Abuja - Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has advocated for “a new tribe” of Nigerians consisting of professionals, businessmen, politicians and religious leaders to dismantle the corrupted systems in the nation’s private and public sectors.
Osinbajo spoke on Saturday evening in Lagos on the theme "Change Agents in Nation-Building" at the annual dinner of the Apostles In The Market Place (AiMP), of which he is a member.
He said ``we need a new tribe of men and women of all faiths, tribes and ethnicities committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard-work, justice and love for the country.
``A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraints that are crucial to building a strong society.
``We want men and women who are prepared to stick together, fight corruption side by side, and insist on justice even when our friends are at the receiving end.''
Osinbajo observed that "when you look at any list of alleged perpetrators of heinous cases of corruption, all tribes, ethnicities and religions are well represented.
High level corruption
``In other words, high level corruption knows no religion or ethnicity."
He explained that such perpetrators and conspirators "are in governments, the legislature, the judiciary and the press.
``They are united, they protect each other, they fight for each other and they are prepared to go down together."
According to him, they are one tribe, indivisible regardless of diversity. It is this tribe that confuses the arguments for change in society.
The vice president disclosed how the President and himself had been working together to get the right people for tasks.
He said ``I have had several long discussions with President Buhari, the key issue always is finding the right persons for any task, a tough task indeed.
``In such a system the private sector is a strong collaborator. The fight against corruption is a fight against the system.
``Where have the billions of dollars in the days of 100 dollars per barrel of oil gone?’’.
Theft of funds
The vice president added that ``the shocking theft of funds meant to procure arms to defend the nation demonstrates the moral ambivalence that pervades our system.
``That system needs to be dismantled if the nation is to progress."
According to him, Nigeria's greatest battle is the one to bring integrity and accountability to public service and the private sector.
``This requires a new way of thinking, a new leadership corps, a new tribe.
``The challenge today is for us all, friends and colleagues to populate that new tribe."
The Vice President’s speech entitled "A New Tribe", drew the response of industrialist, Dr Christopher Kolade, who also noted that the change that Nigeria needs is that which starts in us as individuals.
Kolade said that the new tribe the vice president called for must be made up of Nigerians who accept and believe in a "society where good things are the norm,” and such acceptance and belief is what qualifies people to belong to the new tribe.
He added that the new tribe of Nigerians are those who want to tell the truth and who want the truth.
Kolade said: "I sometimes ask the lawyers in our country: do we have a court of law or a court of justice? If we could all say we are working for a court of justice and not a court of law, we will all be in the new tribe."
He thanked Osinbajo ``for stimulating our thinking tonight with this idea. We should put ourselves in the humble position of those who want to learn.
``I have known for a long time that I cannot listen to the Vice President and not learn a new thing.''