WALKING THE TALK OF ANTI-CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA

It has long become clear to every citizen of Nigeria that the fundamental problem that is bane of development and progress in Nigeria is corruption. It is an endemic virus that has long eaten into, and degraded the fabric of the very internal structure of Nigeria. It has got to a frightening point that those who talk appear not to mean it; and those who are not looting now are only waiting for opportunity to continue the ‘macabre and ignoble dance’ of corruption.

A sincere commitment has not been given to the fight, so as to walk the talk. It has been more of lip service and deceit in this part of the world. This is why our systems and operations lack standard procedures. Operators and regulators like and enjoy to indulge in flexibility and extreme application of human discretion.

That is why, the system is committed to frustrating digitalization of processes, so as to continue to evade standard. That is the reason for the insistence on human contacts, so that we can negotiate. That is why all attempts to declare all information and procedures openly for online operations have failed, so that we continue to create bottlenecks and frustrate processes. And also, that is why the Nigeria Customs allowed the scanners at the ports to degenerate and ‘die’ naturally, so that we can go back to archaic, tedious manual processes.

All these are telling on the system and economic infrastructure and architecture of the country. Since freight and shipping, as well as various other aspects of Nigeria’s economic operations are international in outlook and nature, the world sees and watches us as unrepentant, unchangeable and unserious. Therefore, the foreigner, even after knowing how ‘bad’ we are, fights, clamours and struggles to site his company and operate here; his only reason – to be part of the booty, plundering and sinking of the common heritage of Nigerians.

That is why reputable multinationals, renowned for impeccable standard, international operating procedures and global best practices become the worst law breakers and manipulators in their operations in Nigeria. So, what is the problem? If every Nigerian who was reckless and unlawful that touches down on European soil behaves well and obeys the laws by himself without compulsion; and every European, who obeyed laws and abided by all rules of engagement in his country touches down on Nigerian soil and turns to a tiger in the jungle, do we not see that we are the cause of our problems; and that we are self-inflicting ourselves with deep, dangerous and deadly wounds, because at the end of the day, when this progressive process of plundering of a great nation gets to severe stages of decay, despair and disrepair, the foreigner, who had been stashing away funds in his home country will pick up his briefcase and leave us to our fate.

Do you blame him? If we the citizens want to run down our country, is it him that will be patriotic and build it? It is however not too late for us to start racing back to drop the negative mannerisms and all dispositions that had contributed to bringing the nation very low. The regulators should resist the temptation of compromise when the interest of the industry, citizens and the nation is at stake, otherwise, it becomes issue of broken trust.

Strong institution means–robust regulation despite whose ox is gored. Also, let’s embrace technology and digitalization, it is a feasible, simple way out, as ‘you cannot negotiate processes or standards with a machine’. Remember, a progressive national decay will definitely, some-how catch up with everybody despite status. Did anybody know that someday, a pandemic will hold sway and compel both the rich and poor to savor Nigeria the way we made it?

On the other hand, if we work for common good, every citizen will benefit and be proud to be Nigerian. Let’s make it happen by walking the talk of anti-corruption.

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