The assertion that corruption is Nigeria’s No.1 problem has already become a cliché. However, corruption is like any other social vice such as rape, prostitution, murder and deceit among others. It is borne out of many fears. Fear of poverty, fear of life after service, fear of system failure, fear of injustice and double standards amongst others.
So, to fight corruption from its roots, government must make the system work beyond what we have experienced in the last four decades. Government must care more about the welfare of its citizens. And this must include those in active service or retired as well as those that have never been in the government. A citizen of a country is a citizen whether in government or not.
If, for instance, a Nigerian knows for sure that by his 18th birthday, he’s entitled to a few basic things in life such as social security allowance, free or subsidized education and a job after graduation, his mind will be at rest.
But that cannot be because the political class has rigged the system to be in their own favour. They care less about anyone else. They care less about the educational system as they can afford to send their children to schools anywhere in the world. They even careless about the resources which feed their avarice. Sadly, even the money they steal are invested abroad while Nigerian youths roam the street in despair searching for nonexistent jobs.
This attitude plants seeds of corruption in the heart of young Nigerians. They grow up with the expectation that they too will be fortunate to be in a position to have the opportunity to access public funds for private use.
What manner of political system rewards governors who have failed to develop their states with a ticket to head to the National Assembly where they became the highest paid in the world. No wonder, our governors are more powerful that the presidents of some countries while our president is a demi-god.
I’m in full support of the arrest and prosecution of those indicted for corruption. But it must not be a one-sided affair. The fight against corruption should also encompass all segment of our lives. A situation where in order to secure a Federal appointment, one has to come from a governor, senator, minister or a first-class monarch is totally unacceptable. A situation where before a publicly advertised interview holds, the vacancies have already been filled is unacceptable. It is such practices that make young educated Nigerians who ought to see and work for Nigeria beyond region, religion or tribe to become deeply involved in promoting parochial agendas.
The bottom line is that we need to rediscover our national virtue and learn to love ourselves and our country. That is the only way for Nigeria to get out of its moral mess.