The danger of our situation is that we all pay for this mess. A Nigerian is a suspect of crime anywhere until it is proven there was no crime in the first place or until proven innocent.
Everyone in Nigeria agrees corruption is a menace and a factor in our continued inability to rise above our collective national mediocrity – everyone save for President Jonathan who said corruption isn’t the problem. Many Nigerians believe nothing can be done about this sad reality, to many you either join them or become a victim. This is why I am very much impressed with the Integrity Organisation and their whistle blowing website www.egunje.info
I took time my time on the site yesterday and couldn’t help but imagine what could be achieved if their effort could get some mainstream support. On the site you find real reports from Nigerians on the many occasions they had been asked to pay bribes. The reports even come with the names of organisations and the individuals involved. I read reports from payments to the police to that of people asked to pay money to collect letters of employment that were ordinarily their right. We are not short of what to do to curb corruption, what to do are just only short of support. Corruption thrives here because its incentives are increasingly on the increase. Every passing day in Nigeria, you get to see that it actually pays to be corrupt. Societies function and are guided by incentives and disincentives. Corruption is on the increase in Nigeria because there are no disincentives against corruption. The bigger you steal the more your chances of going scot-free. You need not run anti-corruption campaigns and white elephant projects like that with the intention to curb corruption. You cannot continue to sow and nurture seeds of evil and expect that they yield fruits of good. The Egunje Info site I realized would go a long way in being a form of disincentive for corruption in Nigeria but that can only happen if Nigerians know about it. If it becomes popular, it then becomes a place you don’t want your name or company posted as being guilty of receiving or paying bribes.
Our country being what it is, efforts like these will rather than get supported actually get shot at. We pretend to hate an ill yet are part and parcel of its growth. We complain about rich people without any history of work behind closed doors but we praise them as soon as they appear on the scene. We hate corruption but we love it when we experience its lure and bliss.
The danger of our situation is that we all pay for this mess. A Nigerian is a suspect of crime anywhere until it is proven there was no crime in the first place or until proven innocent. Our passport has become the symbol for fraud and shame. We don’t mind as long as we can escape the poverty here and get a good enough abode abroad. We need to be better; we need to live above this base level of human existence. We have to understand that we have a country to build and building it is in our hands. It is in the choices and efforts we make today. We cannot just expect the ills of our society to go by just talking about them. We have to get involved. This is why it is important for us to support this project. I’d expect the major blogs to share links to these stories of bribery reports so that we can shame and tell. If anyone reports a bribery and corruption case to you, I believe in the power of www.egunje.info to make change happen than I do in the police. It is funny how even the police are a major feature in the reports already submitted here. We need to blow the whistle of corruption in our midst or we watch our country finally get grounded under the weight of corruption. I should say ”God forbid!” but this is ours to do not God’s.
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