Nigeria can fight corruption using traditional institutions

Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, the Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), says the Federal Government can fight corruption using the various traditional institutions in the country.

Anikwe told newsmen in an interview in Onitsha on Monday that corruption had been fought by the old traditional rulers and institutions even before the arrival of colonialists.

He argued that the inability of the country to come to terms with its pre-colonial history had been the greatest bane of the people.

“Before the white men came, we had order in the society and there were programmes by the traditional institutions that prevailed on people who deviated from the norm.

“So, it will be wrong to think that we are all corrupt in Nigeria.”

He said that in the traditional Igbo culture for instance, people, especially the guilty ones, would be scared of taking oaths.

“Today, if any member of the Assembly or Executive, whether state or federal is called to take an oath by the traditional institution, they will run away.

“If people seeking appointment are made to take traditional oaths, then the thieves may not come out from their communities to serve the people.

“The greatest problem is that when these thieves are arrested, they demand to be taken to conventional courts where there are loopholes that allow them to escape.

“That is why you see a criminal taken up to the Supreme Court and eventually you see the culprit being set free, depending on how witty his lawyer is.”

Anikwe noted the oaths taken in courts made it easier for persons who actually commit an offence to escape unpunished.

He wondered why criminals were made to swear to an oath of truth ending with ‘So help me God,’ but without a commitment that says, ‘Let me die if it is not true’.

“How can you call on God to help you when you steal something?” he queried.

Anikwe, who is also the President of Pan African Cultural Congress Bureau, blamed African leaders, especially the scholars, for their inability to use traditional processes to transform the present dispensation.

“Why can’t our professors in political science, history, sociology, anthropology and all kinds of related social sciences and humanities be able to find, from our own system of governance, a system that can make us survive.

“Must we borrow from either Western Europe or North America?” he asked.

The director-general said that the agency would continue to promote inter-racial understanding of arts and culture across Africa and pan African locations outside Africa.


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