Ghana is the 2nd largest exporter of Cocoa in the world after Ivory Coast. Cocoa is the former Gold Coast’s main cash crop & its chief agricultural export. Ghana exported her first bag of Cocoa sometime around 1891, years after Tete Kwashi brought a few cocoa seed from Fernando Po, Equatorial Guinea. One man’s interest & passion became the basis of Ghana’s economy years later.
That Nigeria is going through several crisis is no longer news, one issue that dominates Nigeria’s political debate consistently over the years is corruption. There is no doubt that amongst other factors, corruption has contributed to Nigeria’s underdevelopment.
Virtually every sector in Nigeria is riddled with corruption, from private to public, religious institutions to civil society organisations. This is an issue on the lips of every well meaning Nigerian at home or abroad. Corruption however means different things to different people but we all seem to agree that it is an evil which must be evicted from our society, even the fantastically corrupt amongst us agree that it is essential that we courageously wipe out corruption from our geographical landscape.
Since the return of democracy in 1999, the F.G.N. has taken steps to stamp out corruption from our society all to no avail. I.C.P.C. was inaugurated in Sept., 2000 while E.F.C.C. was established in 2003. These agencies have tried to fight the scourge over the years but it seems their effort no matter how noble it might be isn’t yielding any positive result.
From the legal perspective, leadership of these agencies now & in the future must do more with investigation. It’s the 21st century, information is available everywhere if properly searched but the agencies prefer to prosecute scrappy matters and rely on media trial which isn’t helping us.
While many Nigerians are very hardworking & trustworthy, a few are indolent and pen robbers. Anti- corruption agencies should investigate more; develop watertight cases against suspects before leaping to court, if this done strategically, defence attorneys will have no option than to advice their clients to take the plea deal.
Nigeria runs an adversarial system where the prosecution is expected to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt; our system will rather expunge many accused persons than erroneously sentence one innocent victim. If proper investigations are conducted; defence attorneys will not be able to rely on legalities and or legal loopholes to exculpate their clients. There is no reason to rush to court when investigation has not been properly conducted; there is no reason to rush to the press when the needful has not been done. Judges don’t prosecute on assumptions, they deal with proven facts.
Greed, unemployment, poverty and youth inadequacy are some of the factors fuelling corruption. Some of our countrymen are just stupid kleptomaniac whose insatiable urge for wealth accumulation must be tamed.
While the system must adequately punish officials who abuse the privilege of their office at the instance of the general public; when employees are not well paid as at when due, the temptation to demand for or receive gratification is kindled.
Our economy must be vibrant, jobs must be created. Entrepreneurs must have an enabling environment. We must enact laws & implement policies that do not encourage payment of rent in advance when employers do not pay in advance. We must implement effective mortgage systems whereby every hardworking citizen can own their homes. It is important to have a working health insurance system for all citizens. The evil of corruption cannot be wiped out until every hardworking Nigerian can access to food, clothing & shelter.
Beyond the active roles of ICPC, EFCC & media trial; there are policies that if put in place and effectively implemented will drastically reduce the interest in corruption in our nation. Nigerians are hardworking, patriotic and trustworthy.
The journey of a corrupt free, egalitarian society must begin by taking the right steps. It is possible!
God bless you.
God bless Nigeria.