Re-thinking The War Against Corruption
By: Bayo Adeyinka
I watched a video where pensioners in Osun State carried placards and shouted expletives against the incumbent Governor. I almost shed tears as I saw senior citizens who should be spending their days in quiet dignity protesting for what is theirs.
And this got me thinking about why the current or any other war against corruption is bound to fail.
Several senior citizens will bite their fingers and seriously regret why they didn’t take advantage of their former positions to amass wealth for the future. Their children who watch helplessly will swear that given the opportunity, what happened to their parents will not befall them. That same child is on social media and sees pictures of politicians celebrating their children’s graduation at ivy league schools abroad. Meanwhile his own school has been shut down for over 400 days. His father has not been paid for months. His mother is ill but they can’t afford to go the hospital.
It’s extremely difficult to appease someone who watched as a tiger mauled his mother. And that is why the anti-corruption crusade is dead on arrival. As we catch one Diezani, there will be thousands-maybe millions- lurking around. The truth is there’s a Diezani in all of us. Given the right opportunity, an average Nigerian will steal. You don’t have to agree with me.
Every Nigerian is afraid of the future. They know there’s no social welfare. If you’re sick, you’re on your own. It’s either you go to church for healing or you resign to fate. The hospitals are dead. Even our President doesn’t trust our facilities enough. Education is dead. Truth is you can’t earn minimum wage in Nigeria and afford to send your child to private school especially a university.
You can be brilliant and still be stranded in Nigeria. A short while ago, a young man who graduated with a First Class degree narrated his frustrations to me. He was promised automatic employment but 3 years after he was still waiting.
It’s good to arrest looters and corrupt people but it’s better to prevent or remove those issues that make people steal. We have been cutting the leaves instead of attacking the roots.
Provide employment. Not cutting grass type. A chocolate factory in Osun will employ thousands along the value chain. Make provision for credible health insurance. States should able to do this for their citizens. Tax the companies in your states to provide free dialysis for your citizens. Revamp public schools. Get them the best teachers and place them on a special salary scale. Re-introduce afternoon classes. Let contributory pension be made compulsory. Any violation should be met with stiff punishment like life imprisonment.
Let the average Nigerian see that there is hope in their future. That is when the fight against corruption will become credible and has a chance at succeeding.