Corruption Can’t Be Nigerian Culture (1). Manasseh F. Paul-Worika
According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Corruption is “a dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers), while culture is defined as, “the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place or time”. For a while in Nigeria, corruption has been part of us, and has apparently grown to be our way of life. As a matter of fact, we have also been nurturing and transferring this evil culture to our off-springs.
In 2000, Transparency International conducted a survey on the corruption level of 90 countries, including Kenya, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria, Cote-d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, India, Venezuela, Moldova, and others. Nigeria was ranked as the most corrupt because the country occupied the 90th position in terms of transparency. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second-most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, second to Bangladesh. This shows that corruption in Nigeria improved by one step when compared to its ranking in 2000.
In 2002, Nigeria was again ranked the second most corrupt country in the world, after the same organisation surveyed 102 countries. Nigeria occupied the 101st position in terms of Confidence Interval (CI). In 2003, Nigeria received the same ranking, making no improvements from 2002.
The 2004 ranking showed a little improvement when compared to the previous four years, as Nigeria was ranked the third most corrupt country in the world in that year, performing better than Bangladesh and Haiti. That year, 146 nations were surveyed. The record on corruption in Nigeria improved in 2005. The number of countries surveyed by the Transparency International was 158 and Nigeria was ranked eighth most corrupt.
Transparency International in 2006 surveyed 163 countries. The results showed some improvement, and Nigeria as ranked 21st most corrupt country in the world. Haiti was the world’s most corrupt nation that year.
Among the 180 countries surveyed in 2007, Nigeria ranked 147 on the table alongside Angola and Guinea-Bissau. This result show that Nigeria was 33rd most corrupt country in the world.
An analysis of the anti-graft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the law because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences.
In 2012, Transparency International again deemed Nigeria one of the most corrupt nations in the world. That year, the country ranked 139th out of the 176 surveyed countries, making Nigeria the 37th most corrupt nation.
In 2013, Nigeria ranked 144 out of 177 countries in terms of transparency. The score made Nigeria the 33rd most corrupt country in the world that year. The result published by the organization also showed that Nigeria scored 25% in terms of transparency.In the 2014 ranking, Nigeria was ranked 136 out of 174. The result showed an improvement, though things were still bad.
With the emergence of a new government in 2015, many Nigerians were hopeful that the country’s corruption level would minimize. That year, power was transferred from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressive Congress (APC). One of the campaign promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari was the massive eradication of corruption in the country. But the question that Nigerians have been asking since the leadership of President Buhari till 2019 is; “Is President Buhari’s government fighting corruption as he promised during his campaign?” The PDP presidential candidate responding to president Buhari’s claim of corruption had said: “Mr. President, the problem with your anti-corruption war is not the system. You are the problem! “The system allows you to arrest, try and convict your former Secretary to the Government of the Federation who was fingered in a major corruption case, but you chose to let him go scot free and you demonstrated your tolerance for his corruption by giving him a prominent role in your re-election campaign and recently welcoming him to the Presidential Villa with open arms”.
Irrespective of the campaign promises, Nigeria ranked low in transparency and high in corruption in 2015. Out of the 168 countries surveyed, Nigeria was the 32nd most corrupt.
Over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories surveyed in 2016 fell below the midpoint of Transparency International scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). In that year’s survey, Nigeria sat at number 136 on the table with Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea.
In 2017, there was no remarkable improvement in transparency in the country. Irrespective of the promise made by the president to fight corruption, it appears that former President Goodluck Jonathan did better when compared with the 2014 effort.
To be continued.