CORRUPTION: THE OPIUM OF THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY

There is no doubt that corruption eats at the social, economic and political fabric of a nation. It is an impediment to national growth and development, and subjects to abject penury, those who are not part of the political/social elite. In all honesty, corruption is not confined to any particular geographical location. It is no respecter of boundaries, and can be found in every country of the world. In Africa though, it has become a lifestyles and in Nigeria, it is one which is celebrated.

Corruption in the Nigerian society has permeated into the nooks and crannies of all strata of society. There is nowhere it isn't found. And it is the almost genetic acceptance of corruption as a way of life, which has made President Muhammadu Buhari's War against Corruption, so hard to carry out.

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, while speaking at the 2016 International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference in Washington DC recently, stated that Corruption undermines prosperity because of its micro economic implications.” According to Ms. Lagarde, it undercuts countries efforts to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth, by weakening fiscal capacity.” Giving an analogy, Lagarde further explained that when citizens feel that wealthy individuals are able to avoid taxes through bribes, it delegitimizes the whole system.
To call things as they are, Ms. Lagarde basically described the Nigerian system!

Alhaji Yusuf Maitama-Sule, a former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, also recently called for corrupt persons to be barred from holding any public office. He called for an enabling law to prevent all persons convicted of looting public funds from participating in governance at any level.
The pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has also warned that for government to succeed in revitalizing the ailing economy, corruption must first be stamped out!

In his words, Nigeria must take urgent but painful steps to eradicate corruption and pave the way for sustainable development and good governance like other progressive nations of the world.
But then, how can this be achieved to an acceptable level in a country like Nigeria, which glorifies acts of corruption? How do we eliminate corruption when it is welcomed even within sanctified institutions like our churches and mosques? How do we wage a war on corruption when corrupt individuals are not only celebrated in secular society, but also given front-row seats in houses of worship, and granted unfettered access to religious leaders  because of their generous donations? Nigeria is an extremely religious nation; so if churches and mosques refuse to disown corrupt acts and chastise the individuals who perpetuate them, then where is the hope for a revival? How do we eradicate corruption when it lives and thrives beyond the walls of our religious institutions- in our homes, in our schools, in our offices, on our roads (with Police Officers), in our courts, and even within our hospitals!

Nigeria is like a drug addict that is too far gone. Any hope of a return to normal behavioral patterns would be severely resisted then there would be lots of physical pain, when the toxic substances are taken away it would be a long period of bodily torment but if followed through, it would lead to a more healthy system. But if change is completely resisted and rejected, ultimately, the only outcome to be expected is certain death!
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