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Author Topic: Condonning Corruption  (Read 791 times)

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Condonning Corruption
« on: Apr 17, 2013 »
I find the article below worth sharing even though i differ a bit on some of the perceptions of the writer:

'Everyone in the country today is talking about how unbridled corruption has ruined the nation. But what I think is actually taking place is a celebration of the same vice at every opportunity. It sounds like an institutional hypocrisy whenever the government makes statements indicating an official disposition to confront the demon of corruption that is ravaging the moral fabrics of the Nigerian society. How do we explain, let alone, justify the phenomenon wherein someone who we all saw in the morning without a dime in his pocket suddenly returns home in the evening a multi-millionaire and the family, the community and the state will not ask him questions about the “miracle” affluence.

Last week, nearly all the mass media in the country reported that a top General was almost swindled the sum of N300m in the supposedly ‘cashless Lagos.’ Typically, they failed to disclose the name of the serving army officer who is so rich that he was almost defrauded of such a stupendous sum. The next question should have been: how did he come about such money?

Let’s assume that the General in question is the real “Oga at the top,” it would still be necessary to ask him of the source(s) of so much money. We all know that it is impossible for a serving military officer (be he a Field Marshal) to have amassed so much cash even if he has never spent a dime of his salaries and other legitimate emoluments since enlistment.

In sane societies, the law enforcement agencies would have since been asking how he came about such money. Of course, the taxman would have been knocking at his door seeking to know how much of the lot (loot?) was paid to the society by way of tax. Because this is a miracle economy where anything goes, nobody is going to ask any question in the face of such a glaring mismatch between possible legitimate income and the wealth-in-hand. That explains, for example, why nobody queried the heartless pension fund thieves as they carted away billions of other people’s naira: Not their banks, not their churches, not their families, not the taxman or the police.

People loot the nation and then go to their churches to give testimonies of “what God has done” and the congregation in apparent endorsement chorus: “Hallelujah!” Traditional rulers call them for chieftaincy conferment; equally, fraudulent awards-distributing agencies, both official and private, enthusiastically join in the fray to ‘recognise’ the new rich men in town while the government gives its own final seal to the whole aberration with national awards.

It is really questionable if the society, taking a cue from the churches and the government, is not actively promoting corruption and its associated criminalities by the way it acquiesces to sudden and unexplained affluence. There are many ways to earn good money. It could be from paid employment, business, inheritance, gift or a lottery haul. Of course, more money could also be made (not earned) by heist, robbery and fraud. While the first set of sources are generally legitimate and therefore encouraged and promoted by all decent societies, the other set of sources are strictly forbidden and punishable. Our economy is unduly distorted by corruption as legitimate incomes are made valueless by illegitimate ones: bad money drives away good money, they say.

Unfortunately, the universal code of good behaviour is ignored in Nigeria by all those whose duty it is to enforce same, including religious institutions and the community at large. It would seem as if the operative code of conduct is that which promotes the belief that the “end justifies the means.” This abominable state of affair is made possible by the massive corrosion of societal values by an unethical elite class that has subverted the socio-political process to gain power and, naturally, brought with them a behavioural trait that suited their otherwise low station in life and since it is natural for people to look up to their “elite”, it became the reality that misfits and ill-prepared individuals became the ruling class which then imposed their base culture on everyone below.

The beginning of this moral slide is generally traceable to the unfortunate intervention of the military in the politics of Nigeria which made it possible for erstwhile bodyguards to kill and replace their masters in office as the new helmsmen. Under the new order, anything was possible: powerless today, very powerful tomorrow; poor today, a rich big man tomorrow all with no questions asked. It was a revolution of sorts.

It was also the era in which prophets and pastors who were ex-communicated from the established churches for sundry sins broke away and dispersed to form their own churches, more like businesses than religion, decorated themselves with high ecumenical titles like archbishops, overseers and other bogus names.

Rather than preach about salvation, they opted to harp on prosperity and affluence to congregations already gripped with acute poverty and misery and, naturally, their message hit its target and the churches proliferated while sins blossomed. These were not the pastors that would preach against corruption because their own doctrines were also based largely on corruption and falsehood. Thieves and murderers rush to their ‘fellowships’ to give offerings and in exchange sought spiritual cover for their sins. Everything but righteousness became acceptable!

Whereas it was the expectation of Aristotle and other men of wisdom that only educated (not necessarily with degrees) and cultured people should lead society under his general pontification of the ‘Philosophy King,’ it however became the case that leadership recruitment in Nigeria for a very long time was restricted to coupists and their cronies. That was why before MKO Abiola of blessed memory won a presidential election in 1993, no previous Nigerian leader was formally educated beyond the ordinary level when Ghana already had an Nkrumah with a solid CV while Leopold Senghor, the philosopher, held sway in Senegal, etc.

It became impossible to tell the people that honesty pays when fraudsters, coupists and other felons constituted the ruling class. By whatever means possible, others also want to get to the top and join in the fray, more so, as they couldn’t beat them, and the easiest route, it turned out, is fraud and criminality and that is what has given character to the Nigeria of today where you dare not ask anyone the source of his wealth.'

Best regards,

Aare MacFally

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Nigeria Does Note Have a Problem with Corruption
« Reply #1 on: Apr 22, 2013 »

“Nigeria does have a problem with corruption…” Okonjo-Iweala on Amanpour (Read transcript)
On April 18, 2013 · In News, Top Stories
11:24 am
On Tuesday, 16th April,  2013,  Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour , CNN’s chief international correspondent and anchor of Amanpour, a nightly foreign affairs program on CNN International.
Please find the transcript below.
AMANPOUR – Introducing the interview segment
Welcome back to the program. Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, is full of promise. But fulfilling that promise is sometimes a struggle. Plagued by corruption and mismanagement, the resource-rich country has a poverty rate of over 50 percent. Maternal mortality is shockingly high. And more than half of Nigerians don’t have access to electricity.
Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, can’t even escape the power problem himself. Here he is on Easter Sunday, delivering a speech to his people only to have it disrupted by a blackout. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says that she and her president want more for the country. She’s Nigeria’s finance minister and she’s been lauded as just the kind of reformer that Nigeria needs. She was a runner-up to lead the World Bank and “Forbes” ranked her as one of the world’s most powerful women.
But even she isn’t immune from Nigeria’s problems. Her own mother was kidnapped for a terrifying five days before being released. I spoke to her and I asked her about her country’s uphill struggle to transform Nigeria’s resources into a better life for all the people. We talked when she was here in New York for the Women in the World Summit.
And as you watch, we look forward to your tweets using #amanpour.
AMANPOUR: Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, welcome to the program.
NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA:  Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR:  Great to have you.
AMANPOUR: Nigeria is a huge and important country. We have many, many viewers from Nigeria, always very active and very interested. So it’s great to have you here.
AMANPOUR: You have said and others have said, that 2013 is going to be a real game-changing year, a turning point year for Nigeria, particularly in your area of finance and economics.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Well, it’s going to be a game-changer and a turning point, because this is the year we are going to produce results. And we’re already producing results within the administration.
First, on the economic side, I just want to say that macroeconomic stability has been restored. Now, nobody should minimize that. Remember, there were two lost decades in Africa, in the ’80s and ’90s, where there was so much macro instability that people could not even focus on sectors that could create jobs.
Now things have gone right. We’ve got growth that is at 6.5 percent last year and we’re projecting for 2013, also, around the same number compared to average 5 percent on the African continent.
Now, I just want to say that when you mention GDP growth, people immediately say we can — in my country, they say we can’t eat growth; because we have unemployment challenges, we need to create more jobs. We have a challenge of inclusion. We have problems of inequality.
All those are challenges we face.
AMANPOUR: You are obviously a passionate defender of your country. You are a person who calls for transparency and honesty and best practices. There is a huge problem with corruption in your country. The president promised to address this stuff. And the latest is that an ally of his, a former governor who was convicted of stealing millions of dollars, has been pardoned, embezzling $55 million in public funds. Now, the U.S. calls that a setback for the fight against corruption. I mean how do you answer that?
Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
OKONJO-IWEALA: How do I answer that question? OK, listen to what I have to say on corruption. And I think I have quite a bit to say. I wrote a book recently where I also had a whole chapter on that issue called, “Reforming the Unreformable.”
Nigeria does have a problem with corruption. And so do many other countries, including developed countries. I don’t like the fact that when people mention the name Nigeria, the next thing they say is corruption.
This is a country of 170 million people; 99.9 percent of them are honest, hard-working citizens who just want to get on with their lives and they want a government that delivers for them.
What we’ve said is that in order to help block any leakages and help to, you know, stop any attempts at corruption or taking monies, we must build electronic platforms. We must distance people from the money.
These things were recommended by the World Bank and the IMF. I used to work at the World Bank. We are doing them.
And I strongly believe that we lack institutions. We lack processes.
Now, what President Goodluck Jonathan has done now is to call the judiciary, the legislature and the executive arm for the first time to meet together on this issue and say, this is not just about government, this is about all of us coming together, because even if you catch somebody, they go to the courts and they are let off lightly.
The president can’t do anything about that. The judicial system also has to be strengthened.
Legislators also have to crack down. They themselves have to work at also being transparent and helping the executive.
But for me, also, in addition to doing that, we need to stop talking and identify the specifics, like you mentioned oil leakages. Let me mention two things quickly.
The first one is the oil theft that is 150,000 barrels a day –
AMANPOUR: Which is huge.
OKONJO-IWEALA: — a month — which is huge. Yes. I admit that. And we can’t afford — I’ll tell you; my thesis on corruption is we are still a poor country. We cannot afford any leakage.
We also need the international community to weigh in. We have — Mexico and Nigeria are suffering from this problem, you can check. Mexico has (inaudible) losing 25,000 barrels a day. And they found (inaudible).
In our case, we have international people who also buy that stolen oil. We need them to treat this stolen oil like stolen diamonds, the blood diamonds. Make it blood oil. Help us so that those people don’t have a market to sell this stuff.
That’s one. And we ourselves should commit to fighting — and we are fighting that.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about that, because you also have challenges with electricity. You mentioned you’re very rich in oil and people just simply don’t understand why there still seem to be so many problems with electricity.
And it might seem, you know, weird to pick on that one thing, but it is very prevalent. I asked your president about this during an interview I did by satellite when he was at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Let’s just see what he had to say to me.
*video clip*
GOODLUCK JONATHAN, PREISDENT OF NIGERIA: That is one area that Nigerians are quite pleased with the government, that’s a commitment to improve power. It’s working. So if you are saying something different, I’m really surprised. That is one area, one area that we will — civil society members agree that government has kept faith with its promise.
*end of video clip*
AMANPOUR: Now, that interview caused a bit of a hullabaloo, as I think you know, in Nigeria. And yet, the World Bank has said that half — more than half the Nigerian population doesn’t have any access to the power grid.
OKONJO-IWEALA: As you know, Nigeria became a democracy again when President Obasanjo came into power in 1999. Two decades prior to that, there was hardly any investment in electricity. If you’ve neglected a sector for that long, you’ve not invested, you’ve not even maintained your basic facilities, it’s not going to happen that fast. It takes time. That month, when you interviewed the president, the polls showed, independently, scientifically (inaudible) that they are in technical partnership with dialogue. That 54 percent of Nigerians felt there was some improvement. They do it monthly. Now this month, they’ve surveyed and they’ve showed this going down, because 800 megawatts has been taken off the grid, which is while they are maintaining the grid.
AMANPOUR: Well, let me ask you, because businesses apparently say that this problem with electricity is causing them to, you know, be reluctant to invest.
*cross talk*
AMANPOUR: They need this investment…
OKONJO-IWEALA: Nigeria is not the only country. Almost every developing country has a problem with power, as you know. India has it. South Africa has it. South Africa is far better off because they’ve invested much more.
But many developing countries, even China, they are struggling with keeping up with infrastructure.
Now, what we are doing in Nigeria? We have accepted that the government is not the best place to run the power sector, that if we want this country and this economy to do better, we just have to get out. And Nigeria is pursuing one of the most sweeping privatization programs in any country in the world. We are selling off everything. The generation capacity, the distribution capacity in the country, government is only retaining one thing — transmission.
AMANPOUR: Well, on that note, Madam Minister, thank you for joining me.
OKONJO-IWEALA: Thank you, Christiane, for having me.
You can also watch video of the interview here
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Re: Condonning Corruption
« Reply #2 on: Apr 27, 2013 »
I believe It is within the power of every Nigerian to chose not to be bad. Even if we as individuals cannot change this system of things in the government, Deciding to be good and show love and fairness in our own lives and our own affairs is the next best thing to do.

The fundamental values of goodness, love, truthfulness and fairness are what we promote in NG2G. Let each member of this forum become a true image of a Nigerian role model. Let us live, act and propagate the change that we all talk about.

And maybe one day things in Nigeria will change for the better by the Grace of God.

But until then and with the Power of God, we shall keep Raising up very good people from a truly great nation.
Leave it for God, don't worry yourself. Leave it for God, don't cry no more.

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Re: Condonning Corruption
« Reply #3 on: Apr 29, 2013 »
I just feel like crying, everything i pray and wish the Nation to be seems to be only in my dreams, when shall this dreams come to reality? If you believe in the transformation agenda of Nigeria, join NG2G in the fight to raise true, transparent and honest people and make effort to be that too.
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