Every Nigerian knows how deep corruption has spread its roots across all sectors of the country. Parents pay money for special centres so their children can pass WAEC, NECO and JAMB examinations. Lecturers in higher institutions demand for money or sex from their students in exchange for good grades in their examinations.
In like manner, Police officers and other law enforcement personnel extort Nigerians on many fronts; for instance, policemen demand for as low as ₦50 on highways from road users for them to ignore serious things like proper search of any suspicious vehicle.
In judiciary, judges declare judgement in favour of the highest bidder even in the face of glaring evidence against such judgement. Media organisations in Nigeria are not only corrupt but also serve as medium for promoting corrupt practices, that’s why media houses deliberately falsified information and intentionally formed public opinions to suit their political sponsors.
Corruption in public service in the country is both historical and historic; public servants and civil servants award their ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) contracts to their private owned companies making the bidding process stipulated in the Public Procurement Act 2007 no effect.
Politicians are the most perpetrator of corrupt practices, they lack principles and integrity that make them to use public resources entrusted to them for private gains. Nigerian politicians have been able to keep the abuse of public resource this long because the major political parties lack principle, no integrity and lack value. This is a country where what a politician or political party did yesterday has low impact on his or its success so far that politician or political party can pay money to gain people supports again.
Private sector is not left behind, too. Private business collaborates with government officers and MDAs either to convert public treasures to private one or to stay away from financial responsibility like paying taxes.
In addition, faith-based institutions have grossly lost their moral grounds. They are using spiritual gifts to accrue material things and they are preaching mainly on such things that lack virtue.
The above examples of corrupt practices in Nigeria are just few out of many corrupt incidents being perpetrated daily in the country.
Apparently, Nigeria is encapsulated by corruption; what do you expect of a society that has lost its values and morals where virtues like integrity, humility, fidelity, temperance, spirituality, diligence, service, courage, justice, patience, industry, modesty and the golden rule are virtually lost to vices like greed, manipulation, over-ambition, impatience, laziness, materialism, forgery, blackmail, embezzlement, nepotism and favourism. What you get is corrupt society and that is the situation in Nigeria.
Yet, there is still hope for a corrupt free Nigeria if the federal government is ready to take the lead in a transparent anti-graft war, which discourages bullying of selected corrupt individuals and businesses. The fight against corruption will be successful if members of the public do not perceive it as bias or one-sided; the credible of this fight is when the institutions saddled with responsibility to fight corruption in the country perform their responsibility with fairness and objectivity.
Fighting corruption is far beyond setting up Presidential Committee on Anti-corruption and heading it with a professor of law, coming up with whistle-blowing policy, and witch-hunting of past public office holders and members of opposition parties.
However, it requires a systematic approach that embraces basic principles of good governance, which can be summed as bolstering commitment, enhancing coordination and encouraging cooperation from both state and non-state actors with integrity as underlying mechanism. This is a better way to fight corruption in Nigeria.
To be continued…