In his homily, the Bishop of the Bomadi Catholic Vicarage, Rev. Hyancith Egbedo, was point blank when he attributed the bad condition of the East-West Road and the series of plane crashes in the country to corruption in the polity.
Rev. Egbebo said he was nearly killed on the bad East-West road. He told the gathering that there was need to tackle corrupt practices among political office holders and focus on the construction of roads.”
Gen. Azazi died on December 15, 2012 alongside Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa and four others in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa State. Azazi was a native of Bayelsa State
But President Jonathan disagreed with the cleric’s assertion that poor infrastructural development under his administration was due to the active involvement of elective office holders and political appointees in corrupt practices. The president insisted that what the nation needs was for Nigerians to change their attitude towards governance and development.
He said though corruption exists in the country, the citing of corruption as the reason for the failure in certain sectors of the economy including aviation and road sectors was wrong. “We talk about corruption as if it is the cause of our problems. No, yes, we have corruption in this country. The government has also been fighting corruption.”
Jonathan said from 2007 when he served as vice president and now as president, Nigeria has more agencies that fights corruption and has witnessed three heads of anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). “But we have discovered that most of the issues called corruption are not corruption. I remember the last meeting we had with the chief justice of the federation, this was when I tried to bring the heads of the three arms of government together to see how we will collectively suppress corruption.
And of course, we analysed the cases in court and discovered that about 80 per cent of them are not corruption cases.
Sometimes, the way we mention corruption makes it looks like when indigenes of some villages in the Niger Delta blame the death of a person on the activities of witches or spirits. If we do things properly and change our attitude as Nigerians, most of these issues that we blame on corruption will not come.”
The event was not all about corruption in the country as prominent Nigerians including the president paid glowing tributes to the late Azazi. Jonathan described him as a “good man and a decent military officer.”
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi announced the state government’s naming the newly constructed Lebobu Road opposite Elekaya Road in the Port Harcourt City as Owoye Azazi Street.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayesla State said Azazi was a true hero of the Ijaw nation and his departure had created a vacuum that cannot be filled in the Niger Delta.
“That is why, as a government, we did not hesitate to declare him as a true hero of Ijaw land and one who is deserving of a heroic burial as his remains are the first to be interred at the Heroes Park - an exclusive burial/final resting place for only true legends and heroes of the state.”
In her tribute and on behalf of the members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, described the late Azazi as humility personified.