Corruption is at the root of many of Nigeria’s problems. Corruption takes many forms and infiltrates all political institutions and economic sectors. It is so sad to hear that the Government, who is saddled with the responsibility to develop the country and fight any form of corruption, has failed woefully over the years in this fight.
Chapter II, section 15, subsection 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states thus: The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.
Unfortunately, the reverse has always been the case for many years in the country. The Government personnel who are constituted to abolish corruption care less about what is expected of them. Also, the citizens who are also expected to be free from corruption are also found guilty. Abuse of power is observed in almost all the Government arms of the Federation.
Successive Government either underperformed or totally disregarded the expectations in her functions as promised, and officials are too busy filling their pockets instead of governing effectively.
In 2013, Transparency International rated Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, ranking 144th in Corruption Perception Index out of the 177 countries measured. Mathematically, it shows that Nigeria was the 33rd most corrupt country in 2013.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has dropped two places on the 2019 corruption perception index published by Transparency International.
According to the report which was released earlier this year, Nigeria is now ranked 146 out of the 180 countries considered.
The country scored 26 out of 100 points, a drop from the 27 points that it has maintained since 2017.
In the 2018 index, Nigeria rose by four places on the index from 148 to 144.
The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
A Gallup poll few years ago found that 94% of Nigerians thought corruption was widespread in their government. The spoils of political corruption billions of US dollars are stashed in foreign bank accounts. The Abacha administration in the 1990s notoriously looted upwards of $3 billion. Since then, Government institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practice and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) have tried with sparsely recorded successes over the years to fight corruption.
The current president, Mohammed Buhari, is making his own effort to bring corruption in the country to a minimal level. This caused a few who looted in the past regime to bring back some of the money they embezzled. However, accusations and counter accusations of corrupt practices have almost overshadowed the little success this regime has recorded so far.
Corruption remains one of the most endemic issues affecting development in Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari once stated that corruption was the major factor responsible for the suffering of millions of Nigerians.
According to the President, corruption at all levels is the biggest problem impeding Nigeria’s economic growth and development.
Critiques of the Government continue to stress that the corruption campaign of the current administration is selective, claiming that some political office holders and government officials are left to walk away despite money laundering and other corruption charges leveled against them.
In addition to minimizing corruption in the country, Nigerians should cultivate the habit of being patient. Many indulge in corrupt practices because they are impatient and want to make quick money.
In many countries across the globe, especially in developed countries of the world, Nigerians are locked up in the prisons and some have been killed because of their corrupt practices.
It is a pessimistic disposition by many that there is no way Nigeria will become better because of the multitude of challenges the country faces.
However, at 60, we believe that hope for the nation should remain at the highest level. We believe that the country can still rise above her many challenges and live true to her potentials as not just the deserving giant of Africa but also the cradle of hope and center of excellence that Africa and Africans will be proud of..
At 60, we need to stop the scourge of corruption at all cost.
Happy 60th Independence Celebration Nigeria.