Corruption as defined by the Meriam Webster Dictionary, is a dishonest and illegal behaviour especially by those in power. Could this really be the actual meaning of the word corruption?
A synopsis of it all would show that corruption is not healthy for any political system at all. It depreciates the political structure of a country, weakens the policies and distabilizes the people.
Corruption they say, is a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria. Muhamadu Buhari, defined the term as "the greatest form of human rights violation". Corruption in the political concept, could be seen as the misuse of public funds and resources. I'd love to throw a question at this point, is that all there is to know about corruption in this country? It's one quite difficult to respond to, however to aid those who aim at fighting corruption, it's pertinent to understand that corruption is a lifestyle in this country we live in. This is where we see a thing that is wrong and look for ways to cover it up with more wrong acts. We believe in "three wrongs definitely would make a right" just for selfish benefits
This is the scenario of corruption in Nigeria, you suspect that a man is a thief, you send a thief to go and catch him. You cry that justice must be done, his counsel is a thief, the person prosecuting is a thief. The person to pass judgement is a thief. You finally find him guilty, he is then handed over to thieves too, so that his sentence can be executed (if there is). The looted sum is recovered by a personnel in charge of fighting corruption who plans to hoard the money for himself and his generations yet unborn.
From the kitchen where you cook there is corruption, to the security man you keep at your gate. The man you send to buy diesel for you is corrupt,even to the petrol station where the metre is already adjusted so, for every metre reading 12 you get 9. Even the fuel attendant who wouldn't give you your balance but would persist that you buy.
The institutions set out to fight corruption are themselves the most corrupt. Where exactly do you start fighting the corruption? Is it the Customs? the Immigration? The Police? The Judiciary is not left out anyway. Or the banks? Where to be an accountant you must know how to use the pen?What about our trade unions? Aluta continua? They have apparently discontinued!
We must understand that it's a grassroot problem. This may lead one to ask if colonialism was really our problem? It's not bigger than the system, only that we allowed it to become a way of life. Research has shown that corruption existed during the fight of independence, a little throw back can be taken to the Gowon administration, where the governors of this administration were seen as Lords overseeing their vassal, and the Head of State was what one of my lecturers would warn us never to be - timorous! Quite amazing was the Shagari Administration, one would say corruption was pervasive. Buildings mysteriously caught fire when investigations commenced on those whose finances were suspected.
The IBB administration can be seen as one that legalised corruption in the country. Not only refusing to give account of the Gulf War, he rigged the only successful election in the conutry's history, June 12 1993. It is safe to say that in IBB 's tenure corruption was the policy of the state.
Maybe Idiagbon, if we had allowed him to continue though he was able to curb corruption not eliminate it, this is however a story for another day following the circumstances surrounding the coup of 1985.
It is safe to say that Nigeria missed a golden opportunity to change for better.
It would take a generational change to cause corruption to run out of this country. We paved the way for corruption living institutions unmaintained, wage disparity increased. The difference between the rich and the poor is so wide you can not even be in the middle. No checks and balances in the system, the country as a whole has become a corrupt business place.
Even Babangida is surprised that Nigeria has survived till now.
Humane and sympathetic, are we?
Corruption in Nigeria, where do we begin?
S. A. NWANODI