We just have to take back our country, and rebuild a nation where honest, hard work is adequately rewarded and bad behaviour indicted.
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Estimates from the World Economic Forum show that the cost of corruption equals five percent of the global GDP ($2.6 trillion). The African Union, in 2002, revealed that 25 percent of the GDP of African states, amounting to $148 billion, is lost to corruption each year. Countries where corruption is rife are likely to have five percent less in investment than countries with much less corruption, an IMF research says. One thing these statistics and every right thinking person agrees to, is that the most debilitating force against economic growth, political stability and social development in the world today is corruption.
We are firsthand witnesses to the ravaging effects of corruption. We have seen corruption at the root of the conflicts and civil strife in places like Congo and Sudan. We all know somebody who knows somebody that knows somebody who died in a road accident in Nigeria because the funds meant to fix the roads have made their way into private pockets, or because the funds meant for the development of public hospitals have been siphoned; or some who died in a plane crash because aviation authorities took a bribe and abdicated their regulatory functions.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan underscored the scourge of corruption when he described it “as an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It diverts funds intended for development, undermines the ability of governments to provide basic services, feeds inequalities and injustice and discourages foreign aid investment.”
Too many people have died as result of entrenched corruption in Nigeria’s public and private life. Too many are poor. Too many are unable to fulfill their potentials. Too many families are being destroyed as a result of it. Several studies show that child mortality rates in countries with high levels of corruption like Nigeria are about one third higher than in other countries, infant mortality rates are almost twice as high and student dropout rates are five times as high. Corruption is eating our future. A recent PwC study shows that corruption will cost Nigeria 37 percent of the GDP by 2030 if it is not dealt with.
The entire prospect of change as Nigerians desire it hinges on the success in the fight against corruption. If people who divert government funds for private use are effectively prosecuted and isolated, the message will be driven home.
One of the strongest impetus for electing the present government was its determination to fight corruption. What we cannot afford to do, at this point, is to renege on this fight. Nothing we do or hope for, in terms of tackling the challenges facing the economy will succeed if corruption remains the formidable force that it is in our society. Corruption thrives because it has powerful beneficiaries and perpetuators. So not to expect a fight back is to be unrealistic. According to Rick Van der Ross, a renowned South African professor of philosophy, one of the ways corruption fights back is by creating internal strife to distract the government from its cause. And could this is be part of the reasons we are seeing violence and disturbances in different parts of the country today?
Therefore to successfully make the expected impact in this ongoing fight against corruption, we should come to terms with fact that the government alone cannot do it. The fight has to be owned by the masses. To this effect the government will have to:
i. Communicate in clear terms with the masses:
a. The depth of the rot of corruption in the system,
b. What exactly it is doing to tackle it,
c. The challenges it is facing in doing so, thereby leaving no room for speculations or misinformation.
ii. Take the fight to every nook and cranny of the nation through strategic publicity. Make it a national campaign. Let the people at the grassroots, students, professional bodies, organised private sector, Southerners, Northerners, Middle Belters, etc know that to tolerate corruption at any level is to mortgage their own future.
iii. Convicted perpetuators must be punished. Corruption will continue to thrive if there are no deterrents, if people are not punished for their actions. And where the laws or their interpretation by the judiciary are not effective enough in doing this, then we have to summon the will to change or overhaul the system. The entire prospect of change as Nigerians desire it hinges on the success in the fight against corruption. If people who divert government funds for private use are effectively prosecuted and isolated, the message will be driven home.
If we do not do these progressively and fast enough, corruption will remain an invincible monster. We just have to take back our country, and rebuild a nation where honest, hard work is adequately rewarded and bad behaviour indicted.
NIGERIA HAS A GREAT FUTURE.
Photo credit: Newsweek.
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