This discovery, he said, was made while conducting a research for his degree in Christian Theology. According to him, abject poverty arising Nigeria’s corrupt system led to the formation of kick against western education otherwise known as Boko Haram. His words: “One of the reasons that members of the extremist group – Boko Haram, gave for their insurrection is that they became disillusioned when they saw how corrupt that Western educated leaders were. According to them, if those who occupied government offices by virtue of their Western education would corruptly enrich themselves and deprive others of the basic things of life, then that education is ‘haram’ which means forbidden.”
“I am told that when Mohammed Yusuf, the original leader of Boko Haram and his early followers first started, they all gathered and tore their certificates because they said a certificate, which could not fetch them a source of livelihood is useless to them. Similarly, they saw Western education as corrupting the individuals.”
“We may not agree with their position, but the disappointment and disillusionment of citizens over the inadequacy or poor performance of their leaders is real”.
Obasanjo made this submission while delivering the 2017 Foundation Day Public Lecture entitled: Corruption and the Challenges of the African Child, to mark the 14th anniversary of Dorcas Oke Hope Alive Initiative (DOHAL) held at Theophilus Ogunlesi Multipurpose Hall, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The programme which was chaired by a legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola, was attended by the Presiding Bishop of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Wale Oke and his wife, who founded the organisation in October 2003 after the demise of their only daughter, Dorcas Oke in 2001 as a result of complications from adulterated drugs.
Obasanjo lamented how anti-corruption agencies established by his administration had been politicized by the succeeding governments.
He said: “When I was elected President in 1999, my administration took the issue of corruption very seriously and we established Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), as well as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among other anti-corruption initiatives. These institutions were provided the political support needed to fight corruption and they did their best.”
“But once we left office, they became very politicised and weakened to the point that they were unable to discharge their duties. In fact, one of the governors, who had been labelled and gone to jail for corruption, was to look for replacement for Nuhu Ribadu (the pioneering chairman of EFCC), and you know the type of replacement he would get.”
He maintained that relevant agencies must be strengthened to frontally deal with corruption, adding “There is need to support and strengthen these institutions, especially in the area of prosecution.”