The problem of corruption in Nigeria is as old
as Nigeria itself, especially with the political class. This was the
problem that triggered Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu’s bloody coup d’état of
January 15, 1966, which unfortunately was corruptly executed, plunging Nigeria into civil war in 1967 that ended in 1970 no victor and no
However, in the post war reconstruction to
restore peace and hope across ethnic and sectional divide, the then government
of Gen. Y. Gowon initiated the three Rs-reconstructions, rehabilitation, and
reconciliation as vital instrument for peaceful co-existence, hence the coinage
go-on with one Nigeria. To set the ball rolling, the National Youth Service
Corps (NYSC) programme was introduced for national consciousness and cohesion;
and so also was the “Nigerian Armed Forces Remembrance Day” as an annual event
to remember and honour the fallen heroes of the coup and the civil war on every
15th January of the year.
The truth must be told that the coups
exacerbated corruption, which is the bane of Nigeria’s problem today. The
incursion of military in politics institutionalized corruption to the extent
that the strong governance structures were weakened and destroyed providing
avenue for corruption to fiesta and become deep rooted norm in our national
fabrics. Notwithstanding corruption can be minimized, if the current
tempo of the fight is sustained by all concerned.
Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari’s
government for change is passionate and concerned about the anti-corruption war
in all facets of the economy. The courage of the government to take the
bulls by the horns in tackling this common problem is the best the government
can do for its citizens to survive as a people and a nation. This is not
the first time President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to fight corruption to a
stand still. When he took over power from Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1984
through the barrel of guns (Coup d’état), attempted to contain corruption with
the intent and purpose to save the economy from imminent collapse, but was
derailed by another coup masterminded by General IBB who on taking over power,
played down both the anti-corruption and war against indiscipline, except
environmental sanitation apparently to elicit support. Incidentally, the fight
became elusive and those alleged to have misappropriated our commonwealth were
set free. Nonetheless, his government actualized the movement of the
Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, and liberalization of the economy for
private participation in some sectors of the economy that were exclusive
reserve of the government like higher education, broadcast media,
It is gratifying to note that President
Muhammadu Buhari met business when during the presidential campaign rallies
said, “…..unless we kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria.
Gladly, the anti-corruption war is now obvious and Nigerians are aware of the
works currently being done so far to minimize it, which has been applauded
globally. As those alleged to have corruptly enriched themselves are made
to return their loots and face trials at the various courts across the
corruption scourge in Nigeria currently is devastating, especially in President
Jonathan’s regime, which
appeared to have been legalized somehow, considering the number of persons that
were involved and the colossal damage caused to the economy with disregard to
integrity. We are in the country where honour is given to whom you know
syndrome not what you know, which is why the economy is deteriorating rapidly.
Over the years, Nigeria state has been governed like personal estate and family
service centred, instead of public service affairs, building fortified kingdom,
and celebrating corruption with fanfare unquestioned.
APC led government for change has come to alter the course of event in order to
improve the economy for its people. Until the anti-corruption fight
becomes leadership centred, the will to deal with this common problem might not
yield the desired effect. The enormity of destruction caused by
corruption to the economy explains the leadership failure and lack of political
integrity amongst the greedy politicians.
It will be absurd to accede to the antics of
political gang-up that tend to contribute to the unabated killings of the
innocent lives in several parts of Nigeria, which the worst is the ongoing
crisis in the Northeast, couple with the famine and disease ravaging the
region. Painfully, the unimaginable ethnic and sectional venom that
elicited the coup d’état of 1966 has again, reared its ugly heads in our
Regrettably, the unwillingness of politicians
to learn from the history and have a sobre reflection on the travails, trials
and triumphs Nigeria has gone through on our way to nationhood is amusing.
Rather than indulge in celebrating the ill-gotten wealth, and living in
an affluent lives with families outside the country at the detriment of others,
who are being intimidated and confronted with serious uncertainty of
life. It is expedient that we join forces to fight this common phenomenon
of corruption in order to liberate the country from hoodwinks.
to be corrected, it is on record that President Muhammadu Buhari has been the
only courageous and determined leader in Nigeria that has truly and honestly
tried to fight corruption decisively and improve people’s living
standard. It would have been a good moral lesson of the past to
re-invigorate our ethos as guiding principle of harnessing our leaned resources
in a manner that will transform our future generations to the actualization of
the Nigeria of our dreams. The politicians must bear the testimony of
patriotism and loyalty to the Nigeria project to achieve its true greatness.
There is need to demonstrate our collective
will and determination to remain as one country. We must commit our
individuals and groups differences to align with the national interest as
Nigeria contains the fabric of uncommon greatness waiting to be fostered.
It is expected that the government’s policy thrust on anti-corruption war
should be geared toward improving infrastructural development for the people to
meaningful engage in productive capacity for nation building.
Amazingly, the effort and support of the Churches,
Mosques, traditional rulers, Civil Society Organizations, Almighty Press, the
Armed Forces, ICPC and EFCC on anti-corruption war cannot be under estimated,
considering their immeasurable contribution and commitment to ensure that the
government win the anti-corruption war at all cost no matter whose ox is gored.
for Nigeria as a nation to achieve uncommon success in the anti-corruption war,
serious consideration of reviewing the immunity clause in the constitution that
shield any public office holders from being criminally liable while
in office be removed as driving force to ensure probity and accountability in
our nationhood. This ultimately will make leaders to stand firm and defend the
country whenever and wherever the need arises. Ironically, it may be
easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than the
National Assembly to pass such bill into law, because their bogus allowances,
which people have been clamouring for a slice in the pie, has not been heeded, even
when the present state of the economy is not favourable to it. This is
the dilemma Nigeria is currently.
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