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Corruption perpetuates poverty and inequality

Anxiety grips the masses as vortex of corruption, poverty, unemployment, bad leadership, and inequality in the distribution of wealth ferment the restiveness and consequent violence that may eventually engulf the entire nation.

I strongly hope that President Buhari will be back stronger to continue to curb corruption and its vestiges in government.

Undoubtedly, corruption has ominous consequences in Nigeria. Nowhere is its direct effect more present than in anemic or regressing economic growth. Corruption’s multifaceted impacts on poverty and inequality in Nigeria could be visibly seen in both rural and urban centres where many citizens are living in depravity while those in power live in cupidity.

Furthermore, corruption has been a cog that is putting a screeching halt to the economic, social, and political development of Nigeria. Our country is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the world and everyone should not only be ashamed of that ranking, but also work diligently to turn this image around. Against this backdrop, it should not matter the ethnicity of the culprits, when the weight of justice bears on the perpetrators of corruption. In essence, no one should cry for or sympathise with those who steal public funds.

Also, in their study entitled, “Corruption and Poverty: A Review of Recent Literature,” Eric Chetwynd, Frances Chetwynd and Bertram Spector said, “Corruption in the public sector — the misuse of public office for private gain — is often viewed as exacerbating conditions of poverty (low income, poor health and education status, vulnerability to shocks and other characteristics) in countries already struggling with the strains of economic growth and democratic transition.

Alternatively, countries experiencing chronic poverty are seen as natural breeding grounds for systemic corruption due to social and income inequalities and perverse economic incentives.”

Though there is no direct link between corruption and poverty; in other words, corruption does not directly cause poverty based on studies, but corruption indirectly increases the level of poverty.

Again, corruption stifles economic growth by affecting both domestic and foreign investments, as well as infrastructural development and other governance factors.

Consequently, the phenomenon increases the incidences of poverty and inequality. Also, poor people suffer disproportionately from the reduced capacity of the government and weakened institutions to deliver services to the populace.

In a bifurcated economy like Nigeria, corruption has exacerbated the economic conditions of the masses. It has made it impossible to close the gap between the haves and have-nots, thereby creating the absence a true middleclass in the country.

Yes, corruption has been a cog in the wheel of social and economic development in Nigeria. Chief Jerry Ken Ike gave his perspective in our recent conversation on the issue. He opined: “Corruption has profound implications on any nation’s security.”

“No country is immune to corruption but what makes the difference is the extent and Nigerian corruption has reached epidemic conditions and appears to be beyond management.

“It has metastasized to every arm of the government, the executive, the legislative and even the Judicial and the worst thing that can happen to any nation is for the Judiciary and the police to be corrupt and that is the level Nigeria is right now.”

Chief Ken Ike continued, “The police and judiciary are normally the two machinery that are used to prosecute the culprits of corruption, but they have been seen to be the worst hit in terms of corruption in Nigeria.

We are now at the level where for monetary gains judges will pervert justice, the police will give or loan firearms to armed robbers, the Customs will knowingly clear a container filled with ammunition for an individual, our politicians will embezzle money earmarked for military procurement, the immigration will knowingly admit individuals without valid visas into the country, the public servant will accept money to perform services they are required by law to perform without charging people,  the teachers will accept money from students to pass them in the exams, the traders will willfully adulterate products they are selling to unsuspecting citizens. All the offences affect security of our great nation, Nigeria.”

In a similar view, Transparency Ethiopia (transparencyethiopia.org) argues, “The effect of corruption has many dimensions related to political, economic, social and environmental effects.”  In political sphere, corruption impedes democracy and the rule of law.” It further argues, “In a democratic system, public institutions and offices may lose their legitimacy when they misuse their power for private interest.”

However, Chief Ike’s perspective captured the tapestry of the most significant indelible problem facing Nigeria. In addition, those illustrations reflect the agitation of the masses that seethe in abject poverty while the leaders live in ill-gotten sumptuousness, thus creating a lasting inequality in the nation.

Well, as some people are amassing personal wealth through corruption, the masses continue to suffer in poverty—eking out a living with economic growth stalled, infrastructure dilapidated, and cultural values degenerated.

In the midst of depraved conditions, there are honest public servants that should be commended. Uplift them whenever and wherever you encounter them.

One such person is Senator Ike Ekweremadu who has been regular at Senate sessions where he pays attention to the business of the Upper Chamber. Dr. Ike Ekweremadu has used his position to create opportunities for a great number of people.

In education, construction of roads, rural electrification, as well as many other human-oriented projects, Dr. Ekweremadu has been a strong advocate for the people

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1 Comment

  1. Pita Terna Terna 9th February 2017 at 7:20 pm

    One of the reasons I opine causes corruption is the attitude of the same masses that suffers it. They stage protest against the investigation and bringing to book of the corrupt leaders and in most case it is from the masses that people who attempts to stand as prosecution witnesses are drawn from. I just experience a case where a witness relevant to a serious matter was attacked by the same masses he originated from just because he stood different from their celebration of corrupt leadership. No wonder Karl Marx held that corruption itself conceives the seed that destroys and I add that accountability also holds such seed, WHY?

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