“Until corruption is rooted out of Nigeria, Nigeria can’t achieve its potential in spite of its natural and human resources. Can Nigeria develop and become a great country when recruitments into the federal civil service, the Nigerian Army, FRSC, Immigration Services and others are characterised by bribery and corruption? People who are unsuited for jobs in some establishments have got jobs owing to the Nigerian factors of corruption, cronyism and nepotism.“
NIGERIA, the most populous Black Country, is in the prison of corruption. Corruption is Nigerian’s Achilles heels, and its bane. It has eaten off the moral fabric of Nigeria, and it is asphyxiating the country, too. Can a country that is bedeviled by corruption grow? The answer is a categorical no. But, what is corruption? The Longman dictionary of contemporary English defines corruption as: “Dishonest, illegal or immoral behavior, especially from someone with power.” I can say without equivocation that corruption exists in Nigeria.
Corruption rears its ugly head in all facets of our national life. A Nigerian who is not corrupt is considered to be an abnormal human being. He is called a “mugu”, which means a sucker in English. We have a culture of corruption into which teenage youths are socialised. When parents hire surrogate candidates to write such examinations as UTME, SSCE and NECO for their children, they have unwittingly initiated and socialised their children into the culture of corruption.
And, their rich parents will buy admissions for them to study law, accountancy or medicine in our universities. Being mentally indolent and ill-prepared for academic rigours in schools, they offer either their bodies or money to lecturers so as to score high grades in their courses. Consequently, now, we’ve millions of university graduates who are found wanting both in character and learning. Can a university graduate with moral bankruptcy and intellectual vacuity contribute to our national development? When these half-baked university graduates with twisted minds find themselves in positions of power and influence, they will pervert the system to achieve their base and selfish goals.
It is sad that our educational system has become dysfunctional owing to corruption. So, rich parents send their children to Ghana and Europe for schooling, as our cult-infested schools have become grounds for staging beauty pageant competitions and propagation of religious bigotry. Their sending of their children to Europe to acquire Western education causes capital flight, which does not boost our economy.
Our economy is ailing and hemorrhaging from deleterious corrupt practices that are deftly perpetrated by those minding our financial chests and collective wealth. As Nigerians perceive occupying positions of power as a licence and opportunity to amass wealth by fair or foul means, our political leaders are helping themselves to our collective wealth. They steal our money to indulge their fancies, whims and caprices at our expense. A governor from northern Nigeria used his state financial resources to purchase a jet for his private use. Unfortunately, he had a near fatal air-crash while flying himself to a city.
Monies that should be channelled into fixing our infrastructural deficits are stolen by people holding positions of influence and power. So, our hospitals have morphed from consulting clinics to mortuaries. Poor people go to our hospital to die, and not to recover from their ailments. Our roads that are filled with craters are death-traps that cause deaths of Nigerians daily. The dilapidated East-West road has remained an open sore in the psyche of our leaders. In spite of the humongous money injected into the power sector in the country, electricity supply has not become a given. Electricity supply in Nigeria is like a maudlin lady with personality disorder, whose mood swings from being hilarious to being cantankerous. Manufacturing industries have relocated to Ghana where regular supply of electricity is guaranteed and assured. The relocation of their industries to places outside Nigeria further compounds our unemployment problems. So, who is not unconscious of the fact that corruption is the polio that has crippled Nigeria?
Until corruption is rooted out of Nigeria, Nigeria can’t achieve its potential in spite of its natural and human resources. Can Nigeria develop and become a great country when recruitments into the federal civil service, the Nigerian Army, FRSC, Immigration Services and others are characterised by bribery and corruption? People who are unsuited for jobs in some establishments have got jobs owing to the Nigerian factors of corruption, cronyism and nepotism.
Recently, we got to know how employments were given to people in the immigration service. When the tale of what transpired clandestinely was revealed, it led to the retirement of the immigration service comptroller general.
Here, people who boast of having links to ministers and senators secure jobs while others who are better suited for the jobs are left out because they are not related to people occupying important positions in the government. This placing of square pegs in round holes is not a force for national development. People destitute of good morals and wanting in knowledge are given jobs they are incapable of doing. So, they pervert the system and formulate jejune policies that have clamped Nigeria into the prison of underdevelopment.
And, it is a known fact that the judiciary, the third arm of government, is the hope of the common man. The judiciary interprets the laws and punishes offenders of the law. Sadly, the judiciary has become the cemetery of our hope for a better Nigeria with their questionable judgments. Some weeks ago, the federal capital territory High Court convicted Mr. John Yakubu Yusufu of stealing N32.8 billion pension funds. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment with an option of fine in the sum of N750, 000.00. Can that judgment serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders? Is it enough comeuppance for the callous crime he committed, which pauperised many retired police officers?
A biased and corrupt judiciary is a threat to the growth of our democracy. People with kleptomaniac tendencies will loot the treasury if in power knowing that the judiciary will give them very light sentence when they leave power. The national judicial council and other regulatory bodies should address and tackle the rot in our judicial system. A corrupt judiciary spells doom and trouble for us. A stitch in time saves nine.
• Okoye, a poet, lives in Uruowulu-Obosi, Anambra State.
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