Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, on Thursday in Kaduna said the greatest disservice to the country and its democracy was for Nigerians to keep silent in the face of injustice.
According to Ribadu, citizens engagement is the fertilizer that aids the growth of true democracy.
He said, “Without the oversight of the legislature, the inquisitiveness of the media and the doggedness of the civil society, democracy is no different from oligarchy and dictatorship.”
The former EFCC boss stated this in a goodwill message at a one-day seminar on, ‘The Role of a Legislator in a Democracy’, organised by the Center for Development and Rights Advocacy in Kaduna.
Ribadu also called on Nigerian youths to be focused and steadfast in the course of nationhood and resist any attempt by any individual or group to set them against one another.
He said, “Let me also use this opportunity to, once again, call on our youths to remain focused and steadfast in the course of our nationhood. You should resist any attempt by any selfish person to manipulate or set you against each other.
“Don’t listen to anyone who will tell you that your Christian or Muslim neighbour is your enemy or obstacle to your progress. Your real enemy is the one trying to incite you against your fellow citizens, while he has looted you blind, depriving you of a decent future. This is what we must resist.”
He added, “It is important that we have more of this type of assembly as a necessary avenue to dialogue, ask questions and proffer the way forward for our country, especially at a critical time like this.
“We must continue to ask questions. Questions, no matter how politely they are asked, often rattle the one in whose direction they are thrown, especially if the person has no ready explanation for such legitimate questions.
“But we should not be deterred. The greatest disservice we would do to our country and democracy is to keep silent. Citizen engagement is the fertilizer that abets the growth of true democracy.”
Executive Director, Human Rights Monitor, Mr. Festus Okoye, took a swipe at the governors of the 35 states of the federation for rubber-stamping members of the states Houses of Assembly and preventing them from performing their legislative functions.
Okoye, who was guest speaker at the event, said the governors were not allowing the lawmakers to perform their statutory duties,stressing that in most cases, some governors had become so powerful that they dictated to the Speakers what to do.