By Caroline James
That comes to mind when you come across headlines like these “Politicians First Save Nigeria”, “Nigeria Will Not Break in 1015”, “I Did My Best To Fight Corruption-IBB”, “Lawyer Seek Corruption Free Judiciary In 2015”?. These and many more similar headlines are what we hear and see on our media today. Corruption is now a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our national lives. How then did we get here? Historically, although during the first republic, corrupt was prevalent, but it was kept at manageable level. In 1944, Nnamdi Azikwe was the first major political figure that was investigated for a firm belonging to him and his family. In the west, politician Adegoke Adelabu was charged of corruption levelled against him by his opposition, which demanded for his resignation as direct council head. In the North, the North Government enacted by the Customary presents order to stop any further breach of regulations levelled against some native authority officials in Borno.
During the tenure of the Gowon administration, corruption was kept away from the public, not until 1975. He was viewed as timid in terms of being decisive against corrupt element in his government. Then during Shagari’s administration, corruption was deemed pervasive while Buhari’s administration convicted different political gladiators of different corrupt practices although, the administration itself was involved in a few lapsed ethical judgment. However, it was during the IBB regime that corruption was believed to be preponderant. There was no such thing as accountability and the only successful election in Nigeria of June 12, 1993 was rigged. Then during Abacha’s regime, although there was economic growth, it also witnessed widespread of human right abuses and it was after his death that all the billions of naira he deposited to offshore accounts were discovered.
It has after Obasanjo’s inauguration on May 29, 1999, that he said he would combat past and present corruption in Nigeria government. His government then appeared to move more forcefully against government’s corruption in early 2015 as several ministers were fired on corruption charges and the senate speaker resigned after being accused of taking bribes. It was also at this time that the vice-president, Atiku who was accused of corruption, counter accused the president of corruption. EFFC, a body formed during the administration, was tainted by charges that it was used for political retaliation by Obasanjo and his alies. Then came Umaru Yar’adua and whose efforts to fight government corruption stalled.
In July 2009, Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist sect, launched attacks against the government in North East Nigeria. By the first half of 2012, there is been increasing violent and the ongoing insurgency by the Islamic militant group is worsening the economic stagnation of Nigeria. Now, since August 2014, tension in the PDP led to split in the party and several members of the party later in the year have joined APC an opposition group formed by the merger of several parties. But then, is this the way forward?
Looking at the history of the country, there is no doubt that things are getting from bad to worse. Our future generation has failed us and now, corruption no longer means anything to our political leaders and even the citizens. To worsen the situation, the few rich are getting dangerously richer by the hour while the many poor are getting poorer by the minute. There is no meddling in the middle as the so-called middle class people are finding it extremely difficult to meet up with their basic needs of life.
A resounding question often comes to mind. What foundation are we paying for our future generation (s)? Nigerians are no longer accountable, we lack integrity and the only issues we hear of today is money laundering, embezzlement, bribery in all its shapes and forms, with little or nothing said or done to prosecute the offenders.
Who then do we put the blame for all this on; is it our leaders or the system? Without any hesitation, I strongly believe that our system is whacked, it is in a very big mess and the fate of the said “future generation” is scary. Ask 10 undergraduate students what they will contribute to the society if given the opportunity, I bet that 9 out of them will tell you how they want to have their own share of the national cake. It is so painful the mindset our youths have today, that if you go there and get out with nothing, you are termed a fool. Truly, our older generation has failed us.
This country is faced with so many challenges poverty, incessant labour disputes, in security of lives and properties , not to talk of being ranked 15 most corrupt nations in the world. Other countries non look down on us and cannot trust us. We need to wake up, put religion, ethnicity aside and stand as one. It takes each of us to make a difference for all of us. How worse can this get as we have faced so many challenges yet we are still standing. I know and believe there is hope for Nigeria, yes the youth are the hope of this blessed country. A president is not the only the only answer to this long as ting problem we face today, it is a collective fight, we have to be willing and ready to stand together to fight corruption, fight our greatest fears and be the strong black men that we truly are.
These are my last words, in every human endeavours, a retrospect helps guarantee a better future, and the hope of any nation however how bad it is now has in the proper understanding of what the navigation for a brighter future. The older generation had better make the future generation understanding what Nigeria use to be, and how to collectively restore the best glory. Only there lies a future.
Caroline James via firstname.lastname@example.org