Behind The Scenes: On Corruption

Chinwe Nlemoha Written by Chinwe Nlemoha · 2 min read >

Corruption is not just an act. It is not just on the surface, and it is way deeper than surface level. 

Description of Corruption 

I have heard arguments that corruption is a personal thing. I have a question, what makes it personal when it occurred between you and someone else? Or you and a group of people with different experiences and backgrounds? You see, it can no longer be personal. 

I checked the dictionary for the meaning of corruption and guess what I saw

Corruption: a dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers). This definition amused me because; I wondered why government officials or police officers were in the definition.

A corrupt act is that act that perverts justice and fairness. 

Why am I writing on this? 

During the week, we had an ethics class on questionable payments. As I sat in class, my mind started playing scenarios.

I thought of what could have happened to Nigeria if our leaders started off being honest and as moral agents.

I asked myself what could have happened if we paid taxes and the were used for the benefit of all. What could have been the state of Nigeria if pension was not extra source of income to the country? What could have happened if elections were never rigged in the first place? Can we imagine a Nigeria void of corruption?

You can already see some nice pictures, right?

I thought of the times I watched dear people make payments that were uncalled for in the name of bidding for contract. And of the times I had to question my actions, inactions or motives for my actions. I wondered if there was a thin line between gifts and bribes. 

My mind was still overwhelmed when my facilitator asked what I would call it if I won a contract and I gave 10% to the person that gave me contract. I honestly did not realize when I said thanksgiving offering. 

Now, I realize that this is how a lot of people see the bribes- as ‘thanksgiving offerings’. The truth is what was your actual motive in giving that offering?

We found out eventually! At the bidding of another contract, that offering you gave last year was to secure your position for this year.  

Consequences of Corruption 

These corrupt acts are not personal. They show how selfish humans can be.

I heard a case and it has happened not just 300 times.

A young boy with severe asthma was rushed to the hospital by his dad. The attendant explained a settlement fee for some employees in the hospital or his admission process would be delayed unnecessarily.

You can guess what played out. If he paid the money, his son would be attended to; if he did not, his son would wait for ‘due process’ (which could be the attendant gisting with some nurses, or the nurses having their 2nd lunch for the day, or the doctor on video call with his dog or another careless excuse) and the matter would get more complicated or he dies. 

Other Consequences of Corruption

In addition, where corruption is dominant, things will no longer be obtained on merit but on the basis of highest bidding. This discourages honest effort. After all, “If I can pay my way through, why should I work for it?”

Also, when corruption becomes prevalent, people will tend to mistrust the motives of others, especially of those in positions of power. Then, it becomes impossible to secure the willing cooperation of the public and the more difficult it becomes to govern the country. I mean, how many times have you happily parked your car when a police officer stopped you on the road?

Finally, corruption is like cancer, it spreads and grows larger and it corrupts the entire body. As corruption becomes the culture of the day, more people will embrace it as the way of life. “If we do not do this, we cannot get that”. This implies that only a few people will manage at the cost of great sacrifices and renunciations to remain untainted by it. 

With these few points of mine, can we have a look at our actions again? 

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