Corruption Is A Mind Thing
AT his inauguration, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his government’s commitment to the fight against corruption- corruption; a word which outraged Nigerians describe as a cankerworm that has eaten into the nation’s fabric- such words are used to show their disdain for unlawfully dipping one’s hand into public funds or converting what does not belong to him to his personal use.
However, corruption is not new in this country and it would not be the first time that a government has tried to address the problem. Two governments stand out particularly and history would always remember them-the military government of Lt. Colonel Murtala Mohammed and that of General Muhammadu Buhari who is now the President and Commander-in-Chief of The Armed Forces. Buhari summarized it as War against Indiscipline.
But of note is that Buhari’s perception of indiscipline covers every misbehavior from stealing government’s money to dirtiness in our backyards.
But it is also sad to see too
that decades after the conscious effort to rid this country, that we still complain of corruption, that it is still said that people who serve in public offices are rotten. But instead of crying ‘crucify them; crucify them’ Throw all corrupt officials in jail’. Why should we not be thinking about how to stamp it out from the root? If all entrants into public service want to do is enrich themselves, then something must be wrong with our entire system- our socialization, perhaps?
It has to be our training. For some time now, we have complained about the erosion of our social values which we blame for the cause of bad behavior and the bringing up of corrupt minds.
We think therefore that for us to become once again a nation of people who care for the good of others that the fight should go beyond putting the thief in prison; imprisonment may amount to a show only; you remove him and make chance for another who has been waiting for the opportunity to embezzle public fund.
We should repeat therefore that corruption has many faces and two of them when harboured by an individual would make him an embezzler. He takes money meant to do well in the society for personal use and feels no remorse. Sadly those dormant behaviours do not develop because he becomes a public servant, they have been there; behaviours we have always identified as issues but which we must tackle now to win the war. But before you throw the stone, consider that you may be corrupt too if you are:
We notice quite early when a child tends to take more than what he needs be it in his eating. He wants more toys and cries until he gets his way. If it is left unchecked, he may not when to stop taking those things which take his fancy. A greedy man who sees that he has the power to gorge on what does not belong to him may take too much because he has never known when to stop. He was told as a child. Parents, therefore has a role to play. Be firm, know when to tell him to stop; explain why he cannot take a toy that belongs to another child. He is a rogue in the making and not a super achiever when he takes with force something that belongs to a classmate. Be stern in your denial, greed can be corrected.
A person who feels entitled is corrupt because a jealous heart is harmful; it has this way of single minded reasoning. He considers the supposed big wealth of his neighbour and assumes that he has to have acquired them illegally. He may accuse him of a crime because he wants him to suffer or he may want to take possession of his belonging. He is so consumed with the downfall of his neighbour that he does not know how to work for himself. He is therefore always thinking of how to disturb the peace. In jealousy may be found evils like armed robbery kidnapping and other social ills.
Corruption has a strong base in pride. Because of pride, only few Nigerians may admit that he cannot make ends meet; he cannot agree that his bank account may not always be buoyant. Pride makes a man pitch himself in competition with a man who has worked for decades and in the process, he could take what does not belong to him; public office is the fastest way to prove to that relative who refused to help him that he can make it too. Pride makes a junior worker to consider his superior corrupt because he earns a bigger salary.
Filled With Hate
Hate is not an attitude that forms overnight. A hate filled mind does not see the good in another person. His dislike clouds his judgment and makes him discriminatory of situations or of human beings. It is incisive. It is a corruptive emotion because in his blind rage, he may be destructive.
Lust may predispose a man to marry many wives. The sin however is not in his many women but in the fact that he cannot take care of the many women and the children-the product of such arrangement. When his income cannot meet up, he may resort to embezzling the fund in his care.
Sociologists have always warned that the extended family system forces the servant to steal government money.
When all these are considered, it would seem that all are guilty of corruption. But we cannot all go to prison at the same time; we should start training our children to be above board. Instead of thinking punishment, there is need to think social welfare for the people too. Let us think of correcting the issue of corruption and not having anyone’s for dinner.
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