New Telegraph

Various sources and forms of corruption

The Buhari administration was elected into office in 2015 with the hope that it will fight corruption, restore security and bring about economic growth and development.

 

Atthepointitcameintooffice, Icautioned that the expectations from the electorate was too highsimply because Nigeria wasfounded on a faulty foundation physically, economically, socially, financially and constitutionally. Expectedly, I went ahead to caution that the economy will get worse before it starts getting better.

I further advocated that the regime must take hard, unpopular, politically challenging decisions that will change the trend of economic growth and development like complete removal of petroleum subsidy on all petroleum products. This regime has been prevaricating on this.

 

The issue of devolution of power has been a clog in the wheel of economic growth, development and in-depth national integration. The nation appears to be highly and volatily divided currently due largely to corruption. Corruption is the singular most threatening issue to the corporate existence of the nation. When you talk of corruption, it is multifaceted, hydra headed.

 

Financial corruption is the end product of the various forms of corruption bedeviling this nation. I was listening to a radio programme recently and the artist said: “I was born in Lagos, I grew up in Lagos, but my state of origin is Ebonyi State.” What is this, if not corruption of citizenship? A man born in a place, grew up in the same place, schooled and working and paying taxes in the same place has his state of origin where his great grandfathers were born.

 

The petroleum Act of 1969 still governs the operation of the petroleum industry in 2021. Fifty-two-year old law governing the operations of the major source of Nigeria’s revenue. Remember that this Act was promulgated during the civil war and most of the provisions were to disenfranchise the South East from laying claim to the oil of the nation.

 

The Petroleum IndustryBillhasbeenpresentedtoallthenational assemblies since 1999. Who are those against the passage of this bill if not the international oil companies and their local collaborators?

This is an instance of treasonable corruption perpetrated by the supposed representatives of the people. How can the government claim to be fighting corruption when the National Assembly continues to undermine the interest of the nation by not passing the petroleum industry bill for (20) twenty years?

 

In a plural society like Nigeria with geopolitical zones, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria contemplates that there are well qualified citizens to occupy any post at the federal level from all the zones.

 

It is corruption to populate the federal establishments with people from one or two geopolitical zones in contravention of the clear provisions of the Federal Character Commission. This regime has variously been accused of nepotismintheappointmentintoFederalAgencies.

 

 

The beauty of democracy is the freedom of divergence of political opinions and freedom to choose. However, once a local government chairman or the governor of a state or the president of the country is elected, he becomes the chairman or the governor or the president of all. Doing otherwise is corruption personified.

 

The issue of mercantilist politicians crossing from one opposition party to the ruling party primarily to evade justice and the condoning of this practice is corruption. Many political office holders in the APC today were the same political office holders in the days of PDP in power.

By their movement from their former political parties to the current ruling party, they become sacred cows. Some of them who have been on trial by the EFCC even have the effrontery to label their former party as fraudulent, whereas they are the people that perpetrated the fraud then.

 

The judiciary has become the weeping child of this democratic dispensation because of the complications in the constitution regarding the appointment, confirmation and promotion of judges.

 

The civil servants are a permanent feature in the corruption perception of the nation. Right from the local governments, states and federal civil service, one cannot get a transaction concluded without one way of gratification or the other.

 

Again, the heads of the agencies are said to have their fronts who execute the contracts on their behalf. Private universities are thriving. At the recent meeting of the Federal Executive council, twenty more private universities were granted licence to operate.

 

Yet, the state and federal universities were on strike for one session. This has created distortions in the academic calendars and admissions of fresh undergraduates.

One wonders why these well-established universities cannot be allowed the free hand to operate, generate their funds, manage their resources and remit the excess fund generated to the federation account.

 

There is no way the Federal Government can efficiently run these institutions, including even unity secondary schools efficiently. It will not work.

 

Every Nigerian must not pass through the university. Establish the rules and standards and grant these institutions total autonomy to operate and you will marvel at the results.

 

These are a few forms of corruption which ultimately lead to financial corruption for which the EFCC and the ICPC are established. Economic and financial crimes and corruption being the ultimate product of these fundamentally neglected sources and types of corruption cannot be tackled unless the war on corruption is more holistic. Recent happenings at the EFCC bear eloquent testimonies to these observations. Poverty induced corruption appears malignant in this nation.

 

Due to the absence of employment opportunities, most people who ordinarily would have been apostles of a corrupt-free society find themselves indulging in corruption. The absence of employment opportunities has propelled many youths into crime as the only alternative to survival. The sophistication and precision with which many crimes are executed today shows the level of intelligence deployed to its planning.

 

Nigeria has progressed from ordinary stealing and armed robbery to kidnapping, banditry, invasion of whole communities and /or local governments by herdsmen in advancement of their business of herding, yahoo yahoo and Gboys.

 

Finally, the worst and most devastating form of corruption is a situation where an elected leadership of a nation with the mandate of ensuring the security and welfare of the electorate sacrifices, compromises and or abdicates this responsibility in order to subtly advance, facilitate or promote the business interest of a particular ethnic group to the detriment of the security, welfare and peace of the nation.

This is treasonable corruption.

 

• Sir Temple Ogueri Onyeukwu FCA (ngozindigbo@ yahoo.com) D Oracle writes from Lagos

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