By KAMAL JIBRIN JAMA’ARE,
In philosophical, theological, or moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. Corruption can touch everywhere in day to day human activities. In economy, corruption is payment for services or material which the recipient is not due under law. This may be called bribery, kickback or in the Middle East baksheesh. In government it is when an elected representative makes decisions that are influenced by campaign contributions rather than their own personal beliefs. Corruption poses a serious development challenge, in the political realm; it undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in legislative bodies reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking. Corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law, and also corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. It violates a basic principle of republicanism regarding the centrality of civic virtue. More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government as procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. At the same time, corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance.
Moreover, in the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials, and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim corruption reduces costs by cutting bureaucracy, the availability of bribes can also induce officials to contrive new rules and delays. Openly removing costly and lengthy regulations are better than covertly allowing them to be bypassed by using bribes. Where corruption inflates the cost of business, it also distorts the playing field, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.
Corruption also generates economic distortions in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave the way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government.
Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.
stemic corruption (or endemic corruption) is corruption which is primarily due to a weakness of an organisation or process. It can be contrasted with individual officials or agents who act corruptly within the system.
Corruption facilitates environmental destruction. Corrupt countries may formally have legislation to protect the environment; it cannot be enforced if officials can easily be bribed. The same applies to social rights worker protection, unionization prevention, and child labor. Violation of these laws rights enables corrupt countries to gain illegitimate economic advantage in the international market.
If the highest echelons of the governments also take advantage from corruption or embezzlement from the state’s treasury, it is sometimes referred with the neologism. Members of the government can take advantage of the natural resources (e.g., diamonds and oil in a few prominent cases) or state-owned productive industries. A number of corrupt governments have enriched themselves via foreign aid, which is often spent on showy buildings and armaments.
A corrupt dictatorship typically results in many years of general hardship and suffering for the vast majority of citizens as civil society and the rule of law disintegrate. In addition, corrupt dictators routinely ignore economic and social problems in their quest to amass ever more wealth and power.
Moreover, Nigeria is still naming among the most corrupt nation on earth, like it stated above Nigeria is engaging and involving among what have been discusses above. However, corruption touches and affect almost everywhere in the privet and government sector of the nation, the rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to a litany of ignoble corrupt practices in the country. Over the years, the country has seen its wealth withered with little to show in living conditions of the average human being. A Nigerian political leader, Obafemi Awolowo raised a salient issue when he said, since independence, ‘our governments have been a matter of few holding the cow for the strongest and most cunning to milk’, under those circumstances everybody runs over everybody to make good at the expense of others.
The pervasive corruption has been blamed on colonialism. According to this view, the nation’s colonial history may have restricted any early influence in an ethical revolution. Throughout the colonial period, most Nigerians were stuck in ignorance and poverty. The trappings of flash cars, houses and success of the colonists may influence the poor to see the colonist as symbols of success and to emulate the colonists in different political ways.
However, from every perspective, corruption or corrupt practices has to do with fraudulent activity especially siphon funds that are meant for the general populace for one’s aggrandizement only. Right from the beginning, corruption has been a vermin that has been killing and discouraging Nigeria from moving up or welcoming new innovations. From historical point of view, Nigeria governments had in the hands of those who only care for themselves, putting aside the yearnings of the entire populace. Gone are the days when merit, ability, honesty and transparency, as I understand, has meaning in Nigeria government, and this was then actually helping the country to move up. Our past leaders like Sir Abubakar Tafawa-balewa, General Murtala Muhammed, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Tunde Idiagbon, Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Enemde Azikwe, (all of blessed memory) would never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria for being leaders with proven records of achievement. After these great people, what we have are the hungry politicians, I-care-for-myself leaders, who are actually opportune to beat the helms of affairs. The type of politicians in Nigeria political arena are bounce of criminals, crooks who have in one way or the others, indulged in mischievous activities. There is no wonder, therefore, why crime, corruption, poverty, crime and religion violence have become the fastest growing industries in Nigeria and this has made our hard earned democratic government worthless. To the best of my little knowledge, the primary concern of reasonable, caring and competent leader should be the welfare of his followers. But in Nigeria, the case is different and so far while our leaders pay lip service to fight against corruption and poverty reduction, they wallow in self-adulation and sycophancy, and never seem to be tired of asking for more benefits for themselves. It is no wonder then that Nigerians feel no sense of patriotism, as our leaders appear insensitive to the plight of the masses. Imagine, corruption is now a serious Nigerian phenomenon and it has critically hobbled and skewed Nigerian development. Where does this come from? Don’t bother your mind, the whole sorry development emanates all the way from Aso-Rock, the seat of power. Government at the central level is the vessel that is leaking from the top and Aso-Rock and other government parastatals and departments are the main fountain where corruption takes its source. This is the reason why I continue wondering why Goodluck Jonathan should be deceiving the whole world by claiming that he is going to put an end to corrupt practices. This is really impossible, a dream which possibility of realisation is very slim. In fact, it is terrible, awful and even outrageous as much damage had been done to the good name of the country and the whole sorry story takes its source from Aso Rock, which has become centre of corruption in the whole nation. It is crude and barbaric. Nigeria is fast losing its credibility, friends and opportunities while crisis management takes better part of our government preoccupation. How can we expect foreigners from developed countries to come and invest in the country and help us sustain an industrial promotion when reports on rate at which corruption and mismanagement had eaten to the root of Nigerian economy. All those who perpetrate those sinister, fraudulent activities that dragged us to mess and brought us the kind of problems we are confronting today. You shall dearly pay for it and you will forever remain unsettled, unrest as long as you are using public funds to accumulate wealth. So shall it be, amen.
Jama’are writes from Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri
April 9, 2013 //
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