Nigerian politics is a lesson in corruption and how corrupt politicians get ahead in the world. The political atmosphere in Nigeria is heated up to a point where people obviously can tell the system has no definite stance on the way forward.
It is a norm for Nigerian politicians to show humanitarian gestures, months before an election. Ordinarily, during their first term in office, they see the people who elected them as pawns. However, these politicians are aware of the votes of the people who they need to secure a second term in office. Regardless of the position being vied for, they do all they can to ensure “some fire-brigade approach to addressing issues affecting their geographic space,” months before the elections take place. A local government official will embark on an infrastructural project that has been lying fallow for years. He or she does it in a bid to secure a second term in office.
They sometimes take it a step further by gifting the locals money to buy their votes for a second term. They “convince” the people (loyalists and supporters mainly) with their manifestos which, in actuality, hold no water. They abscond with their manifestos when they secure the seat, leaving the people to their fate for the next several years.
Corruption is seen as a lifestyle. Most politicians in Nigeria are so corrupt to the point that they can get away with any corruption-related offense. The judicial system makes it easy for them to have their way. All that would be required is for the accused politician to pay a fine and the case is over. A simple Google search on “Nigeria” and “corruption” will underscore this point. An official at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board was accused of financial impropriety. His excuse was that a monkey stole the money. Internet fraudsters are given the green light to escape the hand of the law. All they need do is to pay less than a tenth of the amount stolen to the appropriate authority.
In fact, a former president was quoted as saying “stealing is not corruption.” That is the height of it all. Stealing isn’t corruption? I guess it’s a lifestyle, right? Most young Nigerians are subliminally working on that conviction. It is a general belief, acknowledged by Nigerians: “corruption flows through the blood of every Nigerian.”
Nigeria is one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world but over 57% of its citizens live below the poverty line. Nigerian senators are the highest paid in the world, but it is common to see most Nigerians surviving on less than a dollar a day. Nigeria produces food for international consumers, but food prices are almost out of reach for most Nigerians.
The corrupted image of today’s Nigeria has positioned the perceived “giant of Africa” as one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
Nigerians are unhappy with the poor image of their nation.
Chimezie Benedict Ihekuna is a published writer, poet, essayist, playwright, and spoken word artist. Chimezie is based in Lagos, Nigeria, and finds delight in reading, traveling, and meeting people.
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