Obasanjo spoke delivering the annual public lecture of the Dorcas Oke Hope Alive Initiative (DOHA).
Dorcas is the late daughter of the founder of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Wale Oke, who died through fake drugs.
Delivering the lecture entitled Corruption and the challenge of the African child, Obasanjo recalled his administration created the two anti-graft agencies based on his commitment to fighting corruption.
But he expressed regret they became politicised after his tenure which weakened their ability to battle corruption.
To successfully tackle corruption, Obasanjo said the law enforcement and justice departments should be made to complement each other.
According to him: “When I was elected president in 1999, my administration took the issue of corruption very seriously and we established anti- corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC.
“They were provided with political support needed to fight corruption and they did their best.
“But after we left office, they became politicised and weakened to a level that they were unable to provide their services.
“In fact, one of the governors jailed for corruption was supposed to find replacement for EFCC boss then NuhuRibadu. You know the type of replacement he would bring.”
The former President added: “We must strengthen these institutions especially in carrying out prosecution because government alone cannot fight corruption.
“It is very disheartening when the law enforcement agency carefully investigates a case and the culprit finds his way around the judiciary to escape.
“Corrupt people and accomplices must be punished. We cannot afford to have sacred cows in the fight against corruption.”
Obasanjo pointed out youths bear the brunt of corruption in Nigeria.
He described them as vulnerable and defenceless.
He stated that Dorcas’ death was a direct result of corruption in the health sector.
He lamented the youths believe that the easiest way to get rich is to get government job.
His words: “The evils of men in authority have made living in the world very challenging for all but particularly for young people.
“Young people are the worst victims of social ills such as corruption and bad leadership which seem to characterise our world today.
“A former American president once said that when older men declare war, it is the youths that must fight and die.
“The youths substantially bear the brunt of the misconduct and misbehaviour of the elders.
“They pay for the sins they do not commit. While I am not saying that older men commit all the evil deeds of the world, it is important to stress that young people, because of their vulnerability and dependence on the decisions of older people, are always the majority to bear the brunt of bad leadership, bad decisions, bad families, bad society, bad politics, policies and governance.”
He added: “The young Dorcas Oke, bore the brunt of the bad leadership of our society.
“She was full of life and aspiration but they were cut short by deliberate actions or inaction of the people in health system riddled with corruption.
“She died because some corrupt persons in the sector succeeded in selling adulterated drugs which killed her.
“Someone whose job it was to monitor and maintain standards failed to stop the adulterated drugs from entering our markets.
“The story of Dorcas is just one among many others that buttress the claim that corruption kills.”
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