"O you who believe! Fulfill your obligations...."(Qur’an 5 verse 1)
I have come to accept that every day I will read something about corruption in my country, Nigeria; I will watch a TV programme on corruption, I will listen to the radio and hear something about another case of fraud, of mismanagement, of misappropriation, of theft and worst of all, of impunity. Every day we read stories of abuse of public trust, lack of transparency, lack of accountability, elite conspiracy in political corruption and crass impunity- EVERYDAY. Corruption has become endemic and pervasive in our dear country (Nigeria) and we can never progress as a people until this is reduced to its bare minimum.
Nigeria is a sad country; forget the narrative on being the happiest people on earth, our happiness is “suffering and smiling” type. It is not the real happiness. You cannot be happy in a country where a huge 80% live below the poverty line. You cannot be happy when the only commercial center is Lagos with 3, 345 square kilometers in a country of 923, 768 square kilometers and over 170 million people. You cannot be happy if you do not have access to medical care and when you have, you are bleeding to pay the bills or even planning to take the sick to India to spend money you do not have. What happened to all the general/teaching hospitals and the several doctors Nigeria produces yearly? All our best and brightest love being doctors, of what use is all of that?
You cannot be happy when you are not sure of adequate security. You cannot be happy when you run your own local government at home and at work and still get outrageous bills and some task force harassing you. You cannot be happy in a country where uniformed men do not have integrity and can be compromised easily. You cannot be happy when you’ve lost a friend or relative to road or air mishap. You cannot be happy when you think you need to go to the UK, USA or Canada to get the right education for your children. What is wrong with our schools and all those professors? How many Americans or Canadians come to study here because of their own bad educational system? There is a catalogue of woes that corruption has caused us as a country and it is a shame that we have allowed this to happen for so long.
For all it is, a group of people with political power and opportunity to govern and their cronies have shared our commonwealth. I have put the figure to 20% of the population; these are people who share the wealth meant for the entire populace and leave the remaining 80% to poverty, lack, disease and hopelessness, and in so many anger, violence and criminality. The tragedy of the Nigerian state is that, when any of this 80% now manage to cross to the other side of the divide, they exhibit the same impunity they have cried about ALL their lives. That is clearly a Nigerian problem.
As far as am concerned, crass corruption started sometimes in the 1980s under military rule. It was perfected in our democracy between 1999 to date. It is a shame. When you elect people to represent your interest and give you a voice and they go sharing our commonwealth, and these same people get re-elected over and over again. There is an enormous problem with us Nigerians. These people are stealing the collective dreams of our future generation. We are mortgaging our future for immediate gratification. No one gets anywhere meaningful in life like this.
Politics has become a game of life and death today because everyone wants access to the national pie. People will kill, maim to win elections all for access to dollar and naira. As far as I am concerned, a political leader should be contributing to the national purse, every state, every local government should be contributing his own quota, but what we see is the other way round. Any leader that does not understand how to develop his state or locality to be self-sufficient, has no business in governance. Until we get some fundamental things right as a country, we will never progress.
There is corruption in every facet of our national life. I personally abhor having anything to do with any government offices – Immigration, Custom, Police and what not. My heart bleeds for this country when I have to spend time dealing with our governmental institutions, every singular thing wrong with this country becomes more glaring. Corruption underpins everything.
Corruption is when:
1. You go to the foremost airport in Nigeria and cannot get a decent toilet to use or the lifts are not working.
2. Corruption is when a Nigerian passport of N8,900 costs N25,000 right at the passport office
3. Corruption is when you have to pay huge amount of money for employment so that a government official sells his slot to you in a government institution
4. Corruption is when you give uniformed men money on the road. I maintain, money should not be exchanging hands on the road
5. Corruption is when you get a job only because you know someone, somewhere at the top
6. Corruption is when you need to know someone to get things done efficiently in government offices.
7. Corruption is when you make our educational and health institutions fail us and you go abroad to treat headache
8. Corruption is when someone pays 78 Million for a website that should cost no more than 1 Million naira.
9. Corruption is when a project of 200 Million Naira is appropriated 1 Billion Naira and at the end of the day, next to nothing is spent on the project
10. Corruption is when you rig election and impose yourself on unwilling people.
The corruption war is not APC versus PDP, it is not Igbos versus the rest of Nigeria. It is the political class versus the people. The Igbos or Ijaws are not the marginalized, the masses are, 80% of the population are the marginalized.
ISLAMIC INJUNCTIONS ON CORRUPTION
There are verses of the Qur’an which forbids us to indulge in fraudulent practices and corruption. The Qur’an inspires us to give to what belongs to the poor. By being corrupt, not only is there a crime against the people and the state, one has gone against Qur’anic teachings and Islamic injunctions. So invariably, a Muslim should not be engaged in any form of corruption, no matter the position or level of influence. Being in a position of responsibility means more burden and accountability to Allah (SWT).
Allah commands you to give back the trusts to their rightful owners, and when you judge between people, judge with fairness. Surely, excellent is the counsel which Allah gives you. Allah is He who hears and observes all. Quran 4 verse 58.
O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is informed of what ye do. Qur’an 5 verse 8.
Corruption has ensured that:
1. We remain a backward country
2. The citizens do not have a sense of belonging and a sense of security
3. Nothing works efficiently
4. We do reach our full potential in life and fulfil our purpose
5. We constantly celebrate mediocrity and nothing is on merit
6. Everyone is waiting for his/her opportunity to steal
7. We remain static when the whole world is moving forward
8. Some disgruntled elements have taken arms against the government and constituted authority
9. There is so much poverty, lack, disease (physical and otherwise), illiteracy and ignorance
10. No welfare, no peace, no love
We need an environment that provides needed infrastructure, individual freedom to pursue individual projects where there is a culture of hard work, innovation, and deep connection, understanding and synergy between the leaders and the led.
Let it be known that, until all our myriad of issues are addressed adequately and every Nigerian has a fair chance in life, there is no progress or overall peace for anyone and that is the truth!
Salam alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu.
Founder/Editor in Chief, 1one4.com