The Root Of All Evil...
Hello everyone, how are you all doing today? I hope the week has gone great so far for all of us. It has been a crazy week so far with pretty interesting topics indeed. And I will like to drop my take on the most recent one.
Of course, the term “Bribery and Corruption” is not a new one, especially not in my country. Since I was a child and able to grasp the happenings of things around me, I have always seen corruption. It was in the neighborhood, on television, in schools, on the roads… like literally everywhere I turned I saw people who were doing things they were clearly not supposed to do and every other person was just turning a blind eye.
Okay, first off, what is bribery?
It is simply the offering or receiving of a bribe. And a bribe is an item of value (it can be monetary or otherwise) that is given to influence the actions of an individual, especially someone in charge of a legal duty. Bribes are offered so that things could be made to move in favor of the giver.
And what is corruption?
These are actions that are dishonest or unjust and carried out by those in power. Most of the time, corruption is done just for personal gain.
All countries of the world suffer bribery and corruption, but for some, it is not as much when compared to others. And for my dear country Nigeria, we can be called the G.O.A.T of corruption.
It is so bad that corruption can be found at all levels of the government, and even among the layman. You will find it in the police stations, in hospitals, places of worship, courts, schools, sports, and what have you. Call any field at all and I will give you an instance when the power there have been abused at one time or the other.
When driving on Nigerian roads, you will pass multiple checkpoints. You will have to go through police checkpoints, LASTMA checkpoints, and sometimes even NDLEA checkpoints. In some states, you will pass the Army checkpoints as well.
What are these people looking for? Most of the time they are not after criminals or running investigations. And when they stop cars for routine checks they are not usually interested in your papers, but the money they would take from you. And because of this, a lot of people can go around with unregistered cars just because they know that if they are stopped they will use the money to settle it.
And not just that, if you have any reason to go to court and you need a clerk to pull out your case, many of them will not do anything until you give them some money. They will drag their feet, give silly excuses and postpone the entire thing. But the moment you produce money, your file will just seem to appear out of thin air. Sometimes I wonder, are these guys not paid salaries? Why do they take money from the government and still take money from innocent civilians as well?
The worst of them all is in the school, especially the higher institutions. Now lecturers and students do not even bother to hide the corruption. A lecturer can boldly stand in front of his class and demand bribes, without any fear of repercussion. And even if the lecturer does not do that, students can go on their own and offer it.
Students from poor backgrounds who have to rely on their parents for their upkeep, or have to work hard before they can even pay their school fees are at the mercy of these lecturers because with them, reading and being a good student are not enough. If you want to pass the exam and move on to the next level, you have to do the needful. And that always involves money changing hands. That is why you will see good and brilliant students performing poorly while the ones you had always felt were unserious would be making great grades.
Anyway, as you can see, I am focusing most of my post on the corruption that is around us, caused by our fellow civilians, not even the government because that one can take an entire post on its own. I am just trying to clarify just how people can extort money from others just because they have the power over them.
Because the lecturers know the students really need those grades, they will charge them for it. The clerks know you need those files and they will charge you for them. Even in banks and hospitals, if you are free with your money you can be made to cut lines and get attended to faster. Money opens doors faster than keys and crowbars.
That is how deeply this worm has eaten into the very fabric of our nation, so much so that even the leaders of tomorrow are already scheming how they will get into places of authority only to go and take their own share of the national cake. It is sick indeed.
So, how do we curb this?
Corruption is so vast and such a powerful force, and as long as there are humans alive with needs and wants, and as long as there are people who are willing to pay, corruption will never be eradicated. But thankfully, it can be reduced to the barest minimum.
And this can be done by becoming accountable. People in positions of power should be more vigilant of those underneath them to see who and who are abusing their power. In the schools, there should be stiff punishments for lecturers that engage in corruption, the same in courts, police stations, and the like… and these punishments should be publicized for better effect so that the shame of such a thing will live with them forever. And when others see something like this, most of them will think twice before choosing to go corrupt.
And for us the people, we should do our best to call out corrupt practices. Even though due to the situation of things, you might be forced to comply, especially if it involves the police, the court, or even the hospital, the moment you are done you can always air your story on social media.
Social media has become a great tool for calling out people for their actions, we see it every day how people will think they have gotten away with something only for them to go online and see their names everywhere.
Once these guys realize that we are beginning to hold them accountable, then they will be more careful when extorting money from people to do the things they have actually been paid to do. It is a sad reality indeed, but then it is what it is.
I hope that we all will be willing to play our own little part and do what it takes for us to reduce this corruption and become a country where everyone will bear the responsibility for his or her actions instead of having to pay their way out.
I can only hope.
Thank you for reading, till we meet in the next post.