thousands, perhaps millions, of Nigerians in the Diaspora back home to join in a faster development and nation-building. Another demonstrates why the institutional corruption in the National Assembly renders the government-led fight against corruption a colossal waste unless the assembly is reformulated.
We the People, the NGO, “wethepeoplenigeria.org.” has begun a massive national and international campaign with the aim of recruiting 50 million Nigerians at the grassroots level, through the internet “wethepeoplenigeria.org.” or through the book, who would stand as a bulwark against corruption and through them the country can then clean the top. The People’s Grassroots Association for Corruption-Free Nigeria (PGACN) is trying to enlist Nigerians who are strong enough to make a solemn pledge not to take and not to give bribes under all circumstances.
“We need Nigerians who would not offer bribes to Immigration Officers for their passports, who would not bribe Licensing Officers for their driving licence and vehicle papers, who wouldn’t bribe Customs for the clearing of goods or to police men for various reasons from traffic issues to police bail,” said an official.
The We the People book launch was partly organized to enable the ‘wethepeoplenigeria.org.’ to raise funds to subsidize the book so that ordinary Nigerians can afford it. The occasion was chaired by the Director-General of Congress on Christian Ethics in Nigeria, the Rev. Dr. Fred Odutola, who represented Gen. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, former Head of State. Dr. Odutola expressed the general’s apologies for not being able to attend physically, but he noted that he (the general) has read the book and commended it to all Nigerians. In his speech, the former head of state noted that having led Nigeria from 1966 to 1975, the body language of Nigerians is not communicating excellence and perfection because the madness to acquire wealth has eroded our original culture of honesty, diligence and integrity.
Dr. Odutola who also performed the function of the Book Presenter and Chief Launcher lauded the efforts of the People’s Grassroots Association for Corruption-free Nigeria (PGACN). He encouraged the association to persevere in its efforts to change the Nigerian mind-set toward a new Nigeria.
The Chief host of the occasion, Prof. Peter U. Nwangwu, the editor of the book, thanked the audience for honouring the occasion. The need to renew Nigeria, he said, is truly urgent. The problems in Nigeria are caused by the primitive greed of a few men who keep recycling themselves. He noted that things have got worse through the years and if nothing is done to challenge and evacuate them, Nigeria will continue to sink, and the sufferings of millions of voiceless poor in Nigeria will continue to exacerbate.
The negative image of Nigeria in the world continues to worsen and some of the ramifications of that image is exemplified by the loss of faith in our culture and traditions. He gave an anecdote of one of the most accomplished Nigerians in the United States, Wilson Obi who held a Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University, and a few months ago he came back home and was building two homes, one in Abuja and a country home in Anambra State. When he was struck down two months ago in a hotel in Abuja, his two grown sons, going by the ugly tales about Nigeria, refused to return to bury their father. Indeed, they advised the US Embassy to recover the body of their father and dispatch him back to the United States for burial. They sent money and everything required by the embassy. They did not want to take part in anything concerning Nigeria.
Among the dignitaries present at the book launch was Anthony Davidson, the Deputy Head of Mission in the British High Commission in Lagos. The Reviewer of the Book, We the People, was Prof. Aloy Ejiogu, of the Department of Education, University of Lagos who offered a clinical analysis of the book. Prof. Elewechi Okike, Prof. Rev. Uka, Rev. Dr. Garey S. Maxey were among the dignitaries. The launch was another opportunity to recruit Nigerians for the crusade to clean the country from the bottom. New members of the PGCAN complete a membership form and a written pledge not to give or receive bribes under any circumstance and to work for an integrity-driven Nigeria.