“Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.”- Henry Kissinger “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” – John 8:32. After Donald Cameron made the “fantastically corrupt” statement during a chat with the leaders of the United Kingdom, it was obvious that it would be one of the world’s controversial statements. Nigerians in particular took him (Donald) by the Jugular in a bid to make him retract his statement.
It didn’t end there. The SSA on media publicity to Buhari; Garba Shehu had totally showed his discontent, that of the administration and Nigerians at large to such radical comment.
I personally was not comfortable or rather happy with this statement. As a proud Nigerian, I felt like I had been beaten by a harsh rain. But I wish it wasn’t the truth. I wish it was quite a fallacy.
I wish our country is not corrupt. I wish Cameron made the statement out of hate for the country. I wish I could also demand an apology from Cameron.
But aye aye, we are fantastically corrupt. I don’t need to spend much time on defining corruption in itself, since the act is an household name and also has an heterogeneous definition. In Nigeria, the major abode of corruption and it’s practices is in governance.
Hence the common man can presume although wrongly that corruption only exist within the corridors of power. But are there any other forms of corruption? Who should be blamed for corrupt practices? Can we as Nigerians,redeem our lost glory? What should be the impact or the obligation of the Government, and the governed (Youth in particular). Corruption (subjectively), is an act of distorting social norms, moral values and principles of integrity; a cancerworm that if not cut off at first diagnosis, would spread massively in its host defiling the host itself.
Corruption exist in almost every place and institution. Health, Education, Business, Economy, Politics and even the ought to be Holy haven; Religion houses corruption. There is a quite funny illustration that gives a vivid trace of corruption.
It is said that a child knows corruption right from his childhood. He is given birth to in a corrupt hospital, where the parent needs to know a doctor or nurse so as to be attended to first before other patients. He then goes into a corrupt school where he is taught how to cheat in exams, in case his parents are not bouyant enough to by him the result. He climbs the corrupt rung into the higher institution where social amenities to improve welfare conditions are dead due to the corrupt practices of the Vice Chancellor and his management. Fome there,he develops the “I will get there and embezzel too” mentality.
He doesn’t stop there, He gets a government job where he requests for bribes in exchange for what the citizens have a right to get which they ought not to pay him for. Because he knows some people at the top, he gets to a position where he starts to embezzle too.
His children and wife are living abroad, so he steals even more to make them comfortable. Before retiring, he gets his Children into the Civil Service. The corruption then goes on in circles and even bigger circles. This shows that corruption outlives the people.
The quite popular one in Nigeria, is the official corruption which majorly has to do with bribery, and embezzlement of public funds. Government officials carting away several millions into safe havens in other countries of the world (United Kingdom inclusive).
In fact, as I’m writing this, several former government officials have been denied their right to move due to their fraudulent act while in office. In fact, this people are the actual ones whose corruption are being reffered to as “quite fantastic” As the Yorubas would say, they are the fruits of an orange tree that makes the tree and its branches suffer from sticks and planks.
The unofficial corruption is quite common but not as popular as the official one. People jumping queues, favouring a relative, in fact littering the floor inter alia are other forms of corruption. In fact this is the foundation of the bigger corrupt practices we have today. Who should we blame for ever being corrupt? Do we blame the Creator for looking on even while his institution (Religion) bows to corruption? Do we blame our leaders who care less about the future of the ntion? Or perhaps we sit ourselves down and have an exclusive blame party for ourselves? Well,I will go for the last two. I sincerely, have no reason to blame the Creator.
He has made us a free soul. He has given us the power to choose exclusively what we want. I will blame our leaders who have no respect for the rule of law. Who believe in creating wealth through the sufferings of the people. Who believe in lying to the people. Who believe in stock piling wealth that their generations to come, might not need. I blame the Nigerian elites for impoverishing the nation.
I blame the Nigerian masses who collect foodstuffs during elections in exchange for the suffering of the next four years. I blame the bank customers who always jumps the queue.
I blame the old and young who litter the ground and defile unworthy places with their dirt and feaces. I blame that young lad for crossing the lawn. There is always a room for a way forward. The first onus lies on the government. The government should not just draw a plan but act on the reorientation of the Nigerian people.
This also means the government should also be ready to be sincere as he who must come to equity, must come with clean hands. All corrupt official should be probed, and if found guilty, must be brought to book. Kudos to the present administration on this, little wonder the Arch-Bishop of Cantebury gave Mr. President a benefit of the doubt. Although it has been presumed as witch hunt by some Nigerians.
This must be checked too as it is another form of corruption to leave some people out of the black book while others, who have committed the same crime are tied down. What is good for the Goose, is also good for the Gander. The court must be given a freehnd to decide corrupt matters. Stringent laws should be made by legislators to curb corruption. The gigantic take home pay of the legislature is a form of official corruption. I will tern it “legitimate” corruption. A review should be done on the amount paid to the law makers.
In the chat with the Queen, a bystander(I’m yet to know his name), gave a hint on how world leaders are expected or ought to come down for the economic summit. “They (world leaders, especially Nigeria and Afghanistan) are all coming at their own expense, one presumes?” He asked sarcastically.
It is in fact believed that such summit, ought to be attended by world leaders at their own expense, not that of the country. Government officials should be able to differentiate between official spending and other spending while in office. It would have been widely accepted if such summits were attended through public transit by air, and not the parade of Presidential privates jets.
The people should however be ready to to be reoriented. Any corrupt practice(s) should be reported to appropriate authorities. Corruption, and Anti- corruption in it self should be at least a topic if not a subject and course in our schools at all cadre. The corrupt officials, most importantly the #20 demanding, men in black; the Police should be critically looked into. The exploitation of vehicle owners on our roads is outrageous. The incessant demand for bribe before bail is ridiculous. Bail in it self is free. Don’t jump queues.
Don’t ask for unnecessary favour. The creator does not do favours that are unfair to others. Don’t say the creator favours you after a successful corrupt dealings. He is actually pissed, and will revenge on the behalf of the that were people cheated. Our roads are now death traps due to the negligence contractors who do not do a good job or don’t do it at all. The government should always probe contracts it is giving out.
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.”- Seneca Our religious outfit should please fear the creator whom they serve. They should stop chasing unwarranted wealth pants down. Our religious outfit have now fallen in the euphoria of private jets. Hence all corrupt means are always employed to have one and maintain it, among other material things.
Our religious leaders have now turned to errand boys to our corrupt politician. They’ve gone errant. Well, since the words written in the Holy books are true, I don’t need to tell you “Daddy’s and mummies”, that if you don’t change, your end is doom. The Nigerian youth(including myself) must be ready to serve our Fatherland in patriotism. We must be ready and able to renew our nation’s image in the eyes of the likes of Donald.
We must be ready to serve through community service, voluntary services inter alia. We also must be ready to take charge when opportunity comes. Contest for elections in your ward, constituency, or any position you’re eligible to be. And do not forget that he who must come to equity, must come with clean hands. So as not to make Donald right again. Because this time, even President Buhari knows and has accepted to the fact that Donald is right.
It is when these and more(that I am not able to mention here for now) are done, then it will be only right to chastise Donald on such comments if made next time. It is until then that i can, you can, and we can call him big mouthed and cocky. But for now, I hate to say this but just like Donald Nigeria is fantastically corrupt. I see a Nigeria, where countries of the world would be eagar to also come for our anti corruption summit. Not just because we invited them, but because they know we are corruption ante.
Because we are a model for other nations. And because we have relegated corruption to the barest minimum possible. I know my child would not be taught how to embezzle public funds, but to make from his own sweat and give out to the public. I am determined to put him through this.
If everyone’s determination is like this, and we raise our child/children up to embrace dignity of labour and to understand the joys of eating from one’s fruit and the shame of doing otherwise, I believe we will no longer be tagged Fantastically corrupt anymore. One day, we will make Donald Cameron regret his words, we will make him explain what he meant by the statement, and then we will forgive him.
For by then we will tell the Creator to forgive him for he knows not what he was saying. But this will only happen when we start to work against corruption.
LET’S GET TO WORK! “It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.” – Aung San Suu Kyi
Com. Fakiyesi Samuel O,
Faculty of Law,
Obafemi Awolowo University,
F; Fakiyesi Samuel