Magu, corruption and weak value system

SIR: The current travails of Ibrahim Magu, at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), has no doubt, brought a momentary dent on the fight against corruption in the country.

Though, Magu remains innocent until the allegations against him are effectively proven, his suspension has brought a dark cloud on anti-corruption crusade in the country.

A former British prime minister once referred to Nigeria as “a fantastically corrupt nation”.  Angered, by this declaration, many came out to condemn the frank assessment of our country’s corruption status.

As if to further validate the truth about the nation’s corruption situation, the Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics’ recently reported that a total sum of N400 billion is spent on bribes each year since 2015!

It is rather sad that despite the hues and cries in the media by social critics and other stakeholders, the rate of corruption in Nigerian political circle is ever-increasing with the apparatus of government becoming an instrument for the enrichment of the political elite.

But then, how did corruption rise to become an integral part of our national life? Our rising corruption profile could be linked to the steady disintegration of moral values in our society.

Since the early 90s especially, moral value has nose-dived. Today, crooks and individuals with warped moral code are being celebrated across the country.

What is urgently required to redress the situation is a complete re-orientation that cuts across all spectrums of the society.

We need to change our value system as a people. We need to re-appraise our undue obsession with materialism and wealth accumulation.

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It is such mania that is partly responsible for the rot in our socio-political system. How come men of questionable characters and unproven integrity call the shot in our clime?

The answer is simple. Money has become our god. Sadly, religious centres are not excluded from this craze! Neither are traditional institutions.

Nowadays, people place curses on their relations for upholding integrity and honesty while holding public offices.

Until we re-order our priority as a people, we will continue to get it wrong. In the days of our founding fathers, men of ideas and principles were widely respected and honoured.

National heroes like Herbert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, and Aminu Kano among others did not rise to national prominence as a result of the fatness of their bank accounts.

Rather, they won the hearts of men of their generation because of the strength and depth of their ideas and principles as well as their total commitment to those ideals which they hold in high esteem.

Ken Saro Wiwa put his life on the line not for pecuniary gains or benefits. He died because of his commitment to the emancipation of his people.

One vital key to strengthening our value system is good governance. Governance is about providing sacrificial services to the people.

Nigerians are partly crazy about undue wealth acquisition because of the failure of successive governments to sincerely tackle their social-economic needs.

Imagine a Nigeria where public infrastructure works and where everyone irrespective of social status, can afford a decent living.

It is the inability of governments, over time, to meet these basic needs that is responsible, in part, for the craze for wealth at all cost among Nigerians.

For instance, everyone wants to provide for himself and his family the basic needs of life which ordinarily should be put in place by government.

This is the reason why the nation has become a jungle where everyone devises all sorts of survival strategies. After all, the end, as they say, justifies the means.

Nigerians must understand the corrosive effect of corruption. The trend of unbridled theft, greed, selfishness and illegal acquisition of wealth would lead us to nowhere.

We need to take a cue from nations where national resources are shrewdly used for the good of all.

We need a moral rebirth. It doesn’t matter where we are; we can get to where we ought to be if only we are determined to build a new nation.

We have the potentials. We have the resources. All we need is a strong resolve to get it right.

  • Tayo Ogunbiyi, Min. of Information & Strategy, Ikeja.

The Nation

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