The subject of corruption has over the years remained one of the most debated, with lots of arguments. It thus made this subject platitude maybe because lot have been said and written and less have been actually achieved in real terms. This is evidently seen in the numerous obvious malpractices, leading selfish acquisition and squandering of public wealth on personal devoted wants of self aggrandisement especially the case of the public service, governance and general environment of the business world in Nigeria.
Today, complaints are frequently made of what we call the failure of the Nigerian dream. We lament how monstrously, forces in the society fail to fulfil their work and obligation. We wail how the ruling class functions in profligacy and united chaos of wickedness. This piece is as a result fixed with the aim of being insightful on the causes, impacts and solutions that could curb corruption and its practice on the society.
Meaning of Corruption
A wise man once described corruption as “the perversion of integrity or state of affairs through bribery, favour or moral depravity. Corruption occurs when at least two or more parties have interacted to change the behaviour of functionaries or the processes or structure of society in order to produce defiled or unfaithful and as well a dishonest situations.
A brief summary of corruption: It is a form of criminal activity or dishonesty carried out by a person or an organization assigned with a position of authority, often to acquire illegitimate benefit. It may include many activities including embezzlement and bribery, though it may also involve practices that legal in many countries. However, Political corruption transpires when a government employee or an office-holder acts in an official endowment for personal/selfish gain.
Corruption can occur on different scales. It ranges from little favors between a small amount of people (petty corruption) to level that affects the government on a large amount (grand corruption), it is becoming so extensive that it has become a part of the everyday structure of society; today, it is one of the major symptom of organized/planned crimes.
Causes of Corruption
Though corruption is prevalent in almost every given society, it is more pronounced in some societies than others, some the causes are shown below:
- Opportunity to engage in corruption:
This is the first cause because it is where a conducive environment is created for its survival that its practice could thrive. Such that in cases where the systems of administration strictly works against such it will definitely be difficult to exercise such a practice. It becomes so bad when it becomes a norm and an attribute of majority of the populace of a place as observed in the society.
- Insecurity/high risk of investment with failure:
Evident indicators of high risk of investment with failure raises insecurity in minds of investors therefore leading to manipulating the systems to getting security of invested resources as no one wants to be known with failure. This eventually leading to malpractices of seeking shorter and of course illegal routes to success.
- Poor law enforcement:
Enforcement of law has been a very pivotal aspect of arriving at great achievement in the society. Though there may be very active enacted policies if not implemented it is all waste. This is a cause of corruption because when the populace feels they are above the law or little gaps of escaping justice exists and then corruption of various types and degrees set in.
- Lack of Public accountability:
Accountability is a check on the excesses of corruption and its fruits. Therefore, when absent in administrative process dishonesty and insincerity becomes a norm which is corruption.
Poverty is another strong cause of corruption. This is so because people must survive to carry on activities, but when basic needs are no met they must find another way of surviving which is now achieved through improvising (corruption).
- Greed and materialism:
Lack of contentment serves also as a cause of corruption which can be held responsible as the motivation behind self aggrandizement through corrupt practices. It may be caused by perceived sense of belonging in a social class resulting into trying all possible means of impressing on people’s perception of their status. (Get rich quick syndrome).
- Cultural lag and moral decay:
As Molekete Asante reminds us “there are no people without traditions and traditions are the lifeblood of a people. People who fail to express their appreciation and love for its ancestors will die; because in tradition, if you are not expressing yours, you are expressing faith and participating in someone else’s ancestors. So also can be said of corruption that where moral decay abounds people are corrupt.
Impacts of corruption
- Policy implementation problem:
Corruption becomes impactful when policy implementation becomes a problem. This is so because policy implementation is the cure to some problems that would have kept people from nurturing corruption. Policies like accountability, transparency, honesty and the likes.
- Presence of undermined administrative productivity, effectiveness and efficiency:
Due to the boycott of due process which is a cause of corruption the fruits that could be reaped are unproductively, ineffectiveness and inefficiency. What leads to this is because square pegs are not put in there holes leading to escape routes for corruption, this of course is an impact of corruption.
- Promotes underdevelopment:
One of the principles that promote development is efficient use of scarce resources. When people allocate these resources to personal pockets and use, then underdevelopment is inevitable.
Poverty is a perpetual menace of every society that has welcomed corruption and lodged it safely in the confines of the societal norms. Its impact is detrimental because there can be no hope of sustained growth in such a society.
- Causes unequal distribution of wealth and resources: This cannot be overemphasized because the main aim of every society is equal distribution of wealth, egalitarianism, justice and equal representation of rights and freedom. But when it is allowed that corruption be unofficially legalized then unequal distribution of wealth becomes an impact. This therefore leads to ownership of public property by individuals or group of individuals that are experts in the enterprise of corruption.
How to Curb Corruption
The main solutions to the problem of corruption are fairly familiar. The heart of the question is; who will bell the cat? Happily, with the growing strength of the wind of democratic change, the political will to combat corruption has been growing. Below are some trusted ways of curbing the menace of corruption:
- Good political leadership and political will through example of probity.
- Legislation against corruption, where there is no law there is no offence nor will law enforcement be possible.
- Creation of jobs, good pay for jobs and poverty eradication.
- Media duty and citizens cooperation against corruption through moral regeneration.
- Equitable distribution of national resources and opportunities in order to reduce the great gap between the rich and the poor.
It is time to take the country back to the path of sanity and justice. We must begin to demand accountability from all offices of our docile representatives for wasting our collective patrimony on frivolities. We must speak all in one voice against all form of immunity, impunity, non accountability, monopoly of power and never again shall we have leaders or representative of clique of narrow minded folks.
Likewise, just as it is in humans that deoxygenated blood is purified in the heart, so also it is with Nigeria. Our polity and power play of today should be purified, such that policies formulated should also be implemented to alleviate the obvious irregularities therefore expressed in administrative malpractice, public service, and private organizations as well. How this could be achieved is by conscious acceptance of imbibing green politics into the system where the resources available are used for veritable furtherance of people’s lives and at the same time not jeopardizing the future.