It has been acknowledged from knowledgeable authorities that the predictive ability of the world’s intellectual class to study the past and the present in order to lay a predictive emphasis on the future is the most fundamental basis of humanistic embodiment.
Nigeria is one and our own, except for the fact that some elements are trying to tell us it is not one and that the unity we claim to have in diversity is only on paper but not practicable, pragmatic, mere lip service.
If the man up north considers the polls as being inauspicious and unfavorable to him, based on him losing an election, the other party that lost in other places where other parties won could have also laid claim to the fact that there was foul play on the part of those that won and that they were shortchanged. They could have as well well gone to the streets to demand their mandate, which could have simply showed the level of barbarism and illiteracy of the highest order, of which the final arbiter is the court of justice, there for any aggrieved person to approach to demand his mandate but not constituting public nuisance and disturbing the lives of innocent and ordinary Nigerians.
There is no scintilla of doubt that corruption has become a hydra-headed monster, which has immensely contributed to the pitiable and deplorable economic conditions of Nigeria and her inhabitants. This monster, indeed, has permeated through every facet of our nationhood with its halitosis percolating in every level of government.
As a country abundantly blessed with natural resources, particularly oil and gas, just to mention a few, Nigeria is estimated to have lost over $400 billion to the rapacious hands of corruption since independence in 1960. However, unfortunately, any attempt to fight corruption has hitherto been frustrated. And the fact that this phenomenon has been institutionalized and fully imbibed into Nigerian culture makes the fight a more herculean task. As Peter Esele, former president of the Trade Union Congress, rightly puts it: “Our culture encourages corruption, as painful as it may sound.”
In 2000 and 2003, the President Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration founded the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), respectively, for the purpose of tackling corruption in the public and private sectors.
Meanwhile, going by the complexity of Nigeria, right from the outset, there were indications that the anti-graft mantra of President Obasanjo’s administration was going to have some political undertones. Perceptibly so, critics of the then PDP-led government have accused the government of being selective, vindictive and insincere in the fight against corruption. As some have pointed out, the major anti-graft agency, the EFCC, became a tool in the hands of the Presidency to silence the opposition or individuals and other dissenting political voices against the government.
In 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari was elected into office, hopes were high among many Nigerians that the man, who is called “Mai Gaskiya” (the Honest One) in Hausa, and is believed to have the moral perpendicularity and impeccability was going to fight corruption headlong upon assumption of office. Though some commentators are of the opinion that the fight against corruption has gained more impetus under this government, especially with the removal of Ibrahim Magu as the acting chairman of the EFCC on the account of corruption charges, to many persons, it means the recovered loot is being looted. However, posterity is left to judge the effectiveness of the anti-graft approach of Buhari’s administration when he is out of office.
In all, if the menace of corruption must be rooted out of Nigeria, the fight must be a holistic one, devoid of party, religious, and ethnic sentiments. If we must end corruption permanently, there must be prerequisite steps taken in fighting corruption. And for this to happen, there is a need for government to concentrate effort on economic stability of the nation.
The economic stability of the country will serve as a primary precondition to the tackling of corruption. The creation of jobs for the populace, particularly the youth, has to be a priority of the government to discourage many from engaging in illicit financial activities. Until Nigeria gets to the stage of a sustainable economy via ensuring and providing an enabling environment for its citizens to realise their dreams, the fight against corruption may not achieve the desired result.
The tempo of political awareness in the country, with regard to the electioneering process, must be sustained and, in fact, heightened for the future polls in the country.
A citizen whose dream is to own a house or car, for instance, must trust the system that, through a mortgage or car loan, he or she can achieve that without compromise. Access to health insurance and good health care is a privilege for all; a phone company can sell you an Apple mobile phone with a new line without paying a dime allowing you 12 or 24 months to pay. When we stop making laws to catch thieves, but make laws to keep “Honest People Honest,” such laws will know no boundaries. Today, most laws are made to be used to catch one individual or the other and, sometimes, it results in using illegality to fight legality. Until we can achieve this, and more, only then will we have arrived in fighting corruption!
How do you explain the challenge of neocolonialism of another dimension in a state of electioneering to create the needed atmosphere for “fresh air” when a man can be comfortable to burn down religious houses on the basis of election crisis and they could not be called to order?
Elected and appointed political positions should not be seen as a means for personal aggrandizement. Instead, the occupant of such office must see it as a rare privilege to render selfless service to the people. Condoleeza Rice, former USA secretary of state, after serving for eight years, returned to teach as a professor in Standford University.
Great leaders are almost incredible simplifiers who cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can remember and understand.
In Nigeria, to fight corruption, we must meet basic economic needs of the people and this will act as the prerequisite for fighting corruption.