Curb­ing cor­rup­tion and in­dis­ci­pline in the polity

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Solomon E. Nwa­dio­gbu

The new fed­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari which was in­au­gu­rated on May 29, 2015 with the mantra of ‘change’ has hinged the much an­tic­i­pated change on three broad ar­eas; tack­ling in­se­cu­rity, curb­ing cor­rup­tion and ad­dress­ing youth un­em­ploy­ment.

It is a thing of joy and a source of re­lief to many Nige­ri­ans con­cerned about the rot and the level of deca­dence in the polity that Buhari has made the war against cor­rup­tion one of its car­di­nal pro­grammes. Many peo­ple are also not as­ton­ished about the Pres­i­dent’s anti-graft pos­ture. From time past, Buhari who was one-time Mil­i­tary Head of State was known as a ‘no-non­sense man’ who does not con­done cor­rup­tion and in­dis­ci­pline in all their ram­i­fi­ca­tions. His in­tegrity is never in doubt and he is seen as some­one who would fight cor­rup­tion with­out mind­ing whose ox is gored.

He re­cently de­clared dur­ing his trip to the United States in July that he would not spare any cor­rupt Nige­rian in­clud­ing his party mem­bers if found guilty of em­bez­zling money. There­fore, he has, with­out minc­ing words, told who­ever cares to lis­ten that cor­rup­tion would be fought with vigour by his gov­ern­ment. One of the anti-graft agen­cies, the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion (EFCC) has also upped its ac­tiv­i­ties as soon as the Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion was in­au­gu­rated, hav­ing ob­vi­ously read the body lan­guage of the Pres­i­dent.

There is no doubt that in­dis­ci­pline has been re­spon­si­ble for the myr­i­ads of chal­lenges con­fronting Nige­ria. It is said that be­cause many peo­ple fail to cau­tion them­selves and do the right thing at the right time, cor­rup­tion fes­ters at all lev­els. It is in­dis­ci­pline that prompts peo­ple to jump queues in public places; it is in­dis­ci­pline that leads peo­ple to lit­ter the roads; and it is these acts of in­dis­ci­pline that man­i­fest in the high level of cor­rup­tion that is plagu­ing the Nige­rian so­ci­ety and stymieing its growth and de­vel­op­ment from time im­memo­rial. There is no gain­say­ing that Nige­ria would be a bet­ter coun­try if each and ev­ery one of us learns to clean their cor­ner with­out be­ing co­erced.

In ret­ro­spect, the pop­u­lar War Against In­dis­ci­pline (WAI) in­tro­duced by the Buhari/ Ba­batunde Idi­ag­bon mil­i­tary regime in 1985 came down in history as one of the most coura­geous po­lices ever in­tro­duced by a gov­ern­ment which as­sisted in in­still­ing san­ity to all seg­ments of the coun­try. With the pol­icy, ev­ery Nige­rian learned to do the right, both in their public and pri­vate lives. It was one ini­tia­tive which breathed life back to the Nige­rian com­mu­nity af­ter many years of so­cial deca­dence and bro­ken-down law and or­der, even as it proved that Nige­ri­ans as a peo­ple are hon­est and hard­work­ing peo­ple who are only look­ing for some­one that is hon­est enough to lead by ex­am­ple and be a pace­set­ter in erad­i­cat­ing so­cial vices, in­clud­ing cor­rup­tion. Apart from in­still­ing san­ity into the polity, past cor­rupt lead­ers were brought to jus­tice while the in­vid­i­ous 10 per cent kick­back on ev­ery con­tract award was erad­i­cated.

As the present Buhari ad­min­is­tra­tion car­ries on with the anti-graft bat­tle, the ques­tion is; will the Pres­i­dent re-in­tro­duce or re-en­act the War Against In­dis­ci­pline? I per­son­ally be­lieve that it would be a welcome de­vel­op­ment as such step would go a long way in com­bat­ing the so­cial deca­dence and mon­u­men­tal cor­rup­tion that has held back Nige­ria. Be­sides, such step would en­cour­age many Nige­ri­ans, most es­pe­cially those with cor­rupt ten­den­cies, to sit up. It will also en­sure that so­cial jus­tice, peace and har­mony pre­vail in the coun­try.

Wor­ried by the high rate of cor­rup­tion in Nige­ria and the dam­age it has in­flicted on the na­tion, the Nige­ria Labour Congress (NLC) re­cently ad­vo­cated for the adop­tion of the Chi­nese model of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment to min­imise if not erad­i­cate cor­rup­tion in the coun­try. In China, any­one con­victed of cor­rup­tion is pun­ished with death, while the fam­ily of the con­vict would pay for the bullet used in the ex­e­cu­tion.

The abour said it ad­vo­cated cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for cor­rupt peo­ple be­cause cor­rup­tion has also killed thou­sands of Nige­ri­ans: the roads are bad and the monies meant to re­ha­bil­i­tate the roads have been si­phoned; there are no drugs in the hos­pi­tals be­cause some in­di­vid­u­als de­cided to pocket funds meant to pro­vide drugs and other fa­cil­i­ties in the hos­pi­tal, and so many other in­stances of de­struc­tion en­gen­dered by cor­rup­tion in the coun­try.

Though, it is not cer­tain whether the na­tion would sum­mon the courage to le­galise cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment for cor­rup­tion, it is a good thing that there is a new be­gin­ning whereby the Buhari gov­ern­ment has raised the con­scious­ness of the peo­ple about cor­rup­tion and the need to shun all forms of graft in their public and pri­vate lives.

Pres­i­dent Buhari in his 55th In­de­pen­dence Day ad­dress to the na­tion stressed the sig­nif­i­cance of ev­ery Nige­rian chang­ing their way of life. Ac­cord­ing to him, “We must change our law­less habits, our at­ti­tude to public of­fice and public trust. We must change our un­ruly be­hav­ior in schools, hos­pi­tals, mar­ket places, mo­tor parks, on the roads, in homes, and of­fices. To bring about change, we must change our­selves by be­ing law-abid­ing cit­i­zens.”

It is bet­ter we all ad­here to this, for our ben­e­fit, the na­tion’s ben­e­fit and the ben­e­fit of gen­er­a­tions of Nige­ri­ans yet un­born.

Solomon E. Nwa­dio­gbu is the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Emilinks Lim­ited

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