- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Where did we all get it wrong?
TO say that Nigeria, is bedevilled with all kinds of sicknesses and diseases is no longer news. This is because we are all aware of the various manifestations of the effect of the sicknesses and diseases. Apart from this awareness, we are all victims as well. We are victims in the sense that whether we like it or not, we are caught in the web of one form of the diseases in our day-to-day activities. At the risk of being termed an alarmist, I like to re-state the obvious by pointing out that, in addition to the natural diseases well documented by medical people worldwide, other social illness like corruption, tribalism, loss of values, materialism, political intolerance, insecurity and darkness due to the inability of the electricity board to meet the demands for electricity are some of what the country and its over one hundred and fifty million people are contending with. Just imagine, we survived a three and half year civil war, we again barely managed the struggle of Niger Delta militants and moved on to contend with the activities of kidnappers. While the activities of kidnappers were ebbing, we began to be buffeted by Boko Haram insurgency which has culminated in acute national insecurity. As that itself was receiving attention and condemnation, we are as usual contending against corruption, a monster that has devastated all the sectors of the nation. The questions that logically follow, therefore, are how much are we worth not only in terms of monetary value, but in terms of how we value ourselves, in terms of life expectancy, in terms of what we want to become and in terms of what is working in this country? Why is it that we cannot find our ways out of the quagmire and be able to do anything than be at the mercy of problems.
Our inability to tame the monster of corruption which has caused untold hardship and national embarrassment to all of us has been seen as the major cause of other sicknesses and diseases that have brought our country to its knees. Corruption has given birth to under employment, loss of values, and absence of patriotism, underdevelopment, utter darkness and complete insecurity that we are currently battling with. I want anybody to contradict the position that every stratum of the Nigerian society has been infiltrated by corruption and corrupt officials and yet, ICPC, EFCC and others have not been able to make a bold statement in their fight against it. Nigerians have lost count of the several cases of corruption that have been reported and to which nothing tangible has been done. We have had the Elumelu power sector problem, police pension scam, the SEC scandal, the oil subsidy wahala, the Lawan/Otedola racket and several others. Is it by coincidence that all these have taken place in Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory?
The series of plane crashes that have claimed many innocent lives in the country have been traced to the influence of corruption. Many people have died because they took fake drugs which got to the stalls through corruption. Many wrong candidates have won elections in this country due to corruption. Yet, many candidates have gained admissions into tertiary institutions with fake results and certificates due to corruption and yet we have not been able to address it boldly. Just imagine, on the 3rd of June this year, another avoidable plane crash took place and left a tale of woes on its tail. The consequence of which is the grounding of many coffins flying across our air space and the creation of another channel of corruption. Yet corruption is ravaging our land and we are increasingly being despondent about it.
A visit to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja will reveal the sorry state of travellers who have to buy tickets through their nose because of corruption. It is a fact that, in the presence of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) staffers, ticket and ticketing have been taken over by syndicates and racketeers who make travellers pay exorbitant fares to get tickets and boarding passes. The first excuse is that all seats are fully booked when nobody has actually paid for them. But after this, tickets and boarding passes will surface and travellers, who are desperate and do not want to be stranded are ripped off. Apart from this, I am informed that there is no document or circular that cannot be faked or bought in Abuja provided one is willing and able to pay the price. Is it not a fact that several fake bills or acts of the National Assembly are in the open market? Is it not correct that the government has just alerted Nigerians to the existence of a fake Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB)? Several people have been caught in the web of corruption not because they are corrupt but because corruption has made many people the fool. The fool in the sense that you have worked hard to succeed, got money to buy what you need, worked hard to get employed or win election but corruption is making that impossible. You are left at the mercy of corruption and it agents, some of who are well-connected and powerful to make life difficult for you, the innocent.
But the situation was not this bad in this country several years down the line. Time there was when things went on as expected. When you could get things done once you were qualified, when you had the required amount of money to pay for the services to be rendered and when merit and competence were the order of the day. Time there was when law enforcement agencies were on top of the situation, apology to the President. Time there was when contractors could be trusted to do a good job and time there was when you could be sure of getting justice in the law courts without knowing anybody. Unfortunately, we have lost our collective innocence on the altar of corruption and we are completely prostrate. The question we all need to find an urgent answer to is where did we all get it wrong? We need to ask this question now if we want to win the war against corruption. The answer we get to the question will help us to refocus our attention and change our strategy of combating the monster.
Events have proven that we do not need prescriptions from western countries to defeat the monster because it is very clear that the monster has assumed a Nigerian distinct character. It is only in Nigeria, with every sense of patriotism and as best as I know that things do not work the way they work in other countries. When prices go up in Nigeria, they do not come down. They do in other countries when situations change. It is in our dear country that laws are not obeyed by those of us who are to obey them. We behave ourselves when we are in other countries. It is only in Nigeria that law enforcement agencies look the other way when called upon to do their job. In other countries, law enforcement agencies take their jobs seriously. The former President of the World Bank, Strauss-Klause and several others resigned from public offices when they were accused of wrong-doing. The police actually arrested him and put him on trial. But, in Nigeria, law enforcement agencies treat such matters as a family affair. The fault is not, in the word of immortal Shakespeare, in our stars but in ourselves and we need to ask the question: where did we all get it wrong?Share