ZERO TOLERANCE FOR CORRUPTION, A CHANGE NO ONE CAN STOP!
By Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran
I observed with utter amazement how values or moral code were being thrown to the trash bin in the society; sometime this writer is culpable, though only in his unconscious state but he quickly checks himself while expunging every potential seed that erupts in the process. Value system is that which all decent people live by; it is that which is acceptable by the society as the standard by which individual behaviour is considered acceptable or bad. Value is as important to the sanity of human society as air is to mankind. Societies with sound value system over the years have blossomed because of it.
A Chinese Emperor renowned for his enviable stand for societal value once said, “in making judgments, the early kings were perfect, because they made moral principles the starting point of all their undertakings and the root of everything that was beneficial.” This principle, however, is something that persons of mediocre intellect never grasp. Not grasping it, they lack awareness, and lacking awareness, they pursue profit. But while they pursue profit, it is absolutely impossible for them to be certain of attaining it.
It is a common knowledge in this stead that providence bequeaths us all things marvellous except forthright leadership. However, bad leadership has brought us unquantifiable retrogression as a nation since independence. It is so because the crop of leaders that has traversed this terrain since independence was not wholly given to values the society was built on. I was petrified sometimes ago, when I read one of the statements credited to two avowed leaders of Nigeria in ‘The Image of Africa’ by Chinua Achebe, as I research the subject at hand. I couldn’t but ask myself, where then is the place of value in our society? No wonder they were encumbered with such a mountain they didn’t have a clue to unravel them. Corruption is pervasive and increasingly intractable because the dignity of labour has been terribly slapped in the face.
Hard work used to be a virtue when corresponding benefit was merit based. During this time Nigeria
was the darling of nations; this was so because a set of principles were given the utmost precedence; the nation cruised on height only visionary leaders whose supreme focus on values could not be compromised for frivolities, apparently that is not the case among the current league of leaders. It is appalling how societal value has been kicked in the butt all for unruly zeal to amass wealth. It is not unusual to see individual who ordinarily ought to be incarcerated walk the streets free and their praises interrupt our irenic atmosphere. The many evil this has succeeded in achieving is that it brings into disrepute virtue of hard work. The younger generation no longer see hard work as virtue to possess
Apparently, we all know something is wrong with this society; many tongues had wagged in condemnation of the copious vices but how many of those persons have taken determined stand to stem off the presumed evil? Rather, you hear them make a cowardly pass: ‘if you can’t beat them you join them.’ We have lost the chaste sense of social justice. Now I remembered Vaclav Havel, an ardent right activist and former president of Czech Republic, he once wrote, “…without commonly shared and entrenched moral values and obligations, neither law, nor democratic government, not even the market economy will function properly…” But I cannot agree more. Nothing seems to work in this country; it is not because we lack brilliant ideas but because we have muffled up priority in the scheme of things. I was with a friend few days ago brooding on critical issues affecting our society, she told me, ‘intellectual poverty renders all the potentials of our society useless,’ her argument was that, ‘those potentials cannot be put to effective utilization until we mature mentally, until our knowledge vindicates us of musty behaviours; until then we won’t get anything right.’ However, much as I wanted to disagree, Vaclav Havel’s words prevailed on me. No matter how priceless your knowledge could be, it amount to nothing when core values are alienated from your endeavour.
As part of the reconstruction modules for a better Nigeria, we must as a matter of urgency go back to our core values. Did you ask how? The family is the smallest unit of every society; if any meaningful value reorientation must succeed in this nation, it must begin from the home front. Parents must gird their loins to instil core values into their wards. Parents were heavily indicted for the erosion in value system in this society; an elderly man who opted for anonymity held them culpable for most of the maladies experienced today; ‘…I remembered when we were growing up in the late ‘40s, if anyone of us mistakenly brought home materials that were not ours, the penalty for that was grave. Apart from that, my mother would sit us down to explain why it was bad to bring other children’s materials home without permission; that’s if it was essentially important. However, she would emphasise contentment as a great virtue for all. From childhood, children should be taught that alliance and adherence to values and ethics that define us are the ultimate keys to a successful life.
You cannot give what you don’t have, likewise you cannot teach what you don’t know or do not believe to be right. School curriculum should be upgraded and regularly appraised to make sure it meets the dynamic nature of our society and the world at large. Furthermore, our teachers have more work to do. They are the second role models of the younger ones aside their parents; they must inspire, uphold values in high esteem and most important walk the talk.
How opprobrious could it have been, to see debilitating corruption in full thrust of our national policy? What message is the government passing to its citizenry? The smallest child in the society, no longer sees corruption as abnormal, because they could read from the news, Internet and social media how their leaders loot the government treasury, yet they are at large without swimming in the cob web of law. Corruption and corrupt tendencies must be stamped out of our national psyche. We must enthrone zero tolerance for corruption. ‘It is a change no one can stop,’ according to another friend of mine. This will restore masses’ confidence and reduce the endemic virus to the barest minimum. Once this is done, people will automatically and subconsciously return to the values we hold dear. Our reward process must be reappraised, excellence should be well rewarded; merit in place of mediocrity, appreciating good deeds. We must be aware that performance-based society will engender the spirit of patriotism among Nigerians.
Dear readers, have you for once queried yourself about what is wrong with Nigeria? Perhaps, you even took some steps further by asking your contemporaries and a brainstorming section was soon convened, I recommend you stand for your resolve for change to see a better Nigeria. “For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent,” says Tony Robbin