Fifty three years after independence, Nigeria has emerged as a country undermined by the scourge of corruption, so much so that many have come to see it as in invincible institution.
Anti-corruption crusaders believe, and perhaps justifiably so, that corruption is an official language in Nigeria. The frequency of financial scandals – as well as their dimensions – in government circles, baffle even the most optimisitic of citizens. Every sector of the economy reeks of stench from the rot that is official sleaze, and as it persists, it manifests itself in acute underdevelopment of the state, decayed infrastructure and avoidable loss of lives.
The current administration, at inception, vowed to wage a war against the societal cancer, just like the administration before it and others before them. From the first military coup in 1966, every successive government had identified corruption as, not just an issue, but the major issue in Nigeria. And with such an identification came with – a few times serious, but most often feeble – attempts to curb the monster. Fifty three years after independence, ours has emerged a country overrun by official corruption, so much so that many have come to see it as invincible.
But the danger is the scary capacity of corruption to stunt national growth and drive away foreign investors. Most developed economies have less cases of corruption than their underdeveloped – or developing – counterparts. This should inform us of the role transparency in government will play in our desired journey to national development. We must fight corruption; it’s as simple as that.
Interestingly, we don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. We have a template from Georgia, a country which, in 2003, was described by the World Bank as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. In fact, the World Bank noted that in Georgia, “the price of obtaining ‘high rent’ positions is well-known among public officials and the general public, suggesting that corruption is deeply institutionalised. Higher prices are paid for jobs in agencies and activities that households and enterprises report to be the most corrupt, suggesting that corrupt officials rationally ‘invest’ when buying their public office.” Read more