Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday accused some state governors in the country of living like emperors while demanding sacrifice from the citizens for Nigeria to survive the prevailing hard times.
Obasanjo spoke at the inaugural conference of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Ibadan, where he was the chairman on the occasion.
The two-day conference has as theme, ‘‘Getting government to work for development and democracy in Nigeria: Agenda for change’’.
He, however, said after he left, corruption returned to Nigeria with a vengeance, draining billions of dollars from the nation’s economy that could hardly afford to lose even a million dollars.
He said while Nigerian leaders demanded sacrifice from the citizens, they lived in opulence.
Obasanjo added, “Leaders, who call for sacrifice from the citizenry, cannot be living in obscene opulence. We must address these foundational issues to make the economy work, to strengthen our institutions, build public confidence in government and deal with our peace and security challenges.
“We must address the issue of employment for our teeming population particularly for our youths. Leadership must mentor the young and provide them with hope about their future as part of a process of inter-generational conversation.
“Nigeria is a country where some governors have become sole administrators, acting like emperors. These governors have rendered public institutions irrelevant and useless.
“Is there development work going on in the 774 constitutionally-recognised local government councils, which have been merely appropriated as private estates of some governors?
“Some governors have hijacked the resources of the local governments and this has crippled the development of the local government councils in the country. The National Assembly must also open its budgets to public scrutiny.”
Obasanjo accused the local government chairmen of embezzling the remaining council funds after the governors would have diverted a sizable portion of the funds.
He stated, “Of course, when governors take their money, the chairmen of the councils take the balance of the money, put it on the table and share it out among council members. In some local governments, have the governors not hijacked most of the resources in them and expended them to serve their whims and caprices instead of using the resources to galvanize growth and development?