Corruption in Nigeria wears many kinds of unattractive and dirty clothes. As a matter of fact, the average Nigerian believes that elections cannot be won except it is rigged.
Nigerian leaders are the architects of electoral frauds, tuggery and other electoral malpractices. In Nigeria, politics and corruption are identical concepts that have eaten deep into the fabrics of the society. Starting from the colonial era of Nigeria, corruption has made steady and seemingly unstoppable progress up to the present. Over the years, the vast majority of Nigerians have learnt and experimented on corruption.
Corruption, therefore seems to have become part of the daily life of Nigerians. This is so because the situation most Nigerians find themselves today makes corruption easy and it is only when good and responsible governance prevails that corruption will recede.
Nigeria as a country has no visionary leaders, what we have had and still have is at best a class of mediocre leaders, a self serving clique, a class that is determined to ruin this country, political Lilliputians, men and women who have never been interested in working for any meaningful development of this country.
They are a mischievous band of self-seeking opportunists whose only interest is to feather their nests, a political class that is only interested in what it can get from the common pot and none thinks of what s(he) can put back into it. Therefore, we have men and women who are too willing to grab the splendour of office but rebuff the sacrifice of leadership. In his widely acclaimed book, The Trouble with Nigeria, Professor Chinua Achebe in a whole chapter on corruption boldly proclaimed his frank and honest opinion is that “anybody who can say that corruption in Nigeria has not become alarming is either a fool, a crook or else does not live in this country” (Achebe).
Nigeria has all it needs to be better than what it is, and the problem with Nigeria is not a problem of geography or any other cosmological or topographical deficiency, but a problem of leadership, how to channel its resources and manpower for the good of all. Nigeria is continuously in need of a radical programme of social and economic re-organization or at least a well-conceived and consistent agenda of reform. When two Nigerians meet, their conversation will sooner or later slide into a litany of the nation’s deficiencies.
Every time a corrupt leader is apprehended, the story changes and he assumes a victorious status to the extent of nursing the ambition of becoming a political leader, to lead a constituency, state or even the nation at large. Today the thick cloud of corruption has covered every aspect of our national life to our dismay and confusion.
In Nigeria today, it is almost impossible to find a politician with clean hands, it is either he is smartly avoiding whistleblowers or in control of the whistle. Our politicians continue to engage themselves in the unconscionable looting of the nation’s treasury; they simply embark on a self-serving mission of fleshing out what meat was left on the bones of a nation whose body was already festering.
As lamented by Reuben Abati, “Nigeria is the only country where criminals become kings; where idlers and corrupt elements are lumped together with the innocent and awarded nation honours; where crooks are called princes; where history is perpetually revisionist” Today, corruption is widespread, systematic, endemic, widely condemned and yet sometimes justified in Nigeria.
Today, there cannot be any free and fair elections in the country; the sitting president determines who succeeds him, if he chooses to leave the state house.