Over the years, several administrations have paid lip service in the fight against corruption. Many agencies of government have become involved in financial scandals. There are daily reports of officials fraudulently appropriating millions of dollars from the treasury. There have been unimaginable scandals in almost all sectors of the economy, and more often than not, indicted officials get easy bails when arraigned in court. On bail, it is almost impossible to be convicted later. In instances, plea bargains are ensuring those who stole millions of dollars walk away after paying very little fines.
Corruption is the reason why millions of Nigerians do not have jobs and cannot afford even descent clothes. It is reason many Nigerians are dying in road and air accidents; it is also reason many retirees are unable to get their pension and gratuities. Corruption is reason why the average Nigerian cannot rent accommodation or buy a descent home. It is reason many government hospitals are now mere consulting clinic and citizens die from minor medical problems. It is reason why public schools are no longer properly funded, making it impossible for children from poor homes to get qualitative education. It is reason many students spend up to 10 years in the university and still do not graduate with Bachelor’s degree. It is reason workers stay in the same position for years without promotions. It is reason a junior staff will head a department above seniors. Corruption is reason more than 100 million Nigerians live on less than one dollar a day.
It is reason pastors sleep with members in the name of deliverance and reason there is power tussle in the church. It is reason many youths want to travel abroad in search of greener pasture. It is reason why stable power supply has not been guaranteed and reason Nigerians are subjected to humiliation and scandalous search and scrutiny at foreign embassies. It is reason spouses do not know each other’s salary and allowances and why you want someone close to you to occupy a vital position to aid and influence selfish decisions. It is reason leaders seek only what concerns them and neglect their followers and also why fake and sub–standard products are being sold in Nigerian markets. Corruption is the reason why Nigerians reduce their age to stay longer in the civil service and why politicians want to get to power.
It is clear that over the years, the Nigeria system and structures have broken down. For every disaster or incidence, the same template is used for investigations to recommendations. There never seems to be any implementation until the white paper turns brown or another disaster happens. More often than not, investigators uncover massive fraud in the system but end up also committing their own fraud. In the aviation sector, it seems anyone with access to airplane can set up an airline without stringent regulatory oversight. This type of corruption has led to many avoidable plane crashes in Nigeria. Many unnecessary losses of lives have occurred because regulators do not do their jobs and they wait for gratification. Many lives could have been saved if emergency rescue equipment were quickly at the scene of accident.
Corruption has become the norm of most public and private organisations. Corruption, more than insecurity has the potential of truncating Nigeria’s unity as a nation. There is compelling need for on the part of present crop of Nigerians and government officials to fight corruption. Many people have generally lost faith in the ability of the anticorruption agencies. There is a need for a change in attitude by Nigerians to corruption and accountability. Corruption is a cankerworm that destroyed by government alone. Let every one-fight corruption anywhere we find it. It will reduce to the barest minimum. The fight against corruption can be won if everyone is conscious of and avoid it by all means. Nigeria can be free of corruption but it has to begin with you.