Bess Myerson once said, “The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference”. In Nigeria, corruption has become a household name with embezzlement, nepotism, fraud, influence peddling, sorting and extortion bedeviling every sector of our national life. It has become a practice no one is innocent of: from the corrupt student in the classroom to the civil servant, to the contractors, and of course, the government.
A UN report of January this year indicates that Nigeria has lost over four hundred Billion to corruption in thirty-nine years, and according to National Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), we have lost over six trillion naira to corrupt NNPC practices. This whooping amount would have been used to help the over a hundred million Nigerians living in abject poverty. Additionally, more finances are lost by funding of agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) which themselves only end up as frontiers in the game of corruption. Much has been said but nothing really has been achieved may be because those who ought to make some difference are indifferent.
In the anti-corruption battle, every noble action, every stand and swim against the tide counts as it breaks what has over the years grown to be a chain dangling heavily on our necks.
As a student, I can refuse to join what seems like the majority in cheating and sorting of lecturers for grades. As a businessman, I can choose not to manipulate invoices and give bribes. As a contractor, I can refuse shady deals and insist on transparency and quality. As a religious leader, I should tell the people the truth about this scourge even as I present a trustworthy example with my life. As a government official, I can choose to swim against the tide and be different and true. But it is not enough not to practice corruption, we must also be ready to blow the whistle should we see others practice corruption. Remember, a vice does not become a virtue by being widely practiced.
As for me, I am proud to partner with the Center for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics, Inc. (CSAAEINC) in the fight against this scourge, and in making Nigeria a place where we can be proud of by working on myself in order to set a standard for others to see and know that it is actually possible to be a Nigerian and be incorruptible. I am proud to be raising an alarm about the terrible effects of corruption because I know the future Nigeria I dream of will never be as long as corruption persists. I am an emerging Nigerian leader and I would not want to lead a Nigeria already ravaged by corruption.
Join the battle in your own little way. Break the chain. And the Nigeria we have always dreamed of can be ours. I love Nigeria!