Fundamentals of curbing corruption in Nigeria
The machinery that drives the gamut of Nigeria today is tottering at the precipice of inevitable fall. This is easily understandable considering the level of corruption and all its attendant evils that has this country by the throat and seeking to snuff life out of it. Like it has often been said, if this country does not kill corruption, corruption will eventually kill it.
Towards this end, there are numerous burning questions scalding our tongues and seeking honest answers to them if we are intent on saving the legacies of our country for the coming generation: Questions about ourselves in relation to corruption, questions on how true we are to ourselves and how much visionaries and change-makers we are. Questions on how much and how true we aspire to sustain our country and the human ideals it requires to work to the fullest in consonance with the welfare of its citizens, now and in the future.
The truth is, everyone is corrupt in his own way. It has even become sacrosanct to be corrupt throughout the nooks and crannies of Nigeria: the Imam who preaches to his congregation on the dreadful menace of corruption and its consequences, is not left behind; he is likely corrupt in his own way, especially when his interest is at stake. Ditto for the Pastor who preaches on Sunday from the holy repose of his pulpit. He is also likely to be corrupt in things that affect him and his.
Corruption is seen as being smart and brilliant in Nigeria. The question is how much you can outsmart the other party by hoodwinks and guiles. Those whom we rest hope of salvaging us from the tentacles of corruption are in fact the secret exponents and champions of corruption. Then we begin to ask these questions: who will check the reckless corruptive course this country is taking? Who will lead the fight against the menace of corruption without bias, fear or favour? Who will bell the cat? I, You Or who?
Whenever we mention corruption, what instantly came into our minds is our leaders. Our leaders. Yes, because we see them as the worst examples of instigators and exponents of corruption. Majority of us believe that if they were not corrupt and have been rendering their services to the nation maximally and effectively, no one will be corrupt.
For so long, they have shortchanged the entire citizenry of this nation by not giving us our dues while they have bare-facedly dipped their hands into the country’s coffers and enriched themselves undeservedly. Their corruptive practices have become the norm to them and I dare say they even see them (their corruptive practices) as adornments. Consequently this has indeed made everyone to become corrupt in his own way and manner.
But in my assumption, we are the ones to be held accountable for all they do. In the first instance, we are the ones who vote them in. We are the ones! Despite our knowledge of their corruptive ways, we still vote them in because we often hope to share in their spoils of office especially if we are related to them, if we are their party men, if we attended the same schools with them, if we worship in the same church or mosque with them. In fact, if we share any affinity with them.
But at the end of it all, we realised that their spoils are only meant for them and their immediate families. The little we might have been given if we were given at all is never enough to feed us and our immediate families for a day or two. We realised very late that we have been taken for a ride. But because of our helplessnes, naivety and ignorance of our power as an electorate, we fall the same way when next they come for their sweet mouths and vote for then again.
Until we learn to vote incorrupt, sincere and honest people into offices will we continue to live a life devoid of honour, a life of helpless slaves who are given leftovers to fight over like dogs. And who like dogs bark at, and bite one another for possession of the few dry bones.
Until we learn to build a government with the interest of the citizenry at its pinnacle, a government that will convict anyone found guilty of an offence no matter his status, place of birth, religious affiliation or political belonging, we will still be wallowing in the muddy water of corruption and all the ills that attend it like unstable government, insecurity, unemployment, cultism, insurgency, ritual killing, kidnapping, armed robbery and a host of others.
But if we eschew corruption in those high places where the fate of the nation is being decided and its destinations sealed, corruption will peter out of our system and life will become more meaningful.
Garko wrote from Gombe State. He is an essayist, story writer and poet.
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