I have been active in the anti-corruption field even before the setting up of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Indeed, I was an unpaid volunteer in the Nuhu Ribadu days as the chairman of the EFCC.
Anti-Corruption Revolution, ANCOR that was a major plank of activity by EFCC under Farida Waziri as the chairman of the anti-corruption agency was my brainchild and initiative. This was borne out of my realisation that there was and still is till date, a very huge ignorance by the public of the damage that corruption and lack of public accountability does to the nation.
Indeed most people do not seem to make the connection between official corruption and public poverty. They don’t know that the dearth and decay of public infrastructure is a direct outcome of rampant corruption. How many Nigerians know that citizen wellbeing and welfare suffer greatly and is hugely degraded by corruption?
The major reason why corruption is tolerated in Nigeria and other parts of Africa is simply because the majority of the people are yet to understand the toll that corruption takes on their lives, their wellbeing and wellness.
If they did, corruption will die an immediate and horrible death.
Africans hardly tolerate theft of their goods or their property.
Indeed, the phenomenon of jungle justice is adjunct of this harsh intolerance of theft. While this column condemns jungle justice in its entirety, I cannot but acknowledge the fact that Nigerians abhor being deprived the fruits of their labour and effort. It is in this context that you can understand jungle justice.
The fact is that these same people tolerate official corruption because they do not make the connection between horrible roads and corruption nor do they make the connection between fake drugs and corruption. The moment this causative connection is made, the corrupt will get the same treatment with a thief caught in a market.
We know that corruption has stagnated and denuded Nigeria of growth.
We know that corruption is the cause that drives out youth to dare the Sahara Desert. We know it is corruption that pushes our girls to prostitute in Italy, in Ghana and even in countries that were once beggarly compared to Nigeria.
Corruption has robbed us of roads and given us death traps in the name of roads. Corruption it is that has allowed our kids to graduate from universities without knowledge. Corruption is the reason why electricity companies supply darkness rather than light. Corruption is the reason why water boards exist only in name while citizens depend on rainwater and stream water.
Corruption is the reason why people rush to enter politics because politics in Nigeria is the sharing table of corruption. It is the office holder who is the Pope and high priest of corruption so much so that in the political class, corruption is considered a right, not a privilege.
Next time you see a child out of school, hold corruption responsible.
Next time when you see a sick person being conveyed to hospital by okada rather than by an ambulance, hold corruption responsible. Next time when you are asked to provide money for the police for fuel before they can do their duty, hold corruption responsible.
When you see kids high on tramadol and other drugs; when you see young people guzzling industrial alcohol in bars, hold corruption at NAFDAC and NDLEA responsible.
The sooner the citizenry realise that corruption is the devil that is holding them backward and forcing this nation into a danger slide, the sooner we will confront the corrupt and remove our nation from their stranglehold.
I have heard people boast of their wealth but when you ask them what they do, they tell you that they are in government. Is government an investment now? Is government a factory now? Is government now an avenue to stupendous wealth? When you see people who are wealthy merely because they occupy a government office, you should realise that you are confronted by the villains who are sucking out the life from our nation.
It is estimated that Nigeria loses about sixty per cent of its resources to corruption. This is money that would have been directed to public infrastructure and human capital development. When next you see a civil servant or politician living large, realise that he is living large at your expense. He is enjoying at the expense of good roads, good schools and good hospitals. He may not deserve your slaps but he certainly does not deserve your adulation. He indeed does deserve your abuse and your admonition. It is only when we finally stigmatise corruption, that corruption and the corrupt will let us be.
– Aluta Continua.