Corruption across Africa is causing a lot of damage to the people. Corruption has been identified as a major challenge in Africa and we see it worsening despite the promises made by the government. Why do we see so much corruption and lack of human capital development across Africa? Is corruption rooted in the African culture? Why is Africa finding it difficult to get it right despite the cries of its people?
The major problem Africa is facing today is the absence of good leadership. If we look across Africa we can barely see any country with exceptional leadership. Going through most global human development indicators, you will note that African countries tend to rank at the bottom.
Let us briefly evaluate Nigeria and its upcoming 2023 elections. However, let’s first look at the definition of corruption. According to Wikipedia, Corruption is an antisocial attitude awarding improper privileges contrary to legal and moral norms, impairing the authorities' capacity to secure the welfare of all citizens.
Corruption in Nigeria has become a constant phenomenon. In 2012, it was estimated that Nigeria had lost over $400 billion to corruption since its independence in 1960. In 2021, the country ranked 154th among the 180 countries listed in Transparency International's Corruption Index. Nigeria has failed to change this narrative despite the empty promises made by various political leaders in the past. However, most Nigerians appear to be hopeful that the 2023 elections will bring some progress. Even so, I doubt we will see any change, given the way the political aspirants are displaying and sharing huge amounts of money to delegates just to be the party flag bearer for any elective office, with no one being questioned about the source of the monies being shared.
As we write this the Accountant General of the Federation is being accused of corruption to the tune of a whopping N80 billion and perhaps even more. And to top it off, his replacement, to act in his place while the investigations start, is himself also being accused of massive corruption. And the country is notorious with bad roads, lack of proper education, poor hospitals, unemployment and underemployment. Nigerian politicians simply secure themselves in strong positions of power and wealth with stolen funds and their connections with the oil and gas industries in the country. Corruption runs through every level of the Nigerian government, from considerable contract fraud at the top, through petty bribery, money laundering schemes to embezzlement. It is estimated that corruption within the state apparatus costs the country billions of dollars every year and little or no effort is put in place to stop it.
Nigerians have to think and strategize to get a good leader this time. Every eligible voter needs to get a Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and get ready to vote. If we don’t elect the right leader, the one that has the interest of the people at hand, then we will surely not see any change in our fortunes any time soon. The next elected president must consider human capital development as a priority. We must be intentional about the production of goods and services and not just the sharing of oil proceeds. This is how we will create jobs and bring about development to our great nation.
Contributed by: Salama Tanko