“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet”
The parable of the wise and foolish builder as illustrated by Jesus in the Bible (Matthew 7: 24-27 and Luke 6: 46-49) is a complete similitude of events in Nigeria. Jesus while emphasising the need to put His teaching into practice used this illustration and he emphasised the need to build the house on the rock and not on the sand. The house built on the rock can withstand the rain wind and flood, but on the contrary, the house built on the sand is swept away very easily when rain, wind and flood came calling.
Let’s call a spade a spade; the level of corruption in Nigeria is astronomical. Corruption runs in the blood of most Nigerians and are ready to participate in corruption at the earliest blast of the whistle. Nigeria is a house built on the sand of corruption, but regrettably its people expect it to withstand the calamities and afflictions that go with such quest.
Many Nigerians will profess several verbiages to convince themselves that they are not part of the Nigerian corruption. They convince themselves that things are not what they are and expunge fallacious claims to support every corrupt practise. The fact remains that Nigeria is corrupt by default.
Irrespective of what you convince yourself to belief, the fact cannot be erased. Nigerians live, dine and wine in corruption and these corruptions run from the leaders to the common man on the streets. The leaders steal and share the big money, while the rest steal and share the money left. You can hide the fire that is burning, but you can’t hide the smoke. The smoke is everywhere, nothing gets done except bribe change hands. Ask for a little favour without throwing a bribe, then consider the job best ignored.
Everywhere you go is the same from public sectors to private institutions, everyone readily participate in bribery. I cannot overemphasise the facts that we all need a radical change in our ways. Let’s call a spade a spade, we cannot continue to live this way and expect to get a sudden transformation. Life is only a miracle to those who obey the rules. You cannot live your life anyhow and expect to get a worthwhile result out of it. Until we all stamp out corruption, yes every one of us, Nigeria may not yet be ready.
We need determination and discipline to live corrupt free life. Bribery and corruption has become part of our culture and way of life, we are so much enmeshed in it that it ceases to make any difference to us anymore. Corruption is now normal. If you can’t beat them, you better join them, but must we live our lives this way?
I am convinced we are not corrupt because of poverty, but we are corrupt because we are rich. This is exemplified in the recent bribery scandal between Hon Farouk Lawan, the chairman of the house Ad Hoc committee monitoring the fuel subsidy misappropriation. A bribe of 3 million USD was agreed and 620,000 USD already paid to Lawan by Femi Otedola, the chairman of Zenon Oil and Gas, so Lawan and his panel can doctor the report to remove Zenon name from the report. How much worse can it get for a country laid on the foundation of corruption?
I am particularly disappointed by the role played by Hon Lawan, who initially denied the bribery allegation, before finally submitting to it when evidence was presented. Hon Lawan is another gentleman and trustworthy leader gone badly. He represented Nigeria’s incurable money-craziness. Lawan and his gang of dis-honourables are well paid, even better than their counterparts in every other parts of the world. But money is not the reason why they steal more, but greed and the culture of corruption which must be nipped in the bud. Dis-honourable Lawan and his gang is typical example of many more syndicated bribery scandals that have rocked the country in recent years.
Nigeria has reached the climax of corruption; you either play by the rule or get sucked in forever. You are not allowed to say no to bribery and corruption, if you do, you may get cut down in their wheel of scandals. This unfortunate predicament has got to a very dangerous level, it now runs in every sector of the economy, from judiciary to legislature, executive to business, religion to education, health to power generation and many more. Nothing works on merit in Nigeria; you either pay for it or lose out on it. Sad, really sad, how can we continue to live our lives this way?
Let’s join hands to say no to corruption. Play your part in stamping out this deadly practice. We cannot be free if we continue to sell our conscience for money. Edmund Burke wrote; “among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.” We need to come together and say no to corruption in Nigeria, which is the only way forward.