The group said this could be done by sensitizing professionals, social activists and young people, who are cynical about politics to begin to take active interest in the affairs of the country. Moreover, the foundation said that it was also expedient to live by example, network with people of like minds, and make necessary sacrifices like street protests and demonstrations that could eventually yield a better future for the citizens of the country.
Ford Foundation gave the advice after a unanimous verdict that “corruption and looting of the public treasury” was Nigeria’s greatest bane of development. Through a graphic presentation, they identified corruption as the taproot of a tree called Nigeria, bearing fruits of “social insecurity, flawed electoral system, unemployment, food insecurity, high crime rates, ethnicity, religious intolerance, among others.”
The group berated President Umaru Musa Yar’adua for preaching the rule of law but not practicing it. “The administration of Yar’adua has claimed repeatedly that the rule of law is central to the way it governs the country. Yet, not everybody is equal before the law. Highly-placed people accused of monumental corruption have continued to walk free while lowly-placed Nigerians caught for pilfering are routinely harassed and prosecuted .
“The worst cases of human rights abuse in Nigeria occurred during military regimes, but the emergence of democracy has not made any significant difference especially on the rights of marginalized groups of rural poor, prison in-mates and persons with disabilities. The police routinely abuse the very people they are paid to protect, even as incidences of extra-judicial killings are yet to abate.”
The group added that the political brigandage that took place during the Ekiti re-run election gave them the impetus to deliberate on the ways to free the country from the claws of political vampires who have been “recklessly dispensing patronage to their cronies and relatives” to the detriment of the country at large, stressing that all they want is a Nigeria where everyone is treated first as a human being before anything else; a society where there is respect for human dignity irrespective of social, ethnic, religious and political affiliations.