However, none of these strategies and ideas … will matter if people aren’t inspired to take action to demand these things from the government. This is the only way.
Ever since the very First Republic, corruption has been the bane of every Nigerian government. One can make the case that corruption indirectly led the country to war and created a gaping wound that Nigeria has never managed to heal. Even those who waged war against indiscipline were found corrupt in the end. The Farouks dot the Nigerian landscape with their habitual dipping of sticky hands into the public coffers. It seems to have been the Nigerian way for a long time.
A little over a year ago, a survey on doing business in Nigeria was administered to 2,200 Nigerian businesses. The survey carried out by the National Bureau of Statistics with cooperation with other domestic agencies and major international partners, successfully singled out the most pressing “impediments to economic activity” in Nigeria, which not surprisingly turned out to be corruption.
I know this is where you roll your eyes and mutter something about why we would need the United Nations, DFID, and governmental agencies to find out what even young Nigerians knows already. The only way to right our steps is to find a sustainable end to systemic corruption. If we are unable to manage that, a slight reduction will go a long way.
The results of the above mentioned survey confirms all of the anecdotal knowledge about what it is that ails this country. For example “75% and 71% of businesspersons interviewed respectively expressed that crime and corruption represent very serious obstacles to doing business in Nigeria”. This we all know. Even more distressing is the fact that only 38% of the respondents believed the EFCC to be an honest agency.
It is noteworthy that the agency whose job is to prosecute corruption and deter future corruption is itself believed to be corrupt. In short, who will bell the cat?
The report also showed that 1 out of 3 enterprises had to pay a bribe to public officials when carrying out certain administrative procedures. Furthermore, companies that admitted to paying these bribes did so at least twice within a month. Almost 50% of the respondents paid bribes more than 4 times within the period. The average price of each bribe unit was estimated at US $400. Police personnel were alleged to have requested and received 58% of all bribes, followed by employees of PHCN and the Water Board at 39%, then the Revenue officials clocked in at 26% and finally Customs at 25%.
So what works?
There are many ways to climb a tree, and this column has been dedicated to bringing to the public’s attention many of the interesting strategies that have worked elsewhere and that might work in Nigeria.
The Freedom of Information Law allows the governed to pay attention to what its representatives do in its name.
Direct cash transfers to Nigerian households help the country to finally heal
itself of the resource curse.
Human development and human rights are other building blocks of the anti-corruption struggle. One cannot create demand for good governance without investing in the education, health, and rights of citizens.
Monetizing corruption by making assert forfeiture the center of the solely needed EFCC reform is another important strategy. Finally we must invest in the infrastructure of the country, roads, electricity, and better communication is a must.
However, none of these strategies and ideas I have written about since the conception of this column will matter if people aren’t inspired to take action to demand these things from the government. This is the only way.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.