CORRUPTION AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA - SMART AJAJA

Corruption means the abuse of authority or a position of trust in order to gain an undue advantage over others. Institutionalized or endemic corruption implies a widespread abuse of authority or positions of trust by an organised cartel or a group of morally bankrupt entities who over a long period of time expose the generational population to compulsive potentials to become corrupt themselves, corrupt others in order to gain an undue advantage over others and in the process, hurt the system and by extension, the masses. Corruption comes in two major ways; corrupting someone else, or one's self. Corrupting someone means to buy off or pay off someone with influence in order to receive a favour.
 Self corruption is when one yields to the compulsive temptation to tamper with valuables under one’s custody arising usually out of greed. 

Corruption can destroy a generation and put a country at risk of widespread underdevelopment, retrogression and the arrest of development, as is the case with our nation, Nigeria. Simply put, corruption is a potent weapon of mass destruction worse in virulence and pathogenicity than nuclear or atomic bomb and a major threat to national security. Corruption negates the development of a nation and its people in a variety of ways; 

[1]. Destruction of the nation’s economy through circumventing due process in procurement and award of government contracts. This leads to the non-completion of most government projects or poorly executed jobs as the funds earmarked for critical national projects are stolen and do end up in private pockets, reducing the production and utilization capacities of the nation. 

[2]. Debasement of national value system and the emergence of criminals and fraudsters as leaders of the country. The resultant consequence of this is the exposure of the nation to severe leadership crises which debases her stature in a very competitive global environment. Again, Nigeria is such an excellent example of a nation whose leaders are of questionable characters and men of no moral standing. Under such leadership, Nigeria, our nation, appears to have lost her moral compass. When the head is corrupt, it goes to say that most part of the body would be too. 

[3]. The emergence and promotion of social disorders as we see daily in Nigeria where vices such as robberies, kidnapping and terrorism have become rife enough to push the nation to the brink of economic, civil and political collapse.

[4]. Mass unemployment, not just youth, but general unemployment becomes a steady fixture, when the country’s economy becomes arrested and stagnated in opposition to the growing youth population. In the case of Nigeria, it's estimated that about 75% of the employable population are out of job. That is an epidemic and can only give rise to mass poverty.

[5]. The decay in national critical infrastructures such as roads, rail systems, Airports, water works and power supply systems.High cost of generating electricity is passed on to consumers who arealready impoverished due to little or no earning power.

[6]. Destruction of the nation’s moral fabrics because life in a corrupt country is deeply rooted in survival of the fittest. This has led desperate citizens into vices such as campus cultism, prostitution and becoming victims of human trafficking by a few rich corrupt citizens.
Corruption negatively alters the concept of right and wrong, good and evil especially when life becomes a thing of survival for the economically disempowered or disenfranchised.

[7]. Political instability and unrest arising from leadership crisis and the associated crisis of confidence in the leadership by the masses who suffer most from a depressed economy brought about by the corrupt, greedy and morally bankrupt political leadership. Corruption is a terrible virus that can destroy not just only a nation, its image and future, also, it can jeopardize the present and future of generations of citizens of an affected nation if proactive steps are not taken to address it.

To address corruption or reverse the effects of corruption on any given nation, there has to be a good, honest and transparent leadership whose drivers are not men and women with content of characters driven by the compulsive primitive urge to amass wealth at all costs and by all means. The citizens too, must be made to understand the consequences of corruption, tolerating corrupt practices by fellow citizens and being involved in corrupt practices through mass literacy campaigns which would prepare and equip them with the capabilities to resist the urge to corrupt or be corrupted.

Governments must demonstrate the political will/courage, sensitivity, sensibility and responsibility to fight corruption through strengthening the judiciary and the creation of absolute independent agencies with the mandates to truly fight and prosecute individuals and corporate entities found to be involved in corrupt practices in competent courts of law where they are tried and pronounced guilty with commensurate harsh sentences according to the gravity of their offences.

Corruption diminishes access to opportunities for masses because the nation’s wealth ends up in the hands of a very few powerful oppressors who reduce life to a thing of survival.
They do this by creating unhealthy competitions for the generality of the masses who have to scramble in order to exist , instead of living to the best of their abilities. There should be a conscious effort by a responsive, sensitive and responsible leadership to make the economy to become private sector driven by creating a business friendly atmosphere for businesses to thrive. This would result in mass creation of employment opportunities based on the 21st century thinking, as it has been proven beyond doubts in many published studies that government cannot directly and effectively create and sustain enough jobs to accommodate every citizen without ominous consequences, unless through actionable policies that would empower the organized private sector to be the driver of the economy. This ideology is opposed to the case in Nigeria where the Government controls the economy, and very badly too.

One of the reasons corruption thrives in nations, especially Nigeria is that the citizens are ever too much in hurry to get ahead and out do others. In order to get results even for the minutest endeavor we make use of costly shortcuts offered by touts and corrupt men which may in the short or long term hurt the economy without knowing it, until the effects become widespread and uncontrollable.

Corruption can be arrested only if the leaders and the led can reach a consensus through actionable policies to put an end to it. Fighting corruption and curbing its effects where possible, requires a sensitive, responsive, responsible and focused leadership on one hand and a determined followership to follow to the letter, responsible government policies on the other. It is very easy to defeat corruption if you are not corrupt and prepared to resist corrupt men by standing up to them.
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Comments

  1. Lauretta, thanks for publishing this piece on your website. I hope the Nigerian people would read, make sense out of it and apply it even as we advance the cause for good governance encapsulated in transparency and accountability

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