Curbing corruption and indiscipline in the polity
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