The machinery that drives the gamut of Nigeria today is tottering at the precipice of inevitable fall. This is easily understandable considering the level of corruption and all its attendant evils that have held this country by the throat. It has often been said, ‘if this country does not kill corruption, corruption will eventually kill it’.
Towards this end, there are numerous burning questions seeking answers if we are intent on saving the legacies of our country for the coming generation.
The truth is, everyone is corrupt in his own way. The imam, who preaches to his congregation on corruption and its consequences, is not left behind; he is also corrupt in his own way. Ditto for the pastor, who preaches on Sunday from the holy repose of his pulpit. He is also likely to be corrupt in things that affect him.
Corruption is seen as being smart and brilliant in Nigeria. Those whom we hope will salvage us from the tentacles of corruption are in fact the secret exponents and champions of corruption. Then, we begin to ask these questions: who will check the reckless corruptive course this country is taking? Who will lead the fight against the menace of corruption?
Whenever we mention corruption, what instantly comes into our minds is our leaders. Our leaders. Yes, because we see them as the worst examples of instigators and exponents of corruption. The majority of us believe that if they were not corrupt and have been rendering their services to the nation maximally and effectively, no one will be corrupt.
But in my assumption, we are the ones to be held accountable for all they do. In the first instance, we are the ones who vote them in. We are the ones! Despite our knowledge of their corruptive ways, we still vote them in because we often hope to share in their spoils of office especially if we are related to them, if we are their party men; if we attended the same schools with them; if we worship in the same church or mosque with them.
But at the end of it all, we realised that their spoils are only meant for them and their immediate families. The little we might have been given, if we are given at all, is never enough to feed us and our immediate families for a day or two. We realised very late that we have been taken for a ride. But because of our helplessness, naivety and ignorance of our power as an electorate, we fall the same way when next they come for their sweet mouths and vote for them again.
Until we learn to vote sincere and honest people into offices, we will continue to live a life devoid of honour, a life of helpless slaves who are given leftovers to fight over like dogs. And who like dogs have barked at, and bite one another for possession of the few dry bones.
Until we learn to vote in a government with the interest of the citizenry, a government that will convict anyone found guilty of an offence no matter his status, place of birth, religious affiliation or political belonging, we will still be wallowing in the muddy water of corruption.
Adamu Usman Garko writes from Gombe State.