By Emmanuel Acha
A cleric, Rev. Fr. Aniedi Okure, says every corrupt public official must be treated as a thief to get Africa to work.
Okure, the Executive Director of Washington DC-based Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), said this on Tuesday in Enugu during a workshop for Catholic reverend sisters.
He said that Africa in general and Nigeria, in particular, were bleeding occasioned by the actions of corrupt public officials.
He said that it was sad that political office had become a means to wealth, adding that state governors tended to personalise their positions.
The priest called on the relevant government institutions to stop glorifying corrupt public officials, but to treat them as thieves.
“Our problem is basically that of governance and we are responsible for our problems.
“Those who steal our collective patrimony should be treated as thieves and armed robbers instead of glorifying them with the name ‘corrupt officers’.
Okure said that the major challenge in Africa was that political office holders were not held accountable.
“As citizens, we should see political office holders as our employees who must be sacked for non-performance,” he said.
Okure said it was sad that corruption in the country was being aided and exacerbated by a corrupt legal system.
“Our leaders are responsible to no one; they do not listen to anyone and until we start holding them accountable, our democracy will not work,” he said.
The clergy said that AFJN had been at the forefront of sensitising Africans on the need to take their destinies into their hands and reduce their dependence on foreign aides.
He said that the organisation was formed 36 years ago by an American missionary who had lived in Africa.
“One of the objectives of this organisation is to work with American lawmakers to positively influence US-Africa policies and to educate Americans that Africans are decent people.
“We also talk to Africans to hold their leaders accountable,” he said.
The Catholic priest said that the organisation was conducting seminars in Nigeria to address issues of national importance.
Okure said that the training of the reverend sisters was to equip them to be advocates of Justice.
“In Nigeria, we realised that women are better equipped to address injustice and work for the common good. Collectively, we can do the right thing.
“So, let us stick together to liberate Africa,” Okure advised.