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Corrupt Leaders Should Forget 2015- TLII President

ENGR. PRINCE ONYECHEPrelude:

Transparency Leadership Initiative International, TLII, a Non-Governmental Organization and foremost crusader of war against corruption in Nigeria and beyond. In this exclusive interview with the Managing Editor of The Newswriter, Barth Ndubuwah, the President of the Group, Amb, Engr. Onyeche Promise bares his mind on the war against corruption, state of the nation and the security situation in Nigeria, among others. It will make an interesting reading. Here are excerpts;

Can you introduce yourself Sir?

My name is Amb. Engr. Prince Onyeche Promise, Founder International President of Transparency Leadership Initiative International, TLII a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with International affiliation with Transparency International and other International NGOs from Europe, USA and other sub-Saharan Africa, married with 3 kids.  A Structural Engineer by profession, Chairman-CEO Fulfilled Group of Companies. A Frontline  Campaigner of transparency all over the world and an Ambassador of the United Nations.

How long has this organization been in existence?

TLII is 4 years old, but in Nigeria, we got our full incorporation in 2010, so August this year will make us 3 years.

How did your organization delve into this crucial area of national endeavours, talking about transparency?

TLII: It was borne out of the desires for change, of truth is a clarion call. We cannot say as citizens of this federation that all is well, in terms of governance, transparency and accountability in our government all over Africa and in Nigeria as a case study, leadership has not been responsive to issues as regards to transparency and accountability. If you go  through our National Anthem, ‘Arise O’ compatriots, Nigeria call obey, to serve our father land with love and strength and faith,’ if you analyze the anthem carefully you find out that there is no service, genuine  service in our leadership and you see also that  leaders now project their personal interests against national issues.

That is why you can see a lot of issues, misunderstanding, political wars here and there because of the selfishness of leaders as regards to national issues. Having critically observed and studied the system from inception of this country, Nigeria and Africa at large, responsible professionals of diverse endeavors  headed by me converged and said enough is enough with our international  links from UN, Transparency International and other international organizations that support good governance, transparency sat and agreed, we mobilized our support to fight against inhuman treatment and  that we must put stick out our neck towards restoration of transparency and good governance.

Can you say that you or your organization is winning the war against corruption and to what extent?

TLII: The War against corruption is a very big fight, you cannot equate your success with the rate of corruption, you can only equate your success with the impact you are making, that is why we in TLII having realized that for you to make a change in the system you need to involve stakeholders, the constitutionally established parastatals involved in the fight against corruption. That is why if you visit our website, you will see our partnership with Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the enormous programmes we have hosted with them on war against corruption. ICPC through the National Anti-corruption Coalition Corps, NACC, has been of immense support in this campaign. We have engaged the Nigerian police which is the unit that is most related to civil issues on workshops on the need for transparency in policing, town hall meetings with community leaders, youths, government parastatal for sensitization and conscientization of  leadership towards effectiveness and transparency, because if you do not engage leaders on workshops that will broaden their conscience on the need for transparency, they might not understand that their activities  as regard non-transparency are causing a very big darkness in the system, in the sense that corruption will become legitimate. So having said this, I will say that TLII within 2 years of existence in Nigeria has achieved not optimum within our expectation,  but encouragingly based on the challenges we are facing because if you equate our successes with the  challenges we are facing, you find out that if you talk about transparency and fight against corruption, you become an enemy against corrupt leadership. It becomes an impossible task for you to trumpet on the platform like this, but because we know that we have toed the path of Godliness and part of redeeming this nation so we are not afraid of whosoever that is corrupt.

Our aim is to ensure that there is effectiveness, accountability and uprightness and transparency, so as it stands right now we  have rolled out several programs and tips on enlightenment, placed leadership in caution. There is a launch coming up very soon, the first edition of news leadership transparent contract magazine concept of TLII to report activities of leadership in terms of performance, rating those that have performed well, those  that have not performed will also be reported.

Right now we are saying that let us engage leadership, with a view to knowing how many roads, or other infrastructures that have been constructed by governors with internally generated revenue as against federal allocation. We all know that our states are blessed with resources internally that can be used to develop our states and diversify their economy.

The revenue sharing formula as we know has rendered the states ineffective. Cross River for instance is now a tourist state, but before Donald Duke it was not. What happens to Nigerian democracy is that people jump into political office by connection or god-fatherism without knowing what to do, thereby do not know what to do despite all the natural resources in their disposal. The result is that they cannot generate employment or attract investors. The implication is that a lot of people move from the rural areas to urban towns, thereby causing congestion and allowing the resources at the rural areas to die off.

Why do you think leadership in Nigeria has shunned the harnessing of other resources like solid minerals to concentrate on oil alone?

TLII: It is because of non pro-activeness of leadership.

Are you now saying that political leaders in Nigeria are visionless?

TLII: It won’t be out of context to say that our leaders are visionless; you cannot rate the generality of our leaders today to past ones. Based on  constant cries from pressure groups, NGOs etc  that have spurred up competing amongst the present governors in the area of development.

Are saying that there is a ray of hope in the development of Nigeria?

TLII: One thing that is inevitable in life is change, and for that change to be effective, the characters must be changed. You can see the crop of youth leaders in the country today. These youths might have been crying for opportunity  20 years ago, now that the opportunity has been given, they are competing amongst themselves for good. For the fact that there is caution by ICPC, EFCC and other paramilitary agencies on leadership,  the fear of violating the law is minimal. This enables leaders to know that if they fail short of leadership in terms of transparency it becomes a problem.

Recently the US government criticized our style of leadership towards fight against corruption. As a matter of fact,they picked holes in the state pardon Nigeria granted Diepriye Alamieyesiegha. What is your take on that, Sir?

TLII: US has been at the centre of administration in terms of fight against corruption all over the world. Look at the ICPC and EFCC what is the amount of support the Federal Government is giving this bodies, instead of paying lips service. Nigeria government is paying lips service in fighting corruption. What we are saying is  that let the FG  give all necessary constitutional support to the anti-graph agencies and if possible restructure them for maximum performance.

What is your final word for politicians whose stock in trade is corruption now that 2015 is gradually setting in?

TLII: TLII is poised to conscientize the people on their rights. Any leader that has corruption as his middle name in 2015 has to repent now and even re-right his wrong otherwise he should forget about 2015.We the concerned citizens of Nigeria will take it upon ourselves  to scrutinize the leaders  right now when they are sworn in  till when they take their exit, otherwise corrupt leaders should forget about 2015.

On the state of the nation. What do you have to say?

TLII: The Niger Delta militants were known, the Atekes, the Boyloafs, the Asaris etc their names were known and their  community leaders acknowledged them,their message was plain and straight forward,  ‘we need  development in the Niger Delta, the goose that lays the golden eggs should be treated fairly.’ When the past administrations could not do anything about the  deplorable condition in the Niger Delta, it sparked off  reactions among the youths from the Niger Delta. Why Boko Haram, is it the case of the Amajiris, government is already building  schools for them in the north and taken some proactive steps, what Boko Haram is saying is that western education is not acceptable, come to think of it, government in Nigeria came through western education, how then do you think an offspring of western education will now grant amnesty to Boko Haram. It is like mixing oil with water. I am of the opinion that Boko Haram should come out and spell out what their grievances are, if they genuine, Nigerian government should look into their grievances, otherwise they should be dealt with decisively.

The initial position of Mr. President that amnesty will not be granted to ghosts remains the best option, but as a president that came from poor background, he feels for the pains of lives and property of the people being destroyed by Boko Haram. The constitution of committee e to consider amnesty for Boko Haram is not an express approval for amnesty to Boko Haram.

But we in TLII are of the opinion that Boko Haram should be unveiled, why the barbaric act, why the massacre if their grievances are not genuine, there is no need to waste time with Boko Haram, Federal Government should deploy all its arsenal against Boko Haram, no group no unit, no geo-political zone is bigger than Nigeria. Terrorism  is a global issue, look at what happened in Iraq, now Iraq is calm, is a sect, a faction, the impact their action has done on Nigeria before the international community . It has deprived the country of foreign investment. The FG should deploy international expertise through intelligence to study the operations  of Boko Haram and  once their  strength is discovered, the issue of Boko Haram is finished.

On politics, I want to tell every Nigerian that PDP is a political party, therefore issues of a political party should be internally handled by the party. We should not allow misunderstanding within a political party to destabilize the entire polity of the country.

Political parties should not allow their internal crisis to rob-off on the governance of the nation. Time will come when Nigerians will start to react on these issues, the essence of political parties is to engender good governance in the country, once a person is elected into public office, he becomes the leader of all, no matter the political party. The norms of these political families should guide them not to paint Nigeria as an unstable country.

We in TLII are expectant to see  Nigeria in the next 20 years as a  prosperous, stable country as  giant of Africa in administration, polity, economy and generally not only in population, to encourage our brothers in diaspora to come and re-accept Nigeria as their home and invest to boost our culture, economy and standard as a nation.

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