Monday, October 15, 2007

Corruption: As A Reason and an Excuse

Saturday, 19 March 2005

It is beginning to dawn on me that corruption as phenomenon and scourge has become a catch-all phrase or an omnibus term with which some Nigerians and non-Nigerians use to frequently describe actions and inactions, and to encompass what has occurred in the past, what is occurring now or will occur in the future in Nigeria, nay Africa and by extension, the rest of the developing world. Corruption explains abject circumstances in Africa?

Corruption has come to mean something that embodies some sorts of excuse and or defense for those who are, in the first place, unwilling to take act, those evidently incapable of acting or taking meaningful actions, to begin with, those in these categories, also include persons and institutions, local or foreign, who are unable to act, neglected to act or have actually refused to act, whether for internal or externals reasons.

Among some Nigerians, at home, and abroad, there seem to be this shared-belief that the only reason the Americans and Europeans do not blare Nigerian music at American and European Airports, (Nigerian music is never played at foreign airports), and so, you will never hear music such as Fela Kuti, Bongos Ikwe, Celestine Ukwu, Bala Miller, Sonny Okosun, DanMaraya Jos, Osita Osadebe, Rex Lawson, I.K Dairo, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey etc at American and Europeans Airports or other public space, but Nigerians are all- too-happy to play American and European music in public space and at public events, apparently, because there is corruption in Nigeria?

The reason Poland, a small country in the then communist atheist eastern Europe produced a Catholic Pope some thirty-years ago, before Nigeria had a chance to produce a Catholic Pope, is also because of corruption in Nigeria? This, even though there are more Catholics in Anambra state than in Poland even after communism fell that eastern European country. This even though we know there of course more catholic in all of Nigeria than many European countries put together; In fact, there are also more catholic devotees in Mexico than in the Roman Catholic Rome, Italy and St. Peter Basilica is not in Cancun or Gualahara or Nnewi! Ah, it is because of corruption!

Nigeria would have since assumed permanent member status at the United Nations’ Security Council with veto or reserved powers at the UN were it not for corruption in Nigera! Ah! The reason most non-Nigerian do make ANY efforts to pronounce or say our name correctly or properly, is because, you guessed it! Corruption, corruption is the reason we will not receive debt cancellations, reparations or investments or reason a Nigerian was denied his Olympic gold in Australia? Oh please! Snake oil good for all ills?

It seem to me that too many Nigerians these days, are unwilling to contemplate Nigeria’s bounteous and profound possibilities, as they are unwilling to portray Nigeria in best lights, so that everything Nigerian in frequently given a downward definition by these folks. But virtues and vices are universal Matters pertaining to economic and political development are always said to be unsustainable in Nigeria, such issues are then promptly discussed I almost fatalistic terms and too often, many are too quick to conclude, even without a scintilla of survey, planning or strategy and efforts haven been expended, they will pronounce every new idea dead on arrival, these pessimists and cynics are apt to announce their predictions and forecasts in the negative territories, as they insist on the improbabilities of every idea in Nigeria about everything Nigerian, be it business investments, sports, tourism or medicine or infrastructures.

We have been bombarded with why it is implausible to have economic, political and even cultural renaissance, rebirth and renewal; We are always informed always! Always pointedly informed, that Nigeria is irredeemable, because corruption, immorality and blight have festered and festooned upon Nigeria, all over Nigeria, for far too long.

Nigerians it appears, are told, and too many have come to accept, that corruption was born, planted, fertilized, raised and nurtured in Nigeria, corruption is a Nigerian word like tuwo, elubo or isi-ewu, its tap roots are deep in our beloved country’s fertile soil and it will never depart? Insistently, they tell us, the anti corruption campaign being waged by the current federal government, despite obvious results or dividends by way of recovered funds previously looted by some public office holders, all effort are condemned as not vigorously intense enough.

All these pessimisms are delivered in tones replete with moral certainties or certifiable certitudes by those who prefer to believe that Nigeria is sleep-walking into hell-fire or we are a nation facing an impending calamity of unimaginable proportions akin only to apocalyptic Armageddon!

It has come to pass, that some Nigerians as well as their foreign counterparts, see no future for Nigerians and Nigeria, if at all, there is any future, they forecast it to only include, doom and gloom, and a continued decay, neglect of previously abandoned public infrastructures and systems, these Nigerians and their foreign supports, cannot even concede seeing a possibility of hope for the multitude of Nigerians in Nigeria, under any circumstances whatsoever! In my opinion, the persons with this sorts of mindsets, cannot even sell cold water to a thirsty person or as Phyllis Diller once said of her loser former husband, these are the sorts of persons, “who could not even sell Windex to a peeping Tom” irked by rumors that her loser former husband pretentiously claimed to be her manager, handler and business agent, her husband she said, failed to recognize or appreciate her renowned and boundless creativity and multiplicities of talents in acting, piano playing, comedy and writing….just as too many Nigerians fail to appreciate the fact that Nigeria is a pearl and diamond of exquisite attributes and qualities!

As too many Nigerians and their non-Nigerian cohorts continue to wallow in only things negative on the one hand, there are many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who have been investing in Nigeria and they continue to profit from such business ventures, I read a story recently in ThisDay, in which an India investor and producer of juices in Nigeria for Nigerian and foreign consumption, recounted how his friends tried but failed to dissuade him from coming to Nigeria, where he has now made and continues to make fortunes. Foreign airlines are jostling for positions, and profits in Nigeria’s lucrative travel routes, Foreign Banks in Nigerian are making huge profits as well, the technology and communications sector have all been making gigantic profits and Nigeria remains a growth-growth destination for major telecommunications companies, especially of the GSM kind. If you have no money to invest, or if you are racist, do not use corruption as excuse!

There are many who are taking who are taking advantage of the wondrously wonderful opportunities Nigeria presents to the world, in all sectors of our economy and of human endeavor, Nigerians and Nigeria remains the most hospitable people and country on earth, Nigerians are world renowned as ever affable, amiable, cordial, and most charitable! What exactly is it? That makes some Nigerians misunderstand the difference between acknowledging the challenges or difficulties a person or country may face, on the one hand, and the clear and ceaseless hopelessness, and more proclamations of continuing hopelessness on the other hand? They engage in these predictions of the sky-will-fall, while they proffer no solutions whatsoever!

Imagine if we were all to adjudge all of the current policies of government ineffective or ineffectual, or pronounce that the sundry reforms as useless as pouring water into a basket, as they are condemned as half-hearted, while similarly insisting that is pervasively endemic, as some are now adamant that corruption interferes with regular sunshine and rainfall? What would the rest Nigerians, who are not cynical, pessimistic or suicidal, would be very discouraged and should do what?

Self-fulfilling prophecies and as a man thinks, it is said, so he is, help a child, instead repeating he going to amount to nothing, the child may internalize such diminishing mindset and fail!

If you have nothing usefully constructive to say or write about Nigeria, please say or write nothing! Constructive criticisms are desirable, but destructive criticisms have gotten nobody or no nation, anywhere fast! We are Nigeria, Nigeria is us, change and reform begins with us!

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