“To make it big in today’s Nigeria, you have to be really political or powerfully religiously. Note, it is safer to fire on both sides. The society has made these professions the only possible safe enterprises. In these comfort zones you are impervious to intrusion of poverty, indestructible to serious criminal charges and immune to chastisement”.
The basis of all abuses, mismanagement and challenges of insecurity in Nigeria are traced to corrupt tendencies of Nigerians. There is no denying that in this country, as in some other poorly managed nations, corruption and mismanagement of resources represented strongest obstacles to getting things right, be it in terms of infrastructure development, wealth redistribution, support for quality education or the integration subject to the ethnic or religious fault lines. The world is endlessly pummeled by conflicts and illogical wars inspired by needs for justice and fairness. Resentments to forms of injustices take most blames to the myriad of conflicts that rendered most parts of the globe unstable and unsafe.
Corruption is shamefully blamed for the devastation that has humiliated Nigerian economy by crippling many viable economic enterprises and making pervasive poverty inevitable. Social cohesion and valid tools of development have become blunt as ignorance and superficial values of religion are promoted and weaponed for various levels of violence. Religion and politics are two delicate subsystems of the nation’s life that have been significantly manipulated by this perplexing phenomenon called corruption.
Nigerians today are caught in deep discords caused by pernicious ambitions of the wrong and powerful religious individuals and reckless politicians. Nigerians have become so sophisticated that they generally identify heinous crimes based on theory of relativity as to who committed them. Because of our complexity as a nation, we have reached a point where crimes are no longer condemned as crimes, but the individual behind them.
Atrocities in one end of the society are tolerated or condoned but condemned with passionate tirades in the other. Now more than ever, the polarizing lines in Nigeria are increasingly being used as weapons for political advantages by the unscrupulous. The outcry and prosecution of crimes, regardless of their severity, are subjected to religious or political affiliations. Today, there are longer lists of religious tacticians in Nigeria than the devout. These tacticians are so religiously sensitive that they see the need for religious divisions in everything and agree everywhere when it comes to use of religion for havoc.
However, at the veneer of this religious enthusiasm is a shocking disbelieve and profound atheism. It is a disoriented self-interest that takes center stage. Nigerians are more religious than political, but trust is the most difficult and expensive commodity to find in the vast expanse. The situation is hypothetically blamed on the nation’s intractable brands of corruption. The corruption undermined trust and peaceful coexistence, slaughtered accountability and transparency in the management of national wealth and caused both religious and political rulers to fall short of standard commitments to the people and to God. There are demonstrable indications of thoughtful and continuous erosion of values of whatever sort. The crowning of the contemptible situation is the fact that the masses of citizens are becoming unconscious connivers. And they also are the ultimate vulnerable victims, impoverished and insecure as their lives and properties are under unrelenting threats in one way or the other.
By land, sea and air bombardments, political rulers introduce ego-oriented policies and execute personal political projects that exfoliate the weakened economy as religious despots spew on the people recalcitrant merchants of deaths and destruction. By the actions of the powerful, it is debatable whether the majority of the citizens are safe anywhere in this country. Ordinary citizens have been attacked and murdered praying in the mosques or singing in the churches. Citizens are increasingly stolen on the way by kidnappers and ritualists, banks are robbed in broad daylight, markets are bombed notwithstanding myriad of police and military checkpoints, and billions of dollars budget security gadgets. The fact that both the police and the military are hoodwinked and waylaid by criminals make the situation palpably mysterious.
Even more threatening is the rapidly growing plague of employable but unemployed youths, who are being exploited by their insidious and powerful enemies for all manners of dirty jobs. Today’s First-Class University Degree Certificate is almost valueless and does not guarantee decent job on merits. However, for those who managed to secure jobs, the wages are despicable. By the First-Class, I carefully excluded all those whose grades were enhanced or fine-tuned. First-Class by the favour of corrupt lecturers are parts and parcels of the national pestilence.
To make it big in today’s Nigeria, you have to be really political or powerfully religiously. Note, it is safer to fire on both sides. The society has made these professions the only possible safe enterprises. In these comfort zones you are impervious to intrusion of poverty, indestructible to serious criminal charges and immune to chastisement. The most immediate impact of corruption in Nigeria today is, without controversy, the large-scale perversion of values, the revolting economic and political rascality, the lethal ethno-religious skirmishes that go unpunished, the impunity of those in charge, the implausible desperation for power and control and the pervasive violence of all brands. The violent have destroyed properties, killed and/or maimed the victims without consequences.
“The Police and the courts are the very agencies needed to enforce human rights, but there are deeper levels of corruption within these agencies. Delayed and/or shoddy investigations of crimes and incessant adjournment of cases in courts are both acts and effects of corruption and made nonsense the right of fair hearing enshrined in our constitution and other international instruments. Justice delayed often translates into justice denied. Our prisons are terribly congested, with the result that inmates are denied of basic human rights to dignity”
Several Transparency International Corruption Barometer surveys described Nigerian Police Force as the most corrupt institution in Nigeria. The opportunities to advance all human rights in Nigeria depend on effective institutions such as an independent judiciary, functioning and efficient ministries, good industrial relations and a well-trained and equipped Police Force. Unfortunately, these institutions have remained counterproductive.
A vibrant and independent media are also necessary to promote human rights through education and exposure of the abuses. Many commentators agreed that most Nigerian institutions have failed to achieve their objectives due to structural weaknesses, largely due to corruption. Corruption weakens governmental and non-governmental institutions and makes the realization of basic human freedoms difficult, if not impossible. It is a common assumption among scholars that corruption and marginalization in Nigeria created continuous opportunities fertile enough for feloniously minded Nigerians to thrive in crime.
The tribulations in Nigeria’s development are known and measurable, and remained collectively and individually expressed in diminutive genuine national progress. There is no collective progress in a country where a few are superlatively comfortable on the cadavers of others. Nigeria is one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil, but has no functioning refinery, no cooking gas, no kerosene for the citizens, no enough electricity, no good roads and no functioning water supply system, even when she is saturated with petrodollars. The income redistribution in Nigeria is scandalously uncharitable and ungodly. The law enforcement instruments and the justice systems exploitatively tilted towards the rich and the powerful. The more vulnerable a citizen is, the higher the probabilities of being denied justice. Police distort evidences to imprison or punish the guiltless. It is normal in Nigeria for criminals to be held shoulder high as the peoples’ heroes. Most corrupt politicians receive heroes’ welcome when they feloniously wriggle free of heavy criminal indictments and punishments.
Labour Union leaders have always organised revolts that inflict hardship on the citizens only when they have scores to settle. I am not aware that the Unions have organised against inhuman and painful work cultures in Nigeria or intervened in cases of unjust dismissal of defenseless workers. The Labour Unions have always organised protests targeting enhanced welfare for members; however, it is the people that bear the brunt. Imagine a situation where during the protests Non-Union members are faced with risks of mortal injuries if they failed to join the protests by closing their businesses.
Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities went on strike over “unfair treatment by the federal government. The lecturers accused the state of neglecting their welfare and dealing with them most unfairly. Nevertheless, the lecturers are neither fair to the students nor to the university system they have progressively grounded for selfish related reasons. Nigerian universities have been described as enclaves for the corrupt. Many of professors are not better than those politicians considered notorious. They are now the tools used by duplicitous politicians to rig elections. Some rule their institutions like illogical emperors, deeply sensitive to justice and fairness as they desperately seek power and authority.
Many of the lecturers have full time appointments and full pay in respect of the contracts but these people still engage many schools exploitatively in what they termed Part-time lectures where they offer their students chaff in exchange for fat rewards. Imagine a university where students’ files get lost and results cannot be traced, while lectures and crucial examinations postponed because the Professor is attending wedding ceremony. Consider the agony that an examination is postponed a few hours to the time because the lecturer is indisposed, and on private engagements! Some of the institutions of Higher Education in Nigeria are boulevards for lawlessness.
Nowadays, teaching at the university is a club that you have to join in order to belong. Artificial shortages of teachers are created by those in charge to expand their coastlines. Surprisingly, some of these universities have achieved reprehensible results. Many of the institutions no longer remember the values that they are obliged to add while the Lecturers and Professors do not see themselves as exemplary models
In short, one can conclude that corruption has caused deep disruptions in Nigerian society. The frightening wounds of the malaise actively weakened the nation’s progress toward authenticity, true self-determination, and the realization of legitimate goals as an exceptionally gifted nation. Make no mistake about it, corruption remains the most crippling factor standing on the way of Nigeria and her progress. It remains an epidemic that has plagued the Nigerian state since independence.
It is tenable to attribute the spiteful state of the socio-political and economic atmosphere in Nigeria to corruption. Corruption has been accused of the unresourceful use of the country’s rich wealth for the benefit of the people, a brazen violation of the obligation to provide necessary services to the people. What do you expect in a country where the rulers cuddle the mediocre and the despised the really skillful and the useful? This is a country where insidious ethno-religious calculation determines appointments and roles in government. The best way to seriously combat the predicament is to keep talking and exposing the miasma.
This article was written by Chris Nwedo and published in The NextVoice Newspaper September, 2013. P.25