Prisoners Of Corruption | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Columnists, Uncle Sam's VOICE

Prisoners Of Corruption

Posted: Feb 4, 2016 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sam Kargbo
This is an introductory chapter to a rather extensive contribution to the debate on the consequences of official or state corruption. At the core of this effort is the belief that though it may not be our civic duty to fight corruption, our understanding of the devastating, catastrophic consequences of the infection may, if anything, contribute towards its diminution.

It may not be entirely wrong to say that Nigeria has come a long way in the fight against corruption. We started out by equating economic corruption to bribery, thereby making the words ‘bribery’ and ‘corruption’ look like Siamese twins. This narrow conception of corruption also sees it as an evil alliance between the givers (usually private individuals) and the takers (usually government officials – in the executive, legislative and judicial arms). We have since got better. The Dasukigate has, for one thing, shown us how corruption relates to our impoverishment.We now have an idea of the mechanics and schemes Government functionaries employ to loot and divert public funds. We are beginning to see how corruption undermines the country, how it disrupts and stunts economic growth, and exposes the nation to the calamitous effects of the inability to respond effectively to the realities of a broke world. In sum, we now know how corruption weakens public institutions and erodes the capacity of governance to stimulate – or act as a catalyst – for development.

Rightly and thankfully, both in our small clusters and communities, Nigerians are beginning to interrogate corruption and analyze its repercussions,as manifested in embarrassing revelations, like the Dasukigate and many other chilling, frightful outcomes.We are now being practically educated on how corruption erodes the principles of efficient administration. Revelations like the diversion of money meant to fight insurgency into private pockets are clear adumbrations of research findings that conclude that corruption is a major threat to stability and democracy, eroding the fundamentals of the state.With the oil prices reaching rock bottom, the infernal consequences of the resources of the country being diverted to illicit channels should awaken us to the reality that corruption is the most deadly threat to our socio-economic development and quest to build a self-sustaining nation state.
It is in this spirit that one wishes to address those among us who are not enamoured and supportive of this administration’s effort to bring known actors of corruption to justice, cut off the supply lines for corruption, and dismantle the seeming impregnable corruption machinery entrenched within the civil service structures. One had wished that the anti-corruption song would have, by now, been resonating in our homes, communities, clubs, associations, religious houses, schools, public places and offices. I had wished that we would see the anti-corruption war as a war to gain economic freedom and free our country’s economy from rapists and marauders.

Sadly, there are many out there who do not see any sense in the anti-corruption war, the most painful part of which is the fact that many of those with such conniving or ignorant minds are victims just like the rest of us.Class or status notwithstanding, these people cannot relate the hard times facing them to corruption. Worse still, even when they do, they rationalize corruption, and, barring their fangs, attack those who are fighting the cankerworm. The question then is why are people so clingy and innately supportive of corruption? Of course, there is no foolproof answer to this nagging question. Many of us may, unfortunately, be born into corruption;but none of us is born corrupt. On the flip side, corruption may have corrupted us and become so ingrained in our social fabric that we have accepted it as a way of life. That may explain why some of us ascribe smartness and heroism to it.

It may also be useful to note that some Nigerians will require a considerable amount of education to purge them of the belief that some people are superior to them and,so, deserve an exclusive right to the resources and wealth of the nation. This category of people will hardly see any sense in making public officers account for the common wealth in their possession. Some scholars have even concluded that there are still people across societies in the world who see public officials as soldiers of fortune who, like Robin Hood, should rob the state and bring home the loot to them. These are people who are dependent-minded and whose core prayer, from dawn to dusk, is for God to bless and protect their Robin Hoods or benefactors. They do not have minds of their own, and their self-worth is zero. These are the people who will kill you for daring to challenge their gods, or, worse still, call their heroes names. This category of people can hardly be helped. Sadly, every society has them. Some people say that they are a permanent reality. We must therefore live or cope with them.

The category of people that should be of more concern to us, by my estimation, are those who consciously submit to the perversity and depravity of corruption. These people get the kicks and are thrilled by those who deflect from morality, honesty and duty. These moral aberrations are the real prisoners of corruption. The relationship of this category of people and corruption is that of BDSM –a term for behavioral relationships that include bondage and discipline(B&D);dominant and submissive (D/s);and sadism and masochism or sadomasochism(S&M).They surrender themselves absolutely to corruption and, in return,get their orgasm from the pain that corruption inflicts on them. This corruption-controlled and corruption-driven elements are today the most vocal polemical warriors of corruption. They always have justifications for corruption. I shall endeavour to engage these sadistic elements in the plenary debate.