In a world without the law of God, you have chaos, oppression, tyranny, and everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. It is difficult to make our material condition better by the best law, but it is easy enough to ruin it by bad laws and acts. The price for having rights is the responsibility of exercising them with consideration for others. Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes. It is a pity that in this part of the world many things are easily started but not finished. Nigeria is now a country where murder does not occur alone by gun, machetes, or bomb. Murder can be occasioned by siphoning of public treasuries for the sake of making life worthy for few people. This they acquired through their corrupt ways. They bend, break, change and scrap laws to get their way to become who they are. The greatest injustice is using the law to keep justice at bay. This is a way of life in my father’s land.
In Nigeria, our laws are blind to the corrupt act of our leaders. The rule of law is not a priority. Men are deprived of what is their own. Some set of people commit heinous crimes against humanity and are still red carpeted upon their crime. Conspiracy is the main ideal behind true governance. Every year there is always a delay in the passage of budget and government still spends money without approval. Billions of dollars disappear in the federation account and no one is been held to ransom except the whistle blower. Polytechnic Students now see strike has an option to holiday. Looters are still aided with foreign accounts. Bomb blast is now a norm. Kidnapping of young female children is what is now strengthening our international relations with the super powers. Ritual hideouts are on the increase. If you are not connected, you barely enjoy what true governance is all about. Real political participation is more of occultic setting than the social transformation. In all, the basis of our egalitarianism is gone to corrupt acts from both the leaders and the followers. We all are guilty.
This year is fading out gradually and things are still remaining the same. No new changes except for the fact that corruption has taken new dimension. It has been more popularized than before. You would agree with me that executive incapacitation, legislative lawlessness and judicial indolence is also thriving. Worse of it all, we don’t have a good executive. A good executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it. This is the real shit that has dawn on us as Nigerians. This is what corruption has caused. Corruption is now a ‘native’ of Nigeria. No wonder Professor Wole Soyinka, my beloved mentor was of the view that ‘corruption is a fundamental problem, we have more than enough to satisfy us but we do not have enough to satisfy our greed’. This statement is appropriate because it is very clear that the main reason why calamity keep befalling us as a nation is because of the rate at which corrupt activities thrive. The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. The corrupt act of our leaders has no limit. Corruption as an act evolves round three stages. The amiable role model statement could be seen to be exaggerative but at a point in time the number one captain of this country said in Namibia, Windhoek that ‘corruption is everywhere but it is over celebrated in Nigeria to the extent that the nation and its people are stigmatized’. However he was quoted to have emphasized the fact that while his administration would not condone the menace, using big stick would not be a solution to end corruption. Even one of the favourite people that I follow on twitter with the handle @allyoyedokun said through a tweet on the 4th of June, 2014 at about 18: 24 pm that, ‘I have forgotten the theory of liquid flow and no need to bother Google. Liquid flows from top bottom and corruption follows this theorem.’ This is a confirmation of the fact it exist and whether we like it or not, it’s affecting us all. The stages run on each other like a line of poem. One stage transcends to the other.
The first stage has to do with CORRUPTION FOR SURVIVAL. This is the stage where an average Nigeria thinks of existence and nothing more. This is influenced by the fact that they look up to the corrupt leaders and want to be like them. The mindset is tailored towards surviving from the hardship melted on them by the economy. They just want to live and survive. Individuals would start thinking of what would benefit their immediate need alone forgetting the next man. The mind at this stage is spurred to forget about others and be concerned about what to use to outshine a fellow average man. This happens as the economy is not favourable to their thirst for good life again. The minimum wage is not reasonable and they can hardly survive on it. Their work condition is poor and as such, they can do anything to live at that moment. Some do not even have work at all. After many years of tertiary education, they still find no work and as such any illegal means of making money is an option. The stomach must be fed legally or illegally. The act of corruption is seen at the point of aiding or abetting odd acts to get monetary reward or anything that would bring additional reward to feed the stomach. The lack of special packages to motivate individuals also makes the mindset consider corruption as a means of survival. The mind forgets so soon the principle of ALL BEFORE SELF.
The second stage is CORRUPTION FOR GREED. This stage is basically centred on the moment when the illegal survival tactics have been achieved. When the survival instinct goes through the hurdle of making means from the back door, the time for maintenance sets in; this is when corruption is a weapon for greed. The stage is basically for the maintenance of the status that the corrupt survival instinct has brought upon such an individual. Right now, the individual wants more than the actual need. The urge for selfish reasons is at point. Being busy for corrupt purposes is seen as accomplishment in this instance. Corruption at this point smells and act like a rose selling a poison. The thirst for the goodies of life must continue not minding who is getting hurt. This is mostly evident when individuals acquire what is meant for others in a working place to their own. The most dreadful of this moment is the lust for everything to be for one person alone. The mind becomes a feudal lord. The main reason behind faith is lost here and the eyes have been shut against good reasoning. I must have all to myself is the ringtone of the mind. They in turn destroy so many things and the masses or those under them suffer the consequence. They acquire more than enough for their family members alone. It’s just about them only.
The last stage is CORRUPTION FOR ELITISM. This stage is where perception is real. The wind of corruption favours the class of corrupt minds that want to be known by fire by force. This is mostly common among upcoming and already ‘made’ Nigerian politicians. Most of them just want to acquire above normal and want to be worshipped. They are voted into power and after that, looting of the state treasury becomes their priority. They want to be among the inner circle. It is also evident among top personnel at companies, ministries and parastatals. They divert funds for development and get into shady deals all because they want to be with certain set of people. They just want to be the one in control of affairs and all they can do is to belong to the so called right caucus. The only ticket for membership is when you have more money beyond normal. How would they get it, they would do anything to get it beyond their means. They can kill and destroy others just for them to be the overlord.
The above stages are the ways by which corruption develops in everyone. The mind is the most important because it set the standard of who we intend to be. The quality of an individual is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. It should be noted that no matter what, we don’t have an excuse for any corrupt act of ours. This act is destroying our nation and we are all affected. No man is justified in doing evil on the grounds of expediency. Even when our resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing, it should not be acquired in a wrong manner. It has been said that you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. We need to change our mindset as to wealth and power acquisition. We need to end the war on corruption. To win this war, we need a real commander in chief, not a doctor of the forest standing at the lectern. We need true leaders. Remember if a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say, “Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well. When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society. Our freedom must have a purpose.
(WHYTE HABEEB IBIDAPO is a United Nations Award winner and Coca cola/ The Nation Campuslife Award Winner. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org @whytehabeeb)
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