A former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mike Okiro, has revealed how he was swindled of all his savings by politicians who tricked him into contesting for a Senate seat after his retirement from the force.
Okiro, revealed this when he spoke in Abuja at a programme tagged: “Presidential aspirants’ media interactive platform” organised by New Nigeria Dream Initiative (NNDI), on Thursday.
The septuagenarian lambasted Nigerians for always collecting money from politicians when seeking elective positions, saying they are part of the problems of the government.
He explained that some group of persons tricked him to join the political race after he left office and gradually collected all his money till he was left with nothing. “We have more faults than the politicians,” he declared to his audience.
He urged Nigerians to reject politicians who go about sharing money every election year.
He said, “Nigerians will talk about the leadership deficiency, but I say no, that is not enough! It takes two angles! If leaders have deficiency, we have followers’ complacency! Because if leaders are behaving, we just laugh, wave at them, and say walk and go! And they will do the same thing again.
“But if we say no! Enough is enough, they change! You go, they give you money for votes so that you can vote for somebody whether the person can perform or not! They give you N5, 000 and you look for four years. That means the N5, 000 is your due for four years.
“I am talking about this thing because once in a time, the politicians have faults but we have more faults than the politicians. I have an experience, let me share the experience, I corrected myself and I said bye bye to that thing.
“I contested election in Abuja here, Senate. I was on my own when they called me to come and contest. I said I have just retired, they said no, come and contest! I said Okay, I will discuss it with my wife. I told my wife and she said I am afraid.
“So, they would come to me and say we want to go here, bring money; we want to do this, bring money; we want to do that, bring money; I gave all my savings, nothing again to give. They came one day, I said I was not going to give more money because I have nothing to give you.
“They told me the former man was not doing very well but I should come and try. You want me to give more but where do I get money from? I said okay, let’s do it this way, assuming I now go to borrow money or sell property to give to you, and I am elected, of course, the first thing I will do is to pay back that debt and all the property I sold, I buy them back.
“I know that after four years, there will be another election, I will reserve money for that election so that I will not borrow again. You people are the fault of this government. We should say no to vote sellers.”
Okiro who served as IG between 2007 and 2009, also urged Nigerians to jettison voting of political parties and focus on individuals with good track records and that can deliver dividends of democracy to them.
“We’re not going to follow bad wagons, we are going to vote for people irrespective of their political parties. It can be A B C D or UAW or whatever party. We will look at individuals. Is he good?
“Look at his track records! Look at people who are qualified, not where they come from, irrespective of the party they belong to, to make sure that if they rule us, the dividend of democracy will reach everyone,” he added.