Nigeria is a foremost corrupt nation; this needs no proof, the world takes notice of it. However, several attempts have been exercised to abate corruption, still, my over-two- decade stay on earth has never seen a nation so diligent in its verve to remain unrepentantly corrupt. President Buhari like some other leaders of Nigeria has embarked on a voyage to sanitize Nigeria by ensuring that corruption is reduced to the nadir. Sadly, this President and many others who treaded this path have not broken a leg. In my opinion, this is where they have always missed it…
It must be emphasized in parenthesis that corruption stems greatly from poverty. Corruption as we see in public offices these days is a conscious effort never to return to the initial state of things – poverty. Yes, I agree that many political thieves are from wealthy backgrounds but the indices of unpardonable plundering of the nation’s treasury gravitates towards those who had no silver spoons in their mouths. Thus, the peripeteia of having the opportunity to be reflected in any of the political offices after decades of being on the breadline, carries alongside, a morbid intention to earn much more than can be given.
Corruption as it pervades Nigeria is simply a product of poverty. Those who have siphoned the nation’s wealth decided to do so with reckless abandon. The question we should ask ourselves is, why do these people steal the nation’s wealth without compunction? Sometimes, I resist condemning all of these political “wolves” not because I am corrupt but because I do not know what would become of me in the nearest future should this country continue in this light. Many youths who engage in online criticisms and censures are no better. In the presence of same opportunities, many if not all of them will do the same. Only gravity may separate the bad from the incurably bad.
There is a great conspiracy by the rich to make sure they enrich themselves and impoverish the poor. When these poor persons get a chance eventually at the helm of affairs, the harm done is irreparable. Come to think of it, the dichotomy between the opulent and the poor is like a stretched band; too wide to accommodate reason. You hear of the water closets for the rich and then you hear of pit toilets. You hear they have big cars, the amount of which is incalculable and then you see the poor, they’re ceaselessly peripatetic. This inequality puts one thought in the mind of all and sundry – “How do I secure myself and my family financially?” This question is the very crux of corruption, in my candid opinion. The rich amass wealth, play ducks and drakes with the nation’s wealth even when they are from wealthy backgrounds. Sometimes you wonder why on earth they are given to such moral turpitude but the answer is simple: Even the rich are scared of being poor. Amassing billions and eons of millions is just in a bid to make sure they eternally escape the unfeeling grips of lack.
Also, when those who have really had a feel of poverty fight their way into hefty positions, they steal with reckless abandon. They don’t even care whose ox is gored. Do you blame them? Because they know where they came from and how humbling their beginnings were, they seek by all means, to secure their future and of those unsheathed from their loins. What a vicious cycle! Sometimes, we are quick to blame these people but we should all ask ourselves, “When we get there, are we sure we wouldn’t have our hands in murky waters?” Yes, it is disreputable and ignominious to bathe and soil oneself in the pool of corruption but don’t forget also that reputation is of utmost relevance when you can live comfortably. I thank God for the few poor ones who still extol dignity and reputation but then, I still am tempted to believe they haven’t suffered deep enough to flout rationality. Those who really have suffered heavily get to a point where they lose regard for good name or reputation. I mean, every man has his level of elasticity and evidently, poverty is the direst pound that pushes us to break our limits of conscience, good will, even ‘sanity’ sometimes.
In a nutshell, corruption is dire. It is worth a good fight. I commend any leader who has or had seen it as a problem deserving hands on the deck. However, as Albert Einstein once said, it is foolishness to keep doing a thing using the same methods and expecting a different result. We have lost it several times because we haven’t adopted a different method. You’ll agree with me that corruption isn’t going to be obliterated as a pastime. Gradually, it can be abated but only with the right mechanism. Corruption is largely owed to the increased degeneration by the people into deep depths of poverty. When the standard of living is reasonably comfortable, the mind is relieved. Relief palliates the mind, hustle hardens it. The consequence of the current youths with hardened minds owing to years of insufferable poverty and suffering, is unbridled thievery in the eventuality of being stakeholders at the helm of affairs. To avert the sword of Damocles, the government must ensure that poverty is alleviated.
Comparatively, countries in the western world cannot boast of the sophisticated heights we have climbed in corruption because they guarantee their citizens social security. An average American considers it pointless to steal the nation’s treasury for the sake of buying cars and building houses in different states of the nation. This is only because from his very birth, he has enjoyed the security of shelter, food and other basics which, on the contrary, even a wealthy man in Nigeria is not thoroughly convinced of such security until he is sure he has 60% of the nation’s wealth at his behest.
I have not said conclusively that only the poor turn out to be corrupt in public offices. I hold boldly that the absence of social and financial security coupled with the omen of becoming poor, spurs our leaders to steal and embezzle. Given the current level of hardship, it can only be imagined, how rife we will experience looming corruption especially by those who have had the experiences with the indices of abject penury. To curb corruption is to first nip the problem in the bud. A budding evil as such must be trimmed from the roots. While any government militates against the office holders who aggrandize corruption, they must never turn a blind eye to the pathetic condition of the teeming population. The indiscretion of dereliction in this sense will not only mean another phase of corruption, but a phase with the obvious impossibilities of being quelled.
If our government continues tilting at windmills, leaving the very crux unattended to, she will only lose on the swings what ought to be gained on the roundabouts. Then, we will no longer pray for a change, we would pray for equal opportunities to perpetuate the evil, after all, perpetuity in this sense is change in itself – change from lack to lacking nothing.
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