Tuesday 14 October 2014

Nigeria’s Corruption Challenges — What To Do - by Sunny Ikhioya

We have succeeded in establishing the fact that the foundation for corruption in this country was in the beginning, through the falsification of records and distortions in geographical mapping, coupled with rigged census and elections.

It was the foundation for white collar criminality- one committed through the pen and books- and white collar criminality is the most dangerous to a nation. It stunts growth and development. It is not openly manifested but deadly as worm eaten houses.

Forget all the noise about the British bureaucracy and rhetorics: they are the foundation for corruption in this country and they replicated it in several parts of the world.

Check out the following British former colonies: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and many others, all of them rank very highly in the corruption index. The case of India is very perplexing: With all the strides they have made in medicine, engineering and ICT, the DNA of corruption refuses to be expunged from their system. It has now become a pathological case and the people have learnt to live with it.

Such is the situation in Nigeria but in India, they have been able to combine theirs with development. They have isolated their science and technology from the murky politicians and their world of corruption.

In Nigeria, the more we learn to live with corruption, the more it is choking and threatening to destroy us as a nation. Are we going to let it destroy this country?

Incidentally, we are having new generations of Nigerians who are not well informed and have been made to grow up with tainted accounts of the country’s history.

Unfortunately, history, we are told, has been removed from our educational curricula. How we intend to learn from the failures of our past is beyond my imagination, as we cannot move forward, without a proper grounding on our past.

Almost all of our founding leaders- except a very negligible few like Aminu Kano- developed acquisitive tendencies of the ultra- capitalist cadres and were prone to their ethnic and regional interests.

There is, therefore, no single role model in the form of Mahatma Ghandi of India or Nelson Mandela of South Africa. As a politician with acquisitive tendencies, there is no way you will practise your trade without compromising on your integrity and the spill over effects can be seen in our present day politics.

Corruption everywhere

The new generation would have been better placed to sort this out, as they were not part of the rotten foundation. Unfortunately, they are also learning very fast. So, how do we tackle the challenges of corruption in this country?

Again it is a matter that requires our collective efforts. It must be accepted by all that corruption is killing this country. The way everyone sees the deadly Ebola virus, same should be the case of corruption. An emergency should be declared and it must start from the head – I mean the presidency.

In their thoughts, actions and body language, it must be clear to all that they are ready to put this corruption issue to rest. Corruption cannot be eliminated from this country without good leadership examples.

As corrupt as the Indians are portrayed, they are never compromised by issues that affect the common progress of the country. For example, you cannot import just anything into the country when it is placed on the prohibition list.

In Nigeria, the reverse is the case; that is when waivers are granted and smuggling intensified; that is why the policies on rice and imported vehicles will not work.

Everyone of our policies are deliberately contrived to make some people rich at the expense of the generality of the citizens. Unless our leadership at all levels accept to set positive examples, we will not eliminate corruption.

We need a Nigeria of integrated, detribalised amalgamation of tribes where the interest of both the majority and minorities are factored in and institutionalised. We all need to come out clean in this country; there should be no need for falsification of population and election figures.

Let us have men that are ready to use their education correctly for the advancement of this country. The Indians have just launched a successful space mission to planet Mars, with a budget as low as $73-74million, ten times cheaper than what the US would have expended.

This is made possible by the focus of the intellectual class. They have concentrated on their researches and achieved ground breaking feats in various endeavours.

Because of their peculiar circumstances- the average Indian is relatively poor- they have always churned out products that the ordinary man can afford through frugal technologies.

That is the story of India; that despite the corruptive tendencies of the politicians and their like,the intellectuals/researchers are pushing the country ahead to the top of global forums. Why can’t our intellectuals do same?

It is not all about money but passion and interest. Our intellectuals must set the examples and the Ministry of Science and Technology must be involved in this drive. That Ministry is too passive, as it is now.

The shackles of corruption can be broken in this country, we need leaders who are ready. Are we ready to break this barrier? Who will bell the cat?

Photo Credit: Obilonu

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