Nigerians believe that though corruption is a big issue in Nigeria it is not the major problem with our democracy and our leaders are not entirely to blame. It is rather the case that we need strong institutions to support our development and every Nigerian may indeed be corrupt.
Fine, but in my little corner I argue that corruption is the bane of our democracy and we have strong but non-functional institutions to help stem the growth of corruption if we care. What we therefore lack is strong, sincere, none partisan or biased selfless disciplined leaders like GMB who take their positions as servant leaders seriously and who are ready to serve not to be served. Until this is drummed into the heads and minds of many Nigerians we will never see the change we desperately need and deserve.
Many of our so called elites have often surprisingly argued that every nation and human being is corrupt. So it is a waste of time wallowing in the illusion of a corrupt free Nigeria and by so doing take away our eyes from the hot topics of tribe and religion centred divisive politics which sadly have continued to throw at us, many self-trained, determined and highly competent criminals who sadly are grossly incompetent leaders. Mind you there are still some good leaders but we need to find and support them before they become consumed by the terror of what happens in our corridors of power and join them because they cannot alone, beat the madness.
I am often told that I cannot justify the comparison of UK where I live or other Western nations who have had democracy for donkey years to or with Nigeria. What a fine excuse for delinquency and enthronement of one of the greatest ill and crime of society against humanity by people many of whom are holier than the pope?
Looking at the number of churches in Nigeria, the Alleluias and Amen blaring out of every corner of these churches every minute of the day and the annoying satanic sermons aimed at exploiting and brainwashing the vulnerability of an already terribly destroyed people for the benefits of some of the corrupt pastors and their partner in crime, politicians; you want to throw your own bible into the deep ocean and run back into your mother’s womb for safety. You also wonder whether this religion you are being preached is the same one which Oyibo brought to us as a weapon of mass control and brainwashing enough to take away our eyes and senses from the looting that came with them during the days of colonisation. I also go to church for an hour any Sunday that I can but cannot understand how our new religion remains the same that Oyibos brought us.
Being the hypocrites we are as human beings, in the faces of our politicians we tell them that they are the best God could have ever given Nigeria in the hope that at some point the crumbs from their stolen loots will drop and we will have a bit of the feast. Then behind their backs we call them names and lament the debacle they have brought with them.
The funniest thing is that Nigerians are known for their boldness and not cowardice but many of us still remain unable to tell the truth. I can only but blame greed which is part of many human beings and which only the self-controlled and well trained can most times resist for the reasons why we are letting our leaders get away with corruption in every cadre of society. The excuses for this attitude are sometimes mind numbing to a point of serious despair and embarrassment but many of us are silently dying inside and helplessly coasting along with the ill wind.
Taking into account and agreeing with the argument that our democracy is young and as such needs more time to grow and become like Europe and others who are currently the advanced and very superior democracies; I often ask myself at what point these people realised that corruption is wrong and made a decision to fight it for the good of society. I also ask myself the following: if no one took notice of it and made a commitment to get rid of it, would it have disappeared as much as it has today giving way for law and order in society to thrive and making their countries safe havens where we come for shelter from the injustices of corrupt leadership in Nigeria, at what point would we consider it necessary to seriously face and combat corruption as best as necessary and are we ever going to become like any of these countries we are aspiring to be like and live in their countries for greener pastured in sometimes very despicable conditions, then who will lead the fight.
Taking into account the nature of man, I also ask myself would corruption ever be eradicated or stemmed if we continue with all our lame excuses. Can building more strong institutions without effectively controlling the ones we have as evidence that we have the ability and interest to control and make them effective make any difference in the absence of a disciplined, honest and selfless leadership instead of the reckless ones we have today whose excesses are often excused because of tribal and religious hatred? I have serious doubts.
Despite the admirable impression that many of us have about the state of affairs, in particular the management of corruption in the West, their leaders are not relenting in their efforts to continue to control the minority with appetite for corruption. The UK’s recent corrupt practices law, prosecutions and sentencing of many home and abroad business persons who have been caught in such practices is clear evidence of their determination to keep corruption out of leadership. They are able and bold to make such laws because their institutions are effective and able to enforce laws without the judges being bought with stolen cash.
The Halliburton prosecutions in America which implicated many of our leaders is typical example of the effectiveness of such existing institution and determination to deter their citizens from engaging in corrupt practices no matter where their businesses may be in the world. The beauty of our lip service to the fight against corruption is that those who gave the bribe leading the charges of corruption against these foreigners against their home governments are in prison today but those who were alleged to have received and pocketed the money are walking free in our country with no fear of prosecution ever. If indeed we our problem is lack of strong institutions, what has happened to the little ones we have in the shape of our police and judiciary. The judges who set Ibori free on more serious charges are still on the bench and no one cares yet we are fighting corruption. Fighting corruption indeed!
Can Nigeria ever get to this point and how do we think that we can get there if we do not recognise that leadership is not about religion or tribe but about commitment to service to the people, competence, and credibility and determination to say and do only that which is right, good, respectable and responsible.
I think that dealing with corruption is about a credible disciplined leadership and nothing to do with strong institutions. We have enough of them and simply have to start making them functional.
Well, let us carry on the way we have been and see how much longer we can go before we crack up.