The Managing Director, Jaiz Bank Plc, Muhammad Nurul Islam, yesterday said corruption remained the biggest obstacle hindering Nigeria from achieving its economic potentials.
He said: "If you remove this canker worm out of Nigeria, the country would rival any nation because we have all it takes to be a great nation."
Speaking in a keynote lecture at a one-day forum of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) Abuja, tagged: "Nigerian Economy: 50 per cent Empty, 50 per cent Full?", Islam said corruption had often given way to a situation where the wrong people had been given leadership responsibilities.
He said: "But one thing I would say is that the biggest problem is corruption. As it is, not only has God blessed us with resources, we also do not face some of the major challenges other countries face. Natural calamity and the weather is middle of the course.
“But because of corruption, we put wrong people in the wrong place and we create good policies which we refuse to implement."
Represented at the occasion by one of the bank's executive directors, Mr. Usman Hassan, the managing director stressed that the country would make significant progress in achieving its targets as a nation if the issue of corruption is effectively addressed.
However, he said FICAN had a critical role to play in exposing illegal financial transactions, given that corruption was often about finance-people trying to benefit improperly either from the wealth of the nation or helping others to benefit inappropriately.
He added that corruption permeated all the realm of the economy and needed to be defeated in order to liberate the system.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Chairman, FICAN Abuja, Mr. Cobham Nsa, noted that the aim of the platform was to promote a mechanism for reviewing and analysing activities in the country's economic sphere.
He said the theme of this year's forum was apt given the contentious economic statistics bandied by both government and its critics. He noted that corruption could eclipse the desired impact of the country's much-taunted growth and development, if left un-addressed.