By KINGSLEY MBADUGHA/OMEIZA ROBINSON/AYOBAMI OGUNGBE
MANY Nigerians were tranquillized when the global anti-corruption watchdog announced that our country is one of the 35th most corrupt countries in the world. To some people, the situation in the country is worse than what was reflected in the latest corruption perception table. Most people believe that in Nigeria, all kinds of evil act corrupt act is obtainable in the country life wire.
Corruption is the major hindrance, a big obstacle to the development across all sectors in Nigeria, this is because virtually all sectors in the country are all corrupt. It has eaten deep into the life wire of the country and that is why it seems as nothing is been done about it.
Nigerian government, police, civil service and businesses are plagued by bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption. While many points to a failure of leadership; corruption is largely a product of an economy fueled almost exclusively by petroleum with no vested interest in developing Nigeria’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The wealthy simply profit from oil while the country wallows deeper into economic chaos.
Nigeria’s roads are dominated by check points where law enforcement agents often demand that their palms be greased before travelling.
They’ve turned check points into bribe collecting points and that is more reason terrorists, kidnappers and other hoodlums are not caught in most of their activities. What do you expect when a security man whose attention supposed to be on the individuals that look suspicious is focused on the drivers hand hoping to get N20.
Nigeria as a nation is falling deeper into corruption day by day, can you tell me any sector in this country that is free from bribery and corruption? I doubt because even in football, players most times bribed coaches for them to play for the next game.
Moving aside entirely to the education sector where most times students who are not qualified at the time of the examination are the ones that are referred to as undergraduates. There have been complaints that the Nigerian education sector is poor; why won’t it be, when money is being collected to admit students into higher institution. Have you asked yourself why students mostly score higher in Jamb and when it comes to PUME, reverse is the case; that will show the level of corruption, bribery and exam malpractice in education system. Very soon in Nigeria the poor who cannot afford to pay up to #150,000, cannot be admitted into the university.
The main issue about corruption in Nigeria does not lie with our government or civil service alone, citizens are also involved in this act.
An electorate sells his/her vote for just a thousand naira that not is even enough for air time subscription as a result of poverty.
The focal point about corruption in Nigeria to a large extent lies right in Aso rock with those that wine and dine with the people in the floor of power both at the national and the state to local level. Embezzling public fund is no more news in the country, it has become a normal daily activities. In this country, abnormality has become normality and that is more reason why all efforts to curtail corruption in the country has become negative.
The country has become so corrupt that the public servants have totally lost trust in the government. The public servants hardly believe anything that the government says which are yet to be implemented. This is because the leadership in the country so far has been treading and is still treading on the ground of promise and fail.
ASUU embarked on strike for a period of 6months last year, even when the government promised to meet up with their demands. There seemed to be no credibility in what government dishes out to the public anymore.
Nowadays we hear such comments likes “ I pray o” whenever it’s heard that the government has embarked on one project or another, the citizens have doubts about that.
It would be difficult to identify any Nigerian leader who can be said to be successful in fulfilling his promises to the country. No doubt, the country is in this current depressing and distasteful state because her leaders at various levels of government over the years have perfected the art of saying something and to an extent doing another almost at the same time. Even when any effort or whatsoever are made, it is, almost always contrary to the promise made.
Human right watch estimated that the epidemic nature of corruption led to the loss of $380bn worth of revenue between 1999 and 2007in Nigeria. Then about 47 percent of companies that do business in Nigeria till date are Said to be experts to make facilitation payments to public officials in order to get them to do their work. To the observers, the parliament and the political parties are the most corrupt institutions; in line with this, I believe that corruption within the bureaucracy is equally as virulent, commenting on this issue in his article “are we really winning the war Against corruption” Uche Igwe said. That , “a major chunk of public sector corruption happens within the Nigerian civil service.
The civil service is meant to be the bureaucracy that services the policy implementation process, but today it has been turned into an arena of looting. Corruption in the civil service is the rule rather than the exception, Uch Igwee added. There is this popular saying “wait for your turn” that is to say that one has to patiently wait till he/she gets to higher position and only then and only then can he join the club of bribe collectors and money embezzlers. But this is what happens in a state where abnormality has become normality.
Most persons enter offices with goodwill but after some time, they begin to understand that one cannot bite more than he can chew. Even at the house of assembly and others at the local level, anyone who fights against corruption in his office stands a risk of being impeached. In most cases, they set the person up. Nigerian offices are dens of lions where three things are involved; it’s either you join the club, resign or face allegation that could lead to your impeachment, that is the situation of things in Nigerian politics and other sectors in the country.
The country has presented a bad image of herself in the eyes of other countries. Nigerians in other countries of the world are often suspected because of the evil deeds that those in power are not willing and ready to stop.
So far, the main avenue for war against corruption in Nigeria is through .the establishment of anti-corruption agencies. There are multiple versions of these agencies, each pursuing after complex, competing, divergent, and often overlapping mandate in Nigeria. All well and good but what has been their impact? Some of those agencies have turned out to be the biggest channels for corruption themselves. Some of these agencies when they apprehend someone, instead of charging the person to court, their pocket would be charged with money and that’s the end of such cases.
The anti-corruption agencies have failed. Money controls their minds, even those who wish to fight corruption, their ‘oga at the top’ would suppress their efforts.
Lest we forget, in time past, agricultural and economic indices have largely dictated a country’s growth and increases in complexity and development.
Today, these variables are not all together rendered negligible, but they can hardly match the autocratic nature of influence handled by the political factors within the political sector that weave the fabric of country’s internal development and external relationships with foreign nations. That is why Nigerians have lost all available faith in the possibility of a legitimately elected representative of the people as it concerns the elective process for change of government.
The unending corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system has helped no one either as both the government and the governed seemed to have been carried away by the turbulent sea of western dependency.
Nigeria is wallowing in corruption, even the coming generation now subconsciously prepare fertile ground for the seed of corruptive influences like grafting, misappropriation and illicit propensity of for wealth.
It is in Nigeria we have, though in small number, members of the so called ‘CABAL’ who seems to be in absolute control of the electoral process, which according to concerned Nigerian citizens has ironically become ‘selection’ as opposed to an election process. It is regrettable to realize that the dreams and counsel of our founding elders has been forsaken for many years to embrace corruption and the profit of greed. Our national anthem reads “arise o compatriots”, how many of our leaders are patriots, you as an individual, how patriotic are you?Feigning ignorance to this prevalent attitude of our rulers and the “chop as I chop” concept a present part and reality of the Nigerian government administration. Should Nigerians resign to a fate of failure and hopelessness without repair? Answer to this question is cryptic for it would only lead to more questions. However, there is a plausible possibility for a purge of all impurities from our present polity even though a change has never been a welcome verb for discussion where poorer and politics are concerned. But since, “nature is change is nature, then nature is the part of existence we can affect or effect”. The limited success in the war against corruption has bred deep cynicism among the Nigerian people capable of subverting trust in a democratic system of government.
Conclusively, in a bid to curtail corruption in Nigeria, an effective anti-corruption agency must command public respect, be credible, transparent accountable, and fearless. It must mobilize the necessary political will as well as enjoy considerable operational independence. Since the war against corruption formally resumed in Nigeria for years, the verdict is that it has been less than effective. Our leaders should restore purity and sanity into the system and reduce the rate at which they perpetrate evil in the country and other sector officials should as well refine and redefine their minds of corruption and bribery.