Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Corruption has become the very heartbeat of the Nigerian nation, without corruption Nigeria is not Nigeria as we know it and hardly will anyone argue that corruption is not the root cause of the problems prevalent in the Nigerian society. The Nigerian society has become the festering ground for seeds of corruption; the political leaders are corrupt, the civil servants are corrupt, the leaders and schoolteachers are corrupt, the law enforcement agents are corrupt, our parents are corrupt, the children are corrupt and even the unborn babies in the Nigerian society bear traits of corruption. Every society bears little traces of corruption here and there but for the Nigerian society it has become an epidemic, it is EVERYWHERE! In Africa, once one mentions corruption the first thought goes to Nigeria, not necessarily because we are the most corrupt African nation but because we are relatively the richest African nation (in terms of natural resources) with the least evidence to show for the natural riches God has bequeathed us. Corruption has diverted a large portion of the riches abounding in this nation to the great unknown.
During one of my ECO 323 classes, our lecturer told us a story about this respectable professor and his politician friend and what had transpired between them, I’ll just describe it in dialogue form as I imagined it.
Politician Johnny comes to visit Professor John (Politician Johnny was one of the irresponsible ones back in the university days and now he occupies a privileged position in the government). Politician Johnny arrives with a convoy of cars; the cars looking like they just got off the assembly line and bodyguards that look like they had conducted personal training sessions with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Professor John is standing in front of the faculty building and as Politician Johnny approaches students stare with their mouths hanging open and fingers pointing and I bet some of them are already thinking: “I’ll be willing to do anything for him and others: “How I wish I was in his shoes”
Johnny: John!!how far? Long time no see….where u dey since?
John: I’m fine, thank you. How is the family?
Johnny: Family dey jor (Johnny whispers: But dat my wife don dey tire me sef)
Johnny (all smiles, waving his hands at the bodyguards and the cars): See wetin I don get and u know wetin happen…opportunity dey wey u fit use get ur own.
John: Johnny, I can see what you have but the question I will pose to you today is whose money has been used to procure these items; yours or that of the electorate?
Johnny: Na who e concern ehn?
John: IT CONCERNS ME! (Johnny flinches) It concerns the Nigerian electorate that voted you into office; it concerns the underprivileged in the Nigerian society, IT CONCERNS NIGERIA! You’re a lying, thieving, corrupt individual and I insist that I will not join you and your pack of scavenging wolves to commit such outrageous sins.
Johnny’s mouth is wide open, he cannot understand some of the words that just came out of John’s mouth but that is not the problem, it is just that he was expecting a handshake, a pat on the back, something like: “Johnny! You don hammer”. So Johnny takes the only feasible option that is available to him; tuck tail and run. John does not approve, he'd rather go find someone else who approves, at least: "unlike birds do not flock together"
Let's boil this down to the Nigerian situation, imagine that 99% of Nigerians were like Professor John; they see evil and they speak out against it we'd gradually be saying goodbye to corruption by now. However, this is not the case, most Nigerians prefer to be indifferent and some even wish they were in the shoes of the individuals perpetuating evil in our society. To solve the problem of corruption in our nation, we should take a cue from 1 Thessalonians
5:22 which says "Throw out anything tainted with evil" (MESSAGE translation). In place of evil let's substitute corruption; shun, speak out against and expose all vices of corruption that are prevalent around you; treat anyone who perpetuates corrupt activities at the expense of his/her nation as an outcast and I'm sure we'll start to see some change. Once we begin to publicly (not privately) disapprove of the activities of our politicians they'll have no other choice but to change or run; and since it is said that a leopard cannot change it's spots, they just might have to run, thus paving the way for sincere, change-hungry citizens to populate the corridors of power.