The people as major encouragers of financial corruption in Nigeria
By Hashim Suleiman
Dear fellow Nigerians, I write today to bring some insights into something that has become a sort of a phenomenon in our society which is financial corruption. I have over 12 years working experience today and it inter-switched between the private and public sectors and then there are the family, friends and acquaintances on another hand.
The experience in its entirety afforded me an opportunity to study and understand the major reasons why people crave for extra incomes at all cost because everyday of my life is a research to me.
What my research showcased clearly is how the generality of the Nigerian people and their mindset is corruption focused and that’s why for example even those who voted for Buhari on the mantra of change and anti-corruption still bug people working in the civil service or companies for financial assistance, the type that can only come through extra income and not statutory income. Such leaves one wondering if they ever understood what the anti corruption mantra meant or if the rent seeking attitude has simply become an attitude and way of life, whichever one leaves the situation every worrisome to say the least.
When you make visitations or you meet people and there is an introduction, the next question will most likely be where you work in order that you can be appropriately sized into what you can offer or should possess. This sort of inquisition and mind torture is more than enough to pressure someone into thinking of extra incomes at whatever cost. Such kinds of inquisitions have since even become the norm as far as courting a spouse is concerned. The parents require to know which of the government agencies or private companies you work for so they can appropriate their expectations.
To be fair to this topic, you would notice that such attitude or mindset concerns all the classes of the individuals in the society. Even those at the lowest end of the ladder exhibit such like in the case of a driver in the state house having more prestige than a driver of ministry of works even though their civil salary scale is the same. I met a woman who was apparently trying to let me know the suitor of her daughter does commercial motorcycling in Portharcourt and that in her mind means added financial capabilities. But I said in my mind that if the person could understand the viability of agriculture in his own region of the north, he would make much more than he’s getting from Portharcourt riding motorcycle but then the whole rent seeking attitude has become endemic to allow any room for critical thinking and long term planning.
The matter is daily becoming worse where young men who make legitimate earnings now find it hard to enjoy the proceeds simply because people around will perceive that there is so much wealth and demands that are over the incomes begin to pop in and refusal to grant them pitches you against them. You can understand how difficult it can be. You don’t have right to wear a nice shirt or shoes from your legitimate earning without it been related to having so much money that you must give out.
The elites also exhibit such kinds of mentality albeit in a different format. People who have held positions of influence and misused it now become aggrieved when someone else has assumed power and is doing more or less than them. If you check the true anger you’ll find it around loosing out from making proceeds and incomes. Aides, subordinates and political party members put so much pressure that is capable of forcing one into cutting corners to make money to satisfy such requests. Political party positions are sold to highest bidders, sometimes even political appointments. Why would any politician not seek for the maximum amassment they can get.
The average politician has pressures from the system, the public and family. This is what makes them seek for endless power because it’s the only way to sustainability. It is also the reason why they easily get bankrupt when not in power.
At the lower level, the reason I figured out for the exhibition of such rent seeking attitude is simply laziness. They don’t believe they can make it themselves through belief and hard work. This is what makes them feel looking good must mean so much money as against understanding it from the point of it being alright to enjoy the proceeds of hard work. People need to know for example that you need to work very hard in the farm before you could get good harvests and subsequently make money out of. People can’t continue to rely on sitting at home while someone who works hard provides. This is not underplaying the importance of philanthropy, however it should be given at will and to the most vulnerable whose situations are considerably demanding for help.
Furthermore, there was a need for everyone to appreciate the saying that ‘fingers are not equal’ and appreciate their level per time. We are good at making comparisons with developed lands and even in those places there are poor or less privileged people. It is not crime to own up to your level and fall in love with it. There has to be passion and love for what we do be it security man or cleaner, genuine diligence could attract progression.
As for the elites, it’s understandably a difficult one for them owing to these mentalities and pressures but they have to summon the courage to see how to formulate policies that could bridge the gap between rent seeking and pride in hard work and contentment. This looks more like a mental reorientation and we must take it very seriously.
All is well that ends well, they say.
God bless Nigeria.
Hashim Suleiman @oneheartnaija