It was not long ago when at the funeral service of Gen. Azazi that the presiding minister commented that corruption was to blame for Nigeria’s woes and if corruption had been tackled the late General would not have needed to travel such a short distance by the chopper that crashed because the roads would have been in good condition.
Anyway, Mr. President who has a keen ear for criticism would not let that truth sink in, afterall the truth, they say, breeds hatred, he was quick to note in defence that the problem with Nigeria is not a corruption problem but an attitude problem. His
expectation is that Nigeria would be better if Nigerians acquire a better attitude. I’m not quite sure what he means by an attitudinal problem and what kind of attitude he is hoping to see. What seems obvious however is that he is living in denial; in denial of the corruption problem and in denial of the fact that he has failed in tackling it.
Yes, indeed the Nigerian problem is corruption, heck the whole world seems to be crushed by this wicked tyrant. So as to put it in the right perspective, let us attempt a definition of corruption. Corruption could be viewed as a deviation for the ideal. It comes from the latin word corruptus which means to abuse or to destroy.
Now if we agree that the ideal is a state of perfection as Plato so clearly demonstrates, then we could submit that corruption is a state of imperfection. If we stretch this reasoning further, we can say that man is in a state of imperfection by reason of his fallen nature hence he is inclined to corruption. So as to avoid belabouring the point, let us shift our focus to political corruption- the exact kind of corruption that is dwindling Nigeria’s fortunes.
That Nigeria is a corrupt country is so trite it is needless to say, what remains to be said albeit painfully is that the government has denied this problem or worse still has become disillusioned into thinking that it is tackling the problem. He has created this facade for himself by believing that the anti-corruption agencies are doing their job when they couldn’t convict an internationally acclaimed corrupt politician as James Ibori or when those eventually convicted serve a sentence not exceeding one year; when the presidency rewards corruption with honorary awards; when corrupt men are given sensitive positions, case in point would be the NPA chief, Tony Anenih. Corruption indeed it is that oils the wheel of our bereaucracy.
If you were to enquire why Nigerian students who took the WAEC exam could only manage a twenty percent pass, you would get answers like the books meant to be supplied in the library were sold at the book store instead- corruption. Why the roads are bad, it would be that the contract has been inflated and the contractors seem only to have been paid to pile sand or stones in heaps and pack their heavy vehicles some place. Why is their poor power supply, the Minister of power is the biggest importer of power to the country.
Truly, wherever you turn corruption hits you hard in the face. Nigerian leaders are corrupt but the scary part is how fellow citizens react to it, why they cry under the crushing burden of these corrupt leaders, they only thing that keeps most of them going is the hope that someday they would be able to loot the nation’s treasury. The mentality of the average Nigerian is one of ripping off the country, thats the only thing the nation is good for- take your share of the national cake.
Corruption can indeed be tackled but only in a wholesome manner and not with kid gloves as is currently done. The most important means is education, a reorientation of the citizens’ minds. Nigerians must understand that wise is the man who would plant the tree under whose shade he would not sit. We must begin to do things aright. It is important to note that the first duty to educate the children are the parents, instil in them the right morals. The right morals is taught only by the true Church instituted by Christ.
Again, there must be strict laws enacted by the National Assembly to curb this menace and offenders must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law so as to serve as a deterrent to prospective looters of our commonwealth.
Indeed if there is going to be any glimmer of hope for this nation then we must stand up and with one voice declare that ‘enough is enough’. We cannot afford to continue to live in Disney land and think this epidemic to be nothing but a fairy tale.
Onyedikachi Obiwanne is a young Lawyer with a patriotic zeal for national rebirth and transformation. He graduated from the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.