Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria - Most Religious, Most Corrupt

According to the Transparency International Perception Index account, Nigeria is among the most corrupt countries of the world. Out of 176 countries surveyed in the current report, Nigeria occupies the 135 position. Although some Nigerians have argued that such is an unfair assessment of the country, yet they have failed to prove convincingly how the assessment is unfair, especially, when we are witnesses to emerging indices of corruption such as abduction and despicable incidents of murder. Don't we think we are being more corrupt if we argue that we are not corrupt, compared to other countries? It would be meaningful to say in the words of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group that the Transparency International Corruption catalogue "serves as a wake up call to fight corruption in Nigeria", rather than exonerate the country and point our fingers elsewhere. Hence, to say we are not corrupt signifies that we are not thinking of giving up inappropriate ways of life, that have qualified Nigeria as one of the most corrupt places on the planet.

In spite of the fact that Nigeria is also named as one of the most religious countries of the world, our attachment to ethnic concerns, religion in favour of spirituality and nepotism, downgrade the country. Eventually, it is in the process of our religious explosion that we have recorded heaps of dead bodies of our fellow citizens in gutters, streets, churches and public offices? It is due to religious pretense that our politicians have botched their election promises after they were sworn in either with Holy Bible or Qur'an. A student who collaborates with his parents, teachers and colleagues in exam malpractice has also failed in his religious leaning together with his accomplices. What about a commercial driver who knows that his vehicle has mechanical problems but goes on to board passengers in it? Is he not a murderer and a member of one church or mosque?Moreso, an importer who brings in sub-standard and expired goods likewise an exporter who exports inferior materials are human eaters, call them religious charlatans. Shylock landlords and their agents abound. They also take pounds of flesh from their clients and so, have negated their religious belief.

When we steal from the nation's treasury, we call it our national cake. We dupe unsuspecting people including foreigners. We vandalize cables, transformers, oil pipelines, award bogus contracts and from the proceeds, we pay tithes to the church or do Zakat (arms giving). Afterward, we beseech God to bless our land Nigeria, even when we have failed to help the land Nigeria stand as a developed country. The expression cleanliness is next to Godliness is popular to us, but we lack the spiritual and physical impetus to apply it on our everyday life .No wonder we defecate and urinate at any available space without any tinge of caution while our homes, offices, markets and streets are rife with dirt. Ironically, heaps of refuse are used by many people as landmarks when they direct their visitors to where they leave. For instance they would say: when you get to E-junction, board the next taxi to X- Avenue and tell the driver that you will alight at the first heap of refuse by the right; just imagine that. However, a situation where government jobs and appointments are not given on merit is quite worrisome because it results into the emergence of an unproductive work force.

Nowadays we claim that our transgressions are the signs associated with the end of the edge, yet we are failing to adhere to the warnings the signs suggest as accounted in the book of Mathew Chapter 24. Without a doubt, it is only the fear of God that can eradicate fraud in our land. In other words; fear him whom you worship, whether you call him LORD OR ALLAH. Parents, teachers and traditional institutions should help to fight corruption. Remember, no matter how corruption has battered the nation, the first bad habit a child acquires is from his home, school or traditional setting. Also, our political leaders must begin to win elections devoid of rigging. It is only by this means that they can be called chief servants and command respect before members of their constituencies. And any process of endorsing an act to check corruption must involve public input, to ensure accuracy and precision. Religious leaders must teach their followers sound moral doctrines because it is when the people are edified, that the country becomes clean. Also, they must teach their followers to desist from acts of corruption rather than teaching prosperity without labour.National Broadcasting Commission should discipline media organizations that engage in political and religious misinformation. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, ICPC and the Nigerian Police need to constantly appraise their aims and objectives, to ascertain where their challenges are their level of performance.

Uchechi Okafor, Directorate of Programmes, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria

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