WRITTEN BY EGBUNA AMUTA
Corruption, in all its ramifications, is undoubtedly the greatest bane of the Nigerian society today.
This is manifesting in unbridled quest for materialism. As a matter of fact, good conducts and decent behaviour have gone with the winds. Regrettably, many persons and institutions established to checkmate vices have joined the rat race for get rich quick syndrome.
For instance, recently, a video clip went viral, in which a supposed man of God is demanding one billion naira each from certain category of members of his church. The demand is, to say the least, an encouragement by the Pastor of some of his congregants who are in privileged positions of authority to dip their hands into public funds in order to pander to his selfish need.
It is equally sad that it does not matter any longer to many parents, guardians, traditional or cultural communities how stupendous wealth are suddenly acquired, and brazenly flaunted by young persons whose sources of income are, more often than not, shrouded in mystery. This is so, as long as such parents or guardians are selfishly benefiting materially from such filthy lucre.
Little wonder that unscrupulous persons are usually conferred with unmerited titles and honourary awards by some of our traditional rulers, religious and academic institutions. Worse still, there are communities in Nigeria whose royal fathers are well known men of doubtful characters.
Several government officials equally engage in graft on daily basis. This explains why our country is comparatively backward and grossly underdeveloped unlike her contemporaries in the 1960s such as India, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. These countries are today many years ahead of Nigeria in terms of development index.
The truth is that corruption is the root of Nigeria's underdevelopment. This is the main reason why our country lacks basic social amenities. And where they exist at all, they are terribly substandard or dilapidated. This also explains why there is massive unemployment in Nigeria, and most workers and retirees in the country are not regularly paid their salaries and entitlements, while retirees hardly receive their pensions and gratuities.
In order to find a way out of this quagmire, many Nigerians are today clamouring for restructuring. This is because it is believed that restructuring would not only engender patriotism but also significantly reduce official corruption in the country. An equitably restructured Nigeria would equally promote healthy competition among the various geopolitical regions of the country as was the case before the intervention of the military in 1966.
In the good old days of healthy socio-economic and political competition among the four regions of the country, the defunct Eastern region was adjudged by the World Bank as the fastest growing economy in Sub-Sahara Africa. In those glorious periods in Nigeria's history, the citizenry genuinely enjoyed unity in diversity, akin to what obtains in countries where genuine federal system of government are practiced.
Be that as it may, there is the urgent need for religious groups, traditional and academic institutions to make efforts to re-enact our cherished core values, as it used to be in the Nigeria's pre-1966 era. In those days our people were not known to be desperate for material things. They valued and enjoyed life, and believed in God's time for accomplishments of their personal goals.
This is contrary to what obtains nowadays when massive corruption has become the order of the day. Due to massive unemployment and enthronement of negative values, our young persons no longer see anything wrong in prostitution, ritual killings, human trafficking, modern day slavery in Arab countries and Europe as well as other vices and criminalities.
Thus, the real onus is on our Christian and Moslem leaders to be in the vanguard of the spiritual and physical struggle for Nigerians to begin to de-emphasize unbridled quest for materialism. They should demonstrate this by truly practicing what they preach.