Employing China’s way of dealing with corruption
The headlines are always screaming about corruption in Nigeria: Nigerian Police rated the most corrupt in the world; Transparency International (TI) rates Nigeria low on corruption Index; Corruption getting worse in Nigeria, and so on.
TI, a global anti-corruption watchdog, had in its 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released in February this year ranked Nigeria low. The latest ranking has Nigeria in the 148th position out of 180.
The most recent reports by the World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) and the International Police Science Association (IPSA) rated the Nigerian Police, and by extension, Nigeria, as the worst in the world, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Uganda and Pakistan.
The already-sullied reputation of Africa’s largest Police force was further soiled as it came out as the most corrupt in the ranking that involved 127 countries.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has made fighting official corruption a cornerstone of his reign. Judging by the numbers alone, the campaign has achieved impressive results.
Astonishingly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has disciplined well over one million officials since Xi took power in 2012. The country’s judicial authorities have said the death penalty would be applied to anyone embezzling or taking bribes to the tune of three million Yuan ($463,000; 409,700 euros) or more.
The government believes corruption is a higher form of ‘murder’ and has decided to treat it as such.
Just recently, Zhang Zhongsheng, former vice mayor of Lyuliang City in north China’s Shanxi Province, was sentenced to death for taking bribes.
According to the Intermediate People’s Court of Linfen in Shanxi Province, Zhang received bribes in cash and property worth 1.04 billion Yuan ($165 million) from 1997 to 2013.
Apart from being sentenced to death, Zhang has also been deprived of all his political rights for life and all of his properties forfeited.
Until we treat corruption the same way we treat murder, we may not make headway in dealing with it. For every act of corruption, something dies in the country.
Corruption kills vision, strangulates people with ideas, makes the environment so stifling for development, hinders the progressives and terminates opportunities that are meant for the youths.
Real ‘murder’ happens when people are cut off from lifesaving and empowering opportunities. The child beggars that didn’t have access to education yesterday would ultimately become a nuisance to the environment today.
A corrupt leader can murder a whole generation. Many youths are impoverished today just because corruption cut them off from accessing opportunities. We need to understand that every act of corruption takes the life out of others.
The child beggars in the North, epileptic power situation in the country, embarrassing youth unemployment rate and potholes on Nigerian roads are all fallouts of a corrupt system.
Apart from applying very stringent measures to tackle corruption, there are still other things to learn from the Chinese approach against corruption:
Holding Leaders Accountable
Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
There are so many leakages in the Nigerian system and until we hold leaders accountable for the money allocated to them, the fight against corruption is just like a smokescreen.
How do our governors spend security votes? How do members of the National Assembly spend constituency allowances? From the councilors at the local government level to lawmakers at the state and federal levels, to the governors and Presidency, we must hold all of them accountable.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has always been at the forefront as accountability watchdog and this is really commendable.
Nigerians have the right to know more about the way taxpayers’ money is being spent. We must make our leaders accountable.
John F. Kennedy said: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
This peaceful revolution is the restructuring of the country, as it is obvious that something is inherently wrong in our structures and institutions. We must begin to see that injustice is a symptom and an opportunity to design new models of governance.
Frank Zappa said: “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
The structures presently on ground encourage corruption. The Nigerian system is not a justice system; it is just a system and requires total overhauling.
Seeing Money As A Reward And Not As An Entitlement
Horace Greely said: “The darkest hour in any man’s life is when he sits down to plan how to get money without earning it.”
Corruption will fizzle out gradually when people see money as a reward for the problems that they are solving and not as something they are entitled to simply because of their political office. A leader that is unable to solve problems is a liability to the system.
Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, said: “Every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems before returning home.”
I have often said that the wealth of corrupt leaders is the ignorance of the youths.
Kurt Cobain said: “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” There is one thing that youths in Nigeria have in common, and it is the fact that we are at the receiving end of a corrupt system.
If there is one thing that should unite youths across all the geo-political zones, it should be the unified fight against corruption. The youths should brace up to challenge the scourge of corruption.
For Nigeria to be rescued from institutionalised corruption, the youth must rise up to challenge the status quo. They are a deciding factor in the war against corruption and we must vigorously, but not violently challenge the status quo. An incorruptible youth is an asset to the future.
The problem of extravagant spending has become a norm and an integral part of our culture. Nigeria’s democracy is surely one of the most expensive to run. The jumbo allowances of public office holders and Nigeria’s legislators are obviously unsustainable, profligate and wasteful.
José Alberto Mujica Cordano is a Uruguayan politician who served as the 40th President of Uruguay from 2010 to 2015. Nick named the ‘Pauper President’ for his frugality in handling public funds Mujica gave 90 per cent of his monthly salary to the poor when he was at the helms of affair, earning him the label of ‘The World’s Poorest President.’
“I’m called ‘the poorest president, but I don’t feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle and always want more and more,” he said.
We have become victims of our spending style, which is a reflection of lack of financial intelligence and inner misery.
Corruption is actually a symptom of a valueless reward system. The reason why corruption thrives in Nigeria is because we are rewarding it. Our leaders cannot stop corruption until they stop rewarding it.
The logic is very simple: what you feed thrives and what you starve dies. We are feeding corruption with our faulty reward system.
There is an institutional fault in our reward system, as we have often rewarded mediocrity over excellence.
This is the core reason why corruption is more prevalent in Africa. I believe strongly that if we make necessary adjustments in our reward system and re-prioritise our values, corruption would die automatically.
Singer and civil rights activist, Charles Oputa, aka Charley Boy, has often called on the youth to rise up and rescue Nigeria from the hands of its corrupt and inept leaders.
He urged Nigerian youths to sit up and do something about the continued domination of the affairs of the country by a class of people who are not truly committed to its wellbeing.
I am encouraging the youth from the various geo-political zones to come together and take massive action against corruption.