By James Patrick
Corruption in Nigeria is a pandemic. It is a cankerworm that was created by the colonial master to destroy their newly independent colonies, so that they would forever remain under them. Corruption in this country is worst than corona virus – the corruption virus in Nigeria is currently more life threatening than the corona virus. The western world may be in dare need of hand sanitizer to curb the spread of covid 19 but here in Nigeria, what we urgently need is heart sanitizer that would liberate us from the chains of corruption virus. Corruption has led us to where we now find yourself as a people. Despite the enormous potential providence has endowed Nigeria as a country with, it a shame and it’s a big pity that even at 60 we still remain where we were before we got our independence – if not worst off. Good roads, electricity, housing for all, food security, safety of life and property, quality and affordable educational system, job for all able bodied Nigerians, good health care system etc. These were the basic necessities the first generation leader used to drive their ways into leadership positions in the early sixties. The Tafawa Balewas, the Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Sir Ahmadu Bellos, the Awolowos, the Akintolas and co who emerged as the first set of leader we had in this great country promised to provide these basic amenities while they were in office. Nigerians voted or should I say, ushered these guys into various political leadership positions with the hope that they would bring all their golden promises into reality in the early sixties. Today, after six decades of corrupt leadership we are still faced with bad roads, no electricity, no job for able bodied youths, no good hospitals to treat the sick once among us, insecurity (you can hardly travel from Kaduna to Abuja without your heart in your pocket due to fear of being kidnapped). Today Nigeria is one of the most under-secured and under-policed country in the world. The financial times of Britain just released a security report last week stating with concrete fact that Nigeria is heading towards a failed State. In the global security index, Nigeria is currently ranked among the ninth most dangerous country in the world to live in. While China with over a billion population just celebrate how they lifted about a hundred million of it’s citizens from extreme poverty within a short period of eight years, Nigerian over took India and became the poverty capital of the world with over hundred million of its citizens living in extreme poverty. All these high level of underdevelopment and backwardness are as a result of the massive corruption taking place in all level of leadership in the country – From the local to the state right up to the National level. The discovery of oil rather than becoming a blessing to the people of Nigeria is now more of a curse to us. Our over dependent on petroleum dollar has destroyed economic creativity, first, in our leaders then to the people they are leading. Because it is more easier to fetch the money coming from sales of crude oil, we became mentally lazy to create another viable channels of generating income. Take a look at the economy at the grass root level, it is nothing to write home about. Most of the economy at the local government level is in comatose -nothing is happening aside from the regular archaic system of farming. Every leader at this level folds it hands, waiting for their share or their so called monthly allocation to come from Abuja so that they would have more money to embezzle. Our local government chairmen are nothing but puppets in the hands of the state governors because their monthly allocation comes from the federal government through the state Governors. ( if not of recent when the president used his executive order to sign local government autonomy into law). Even at that, a State governor is the alfa and the omega who can put or remove any local political office holder at his wish. Our grass root politics is nothing but a show of shame because the political party ruling a state automatically wins all the local government seats in that state. Because an incumbent governor has stolen so much money, he can do an undo. Presently, in Nigeria, some state governors are even more richer than the state itself. This is how low the corruption virus has reduced us into as a people. The IGR (internally generated revenue) in many State is not enough to pay the salary of one local government in that State. Going forward, there are things we need to put in place as a cure for this corruption virus;
1. Our leaders need to sanitize their heart, if we must move forward in this country. Their heart must be well trained to be able to separate public money from private money. Most of our leaders see public money or public property as their personal property. This is a big problems to most people leading us in this part of the world. Because they cannot differentiate the two, corruption becomes the order of the day. The corruption virus has eaten so deep into the psyche of our leaders to such extend that they see nothing wrong with been tagged corrupt.
2. Our leader need what I call a mental reorientation and psychological sensitization – they need to start by renewing their mindset toward handling of public funds meant to make life easier for the people.
3. Our leaders need to maintain social distancing from public funds. They need to self isolate themselves from the funds budgeted to build infrastructure and make life better for the populace.
4. Our leaders mush wash their hearts regularly so that it would prevent them from contaminating the corruption virus. If they wash their hearts as often as they should, their hands would have no reason whatsoever to take what belongs to the public. It is only a pure heart that will not steal. Purity of heart is one of the quickest cure for corruption virus in Nigeria.
Lastly, political position should be more about service to humanity rather than a mean for earning a living in the country. Leadership must be about selfless service and not a medium for selfish gain or self gratification. We must restructure our public service and our elective position to look less attractive, less lucrative to the politicians. Political positions should be based more on volunteering or a par time job rather than a full time, well paying job that we have now. This way, we would succeed in putting leaders into power who are willing to serve the people and not their pocket! Personally, I think the CORRUPTION virus is more of a pandemic to Nigeria that corona virus. So all hands must be on deck to sanctify the minds of our leaders urgently. If not, with this level of looting going on and the gigantic corruption taking place all over, Nigeria may someday seizes to be no more when the above steps are not taken to cure our leaders from the corruption virus.
BY PAYRICK JAMES
Phone no; 08138534313