The headline read,
On hearing this report, many people who have been using the excuse that the current government’s corruption fight is stymieing economy growth went to town – jubilant, and feeling justified.
But it is somewhat strange that enlightened people would be having issues with attempts being made to contain corruption at some level, both within and outside government..
I asked a particularly vocal critic of the anti-corruption crusade,
How EXACTLY do you fill a leaky bucket with water without significantly plugging the gaping holes at the bottom?
Yes; we know that we need to fill this bucket, but how successful will we be in the task if the bucket is leaking badly?
The popular quotation by former Vice -Presidential aspirant Peter Obi that You can’t lock your shop to be chasing criminals holds very little water.. A salient question to ask, is – how will you be able to successfully keep carrying on business in your shop if criminals are marauding all over the place, disturbing your business and bugling the shops in the middle of the night to carry away all the merchandise?.
No; Peter Obi had that one wrong.
It will appear to me that you need to frontally confront the problem of the criminals before you can conduct any meaningful business in your shop. The same thing with governance, if corruption is a way of life for government officials and the citizens, there is no way wealth can be built – forget all the nice-sounding theories.
Fighting corruption doesn’t stop government from simultaneously making other developmental strides as they are NOT mutually exclusive, and are actually mutually inclusive.
That is to say, you cannot go Manuel while ignoring or condemning corruption, while fighting corruption is part of good governance, as governor medicine is not astrophysics or rocket science.
Only a criminal or those who wish to (continue to) benefit from the Nigerian corrupt status-quo would object to tackling a corrupt system, at whatever level. A zero tokerance corruption is something you should intrinsically build into every facet of governance and national life, and is not an isolated process – as some people to imply.
Nuhu Ribadu, the former anti corruption czar also posited that corruption has a way of.fighting back viciously when.you attempt to stamp it out. and I’m firmly of the opinion that “intellectual corruption’ or ‘intellectual dishonesty’ is why some people are canvassing the notion that Nigeria is not progressing because corrupt money is not able to flow like it used to, thus strangulating the economy.
It s therefore disheartening / distressing that educated folks (like Peter Ob) would have a problem with cleaning the Nigerian Augean Stable of Corruption, – by disparaging / denigrating reparative efforts, even if the steps are lilliputian and yet to yield wide-ranging desired results.. Of course this may just be for political expediency.
We seem to forget that corruption that is systemic in nature (like we have in Nigeria) will take a lot of concerted effort to tackle effectively. irrespective of the sonorous economic theories nothing will work until / unless wanton corruption is drastically reduced in this country.
But, while trying to clean-up Nigeria (such as removing a corrupt chief justice or jailing ex governors for their crimes while in office) intellectuals and opinion leader should queue behind this laudable efforts and support every little step and celebrate every little win in the corruption confrontation.
A society that is nonchalant to corrupt practices -everywhere you look -is not likely to go very far.
For those following path of trivialising of the effect of corruption on the quality of life of the citizenry, have a look at This Excellent Article on the subject.
Corruption thus inhibits economic growth and affects business operations, employment and investments.
It also reduces tax revenue and the effectiveness of various financial assistance programs.
The wider society is influenced by a high degree of corruption in terms of lowering of trust in the law and the rule of law, education and consequently the quality of life (access to infrastructure, health care).