REDEEMING NIGERIA IMAGE AS THE SECOND MOST CORRUPT NATION IN AFRICA
By: Solomon Olali-Igabo
Corruption is define as a form of dishonesty or criminal offence undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority to acquire illicit benefit or abuse power for one’s private gain.
Society today needs a good dose of honesty in business, politics, school, the home and even in religious organization. The crime wave of the world has reached an alarming height. Killing, rape, banditry, bribery, corruption in high places, fear and superstition everywhere. The news of selfish leaders or politicians is common and many go into leadership to enrich and enhance their position is disheartening rather than for the good of others and society.
Corruption has retarded the growth and development of a people and nation especially Nigeria. Lack of integrity, crooked and greed are reigning high in public and private institutions with impurity.
Recently, the Transparency International is a global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption, as Non-governmental organization which is based in Berlin, Germany as revealed that Nigeria is the second most corrupt Nation in Africa.
The Transparency International was founded on the 4th May 1993. Its non-profit purpose is to take action to combat global corruption with civil societal anti-corruption.
The question, Is Nigeria a corrupt nation or does its leadership has challenged? The answer is certainly on the affirmative.
Though, Nigeria is regarded as the most populous black nation in the world and giant of Africa yet no one has disputed this claim or assertion. Is it a contradiction of statement as being the second most corrupt nation and at the same time Giant of Africa?
Historically, corruption in Nigeria started from the military era and it has strongly overgrown its bound in our social, economic, political and even religious lives. The prevailing insecurity in the country and corruption are products of poverty and bad leadership.
Besides, there are noticeable violence, indiscipline, power greed and other form of anti-social activities across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that former President, Chief Oluesegun Obasanjo once said “Nigeria needs to be served and to be saved not only by words but also nurtured by firm, patriotic, courageous and committed actions, devoid of selfish interest”. According to him, it is only in this way that the citizens can give themselves and the world a new image of Nigeria and Africa that is in need.
If a society is corrupt and poverty reigns supreme in its domain, its leadership cannot prove to be above board. That is why Nigeria image is being tainted with black and red by international bodies due to high level corruption and abuse of public office by leaders in corridors of power.
The trouble with most Nigerians is that they would rather be ruined by praises than loved by criticism. It has been observed that leaders who leave the light loads to others to carry and take the heavy ones themselves are loved by their people.
One of the enduring legacies of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration was the introduction of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt and other Related Offences Practices Commission (ICPC) which resulted some level of success as looters or corrupters were convicted and jailed.
Sadly, corruption and crime have become a household disease in Nigeria and every Nigerian is being labeled as corrupt internationally and locally. Those who work conscientiously, assiduously and patriotically are those that are generally victimized and queried. While those who embezzled public fund are free and honored and those who complain are victimized and oppressed in all facets of society.
Interestingly, when President Muhammad Buhari assumed office, one of his cardinal promises is to fight corruption, noted that it has fast eaten up the nation fabric and will ruin everyone if not checked or uprooted aggressively. Some critics called him Baba go Slow but somehow it has instilled fear and decorum among Nigerians when it comes to management of public fund whereas the issue of insecurity and banditry in the Northern parts of the country is most worrisome.
Regrettably, during the visit of Former President of the United States of America, Mr. Barrack Obama to Ghana in July 2009 he indicted African leaders especially Nigerians leaders as corrupters. He lamented that some Nigerian leaders have trillion of naira and dollars in private bank accounts in foreign countries and that Nigeria loses about four point five billion dollars (nearly N450 billion) annually abroad which could have helped their local economy is very disturbing and portrayed Nigeria as the most corrupt in the world.
He asked “who among leaders in ‘developed’ countries or countries we call ‘civilized’ will abandon the people they are elected to serve only to serve Nigerians or Africans first? Who among the leaders of the western countries will be stealing from their own people only to open bank accounts in Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya and rest of Africa continent? Or who among leaders in ‘industrialized’ countries will be buying plots of lands and houses in Togo, Sierre leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia or Zimbabwe?
The former U.S President admonished Nigerian leaders who stock piled their money abroad to stop henceforth and invest in Nigeria if they are truly patriotic and willing to salvage their land for good.
Therefore, all illegally acquired wealth within and outside the shores of Nigeria should be forfeited to the Government Coffer. This is because the high level of poverty in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is due to mismanagement of her wealth by leaders in public offices.
It is instructive that every stolen public money or looted monies in foreign countries should be repatriated to the country coffer.
EFCC and ICPC should take its drag nets to all the looters of the nation’s treasury irrespective of political or social status.
For instance, late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, said to have scientifically looted public funds worth billion of dollars and stock piled in Switzerland before his untimely demise in 1997. While former Governor of Delta State James Ibori was indicted to have looted billion of pounds as well as former Minister of Petroleum Mrs Dieziani Allison-Madueke are in the watch list of Federal Government, as negotiation are on going to repatriate all looted monies.
Similarly, is was reported that about 67 billion naira was recovered or saved in the federal civil service through ghost workers by the current administration of President Buhari is quite commendable.
However, Nigeria current borrowing; with high debt profile is quite disgusting hence diligence and frugality should be observed in every facet of our economy. As a nation we must also save for the rainy day.
Hopefully, President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption to recover all looted money should be accounted for including the rising insecurity. Nigeria will rise again if only we place patriotism above personal and religious bigotry.
Therefore, all hands should be on deck and fight corruption to stand still otherwise; it will fight back and put us all under everlasting servitude and slavery. God forbid!