Corruption is constant in society and occurs in all civilisations; however, it is becoming more and more prevalent in our communities today.
Whilst corruption may take various forms, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, it can also hide behind nepotism, conflicts of interest, or revolving doors between the public and the private sectors. Its impact on the economy and our society continues to be destructive – inhibiting economic growth, employment and investment, to name a few. We use the example of oil and other natural resources in Nigeria where nepotism hidden in the guise of the quota system has been detrimental to the level of unemployment due to the new selection bias. In spite of its ethical ambiguity, the demanding oil and gas industry generate an unfathomable amount of profit – it is argued that such wealth could provide double the Nigerian population with great financial stability, in addition to eradicating the protracted inequality crisis. To make matters worse, the current judicial system poses zero threat to reducing the level of corruption as they fail to cast rightful judgement upon those exhibiting acts of corruption. The inability of these institutions to redress their citizens’ grievances and acts of injustice provides nothing but despair in society.
In today’s world, individuals in powerful positions are privy to the illustrious perks of their position. However, echoing the widely known quote “With great power comes great responsibility”, we can acknowledge that such powerful positions can pose mixed blessings. In recent examples the international community has witnessed tremendous acts of corruption and have chosen to ignore it. Subsequently, giving impetus to these individuals/organisations to continue their unethical crimes. It would be unwise to overlook the efforts of some countries to curb these unprincipled behaviours – as seen with the UK and their view on ministerial responsibility. Ministerial responsibility is a fundamental constitutional principle dictating that ministers are responsible to the parliament for the conduct of their ministry and government as a whole, it ensures the accountability of the government to the people. This was exhibited during the “Expenses Scandal” in Britain in 2009, leading to multiple members of parliament (MPs) resigning and ordered to pay back the tax-payer money they used for their own personal gain. Granted, the scandal in Britain is much inferior to what we’re seeing in Nigeria, nevertheless there are practices in place to mitigate the damaging effects of corruption. We cherish our country and promote it being the “giant of Africa”, rich in culture and natural resources, but in reality, its riddled with disparities. From the military junta to the acclaimed elected democratic leaders, the game has been a competitive looting run.
As aforementioned, corruption is constant in society and occurs in all civilisations, it would be naïve to assume that such acts belong to a finite number of countries alone. It is also naïve to discount our country’s prominent shortcomings. Whilst in stark contrast, our Western counterparts have benefitted from better guidance and economic prosperity. Perhaps our understanding of leadership has become distorted over the years. Perhaps as a community, we fail to comprehend what’s truly needed for economic and social stability. What is certain, is that Nigeria has all the capabilities of becoming an extraordinary nation, however fundamental changes must be made, it’s time to excavate the truth beneath the lies and promote the importance of transparency. If we, as a country, can take these revolutionary steps together then we will see the eradication of a Nigeria continuously being watched over with a jaundiced eye by the international community, in addition to its own people.
My question: Will we see the rise of a democratic system, one which positively promotes transparency in our community? Or is the notion of democratic redemption a far-fetched one?
Your Question: The question remains: when will African democratically elected leaders show some transparency in the cause of leading the people who hand-picked them to lead?