No other issue seems central to the state we find ourselves in this country than corruption. Corruption is not the exclusive preserve of our leaders but also the followers. The truth of the matter is that we all seem corrupt; and it seems to run in our blood and DNA. In addition, it is not only our society that is corrupt, it is not made in Nigeria; virtually all the societies have one form of corruption or the other. The other societies may be corrupt but they retain an element of patriotism and nationalism in their own brand of corruption. At lest they keep theirs home and use it to develop and grow their country. However, the most worrying aspect is the type, manner and how pervasive corruption is in our land. Ours is a hybrid type. The finest of the lot, a systematic and an endemic type that is not only destructive but also deadly in its effects and ramifications. Corruption is not only limited to the embezzlement of public fund but extends to nepotism, bribe taking, cutting corners, aggrandisement, undue influence, favouritism, ill gotten wealth, lack of due processes, lack of morals and neglect of acceptable societal values, impunity, illegality and neglect of law for personal gains or favours, praise and honour for unsubstantiated and unaccounted wealth and others.
Corruption takes many forms. It may be incidental (bribes to junior public officials, little
macro-economic cost, but hard to curb and pervasive), systematic (affects whole areas of government and harms revenue, trade and development- common in Nigeria) or systemic (makes honesty irrational and has a huge developmental impact-our culture). We seem to have mastered all forms of this scourge. Corruption infringes the fundamental human rights to fair treatment, unbiased decision-making, and secure civil and political status. Through corruption the public services on which the poor depend are starved of funds, foreign investors are driven away, and environmental protection measures are flouted and rationality and reasonableness is taken as the cultural norm.
Looking at corruption from holistic view, we would find out that indeed the victims of this scourge cut across different segments of the society. The cost and implication of corruption far outweighs the benefit to the individuals and beneficiaries of the scourge. Apart from the entrenched poverty and inequality caused by corruption to the general population, it also unknowingly dehumanises the perpetuators and promotes inefficiency. The most destructive form of corruption is the one perpetuated by those entrusted with leadership position or position of authority especially with positions whose action or inaction adversely affects the delivery of service, welfare or benefit to the general population. The perpetuators of these forms of corruption should know that it affects the most critical aspect of human existence be it health care delivery, education, clean water and provision of shelter, a good and efficient road and transport system or any other benefits which other societies have taken as a minimum standard of living. These acts of corruption had ensured that the society lacks the basic things for its existences. These have also resulted in several people loosing their lives due to inadequate medical attention, infant mortality, preventable diseases and death because of fake drugs. The death through accident because of poor infrastructure is also common. It has claimed the lives of millions but the good thing about this is that most of the people that perpetuate the act including the contractors and government officials also use the same infrastructure and are equally prone to accident just like others.
Corruption has proven to be one of the most dangerous threats not only to our corporate existence as a country but also for the survival of the population. This scourge has resulted in the general population living life in an inhuman condition. The rate of poverty in Nigeria is because of corruption by those entrusted with the responsible of taking care of our collective wealth. Moreover, it seems that there is a race or competition among our leaders on who is the greatest looter of all time. Our politician and the civil servants are in this race together. We are really in deep trouble because corruption is now a way of life. A culture deeply entrenched in the psyche of the population. Majority of the population take part in one form of corruption or another.
These corrupt practices are not only caused by greed and financial insecurity but also the lack of patriotism and believe in the nationhood of Nigeria. The country is bleeding furiously. Also it seems that it is now a way of life so people no longer sees corruption as any thing wrong rather you will be question by the society if you are not engaged in corruption. As a result, indirectly, the society encourages corruption by her attitudes. The problem is deeper than the way it is being handled. We need a holistic and pragmatic approach towards taming this scourge because we are all affected.
These are victims of corruption: a poor man that dies because of lack of efficient and affordable health care; a poor man that is malnourished, hopeless and is not sure of where the next meal will come from and a woman that dies in childbirth because of lack of asses to medical care. In addition a child that dies because of neglect; millions of children that are denied of the basic education, food and medical care: a youth population that is desperate and whose future has been mortgaged. An unemployed graduate for several years who regrets being born a Nigeria. A group of individuals who die through the desert because they want to go to Europe. A group of people who do several things for survival in Foreign land. A population that inhale poisonous gases and bear noise pollution because they want to generate their own electricity. A thriving middle class and upper class that show their green passport and are automatically presumed guilty and criminalised. A group that cut across all classes and are prone to death from our death traps called roads. A group that is also prone to death before been flown abroad because they failed to fix our health sector. A group of leaders that neglect the citizenry and breads individuals that are a threat to the general population. We seem to forget there are some social dimensions to crime. Also a group of leaders that embezzle our common wealth and give it to other countries to help them spend, develop and grow their own economy .A group of leaders that other nationals perceive to be clueless, stupid and foolish because they fail to see beyond their nose.
We are all victims of corruption. We also need the political will to tackle this scourge or the scourge will tackle us .The way we are going the country may not be safe for everybody no matter the level of security around our VIPs’ and leaders .It is time to act.