The word corruption itself is a 14th century Latin word that came to English through French language; in Nigeria corruption can be put to mean many different things or rather many good terms are today been used to replace the word corruption in order to suit the dubious intentions of it users. Examples include gift, commission, percentage, share, return, ratio, to mention the most widely use terms. There are many differing explanations concerning the origin of corruption in Nigerian public service. On this a sizeable number of scholars have concurred on the period of British colonialism as the beginning of corruption in the public sector. The level of corruption as we see today in Nigerian public and private sector is unprecedented in the history of the country, just some few months ago the president himself granted pardon to one of the most glaring symbol of corruption in public sector in the last 14 years of civilian rule. This apparent move come as a great surprise to many observers, both within and outside the country, including the United State government; which warned the Nigerian authorities on the consequences of doing so. The man in question is a former boss of the current president, as a governor of Bayelsa state, Diepreye Alamayeiseigha. The stubborn leadership we have today at all tiers of government never listens to all these outcries against their highly corrupt way of running things. The decision of the current regime not to rescind on her decision to grant the controversial pardon to Alamayeiseigha is good case in point.
At the level of state government just like at the federal level corruption has eaten deep into the day to day state governments activities. No contract is awarded without some percentage allocated to those who gave out the contract; this is apart from the usual inflation of contract and execution of substandard work. Since the return to civilian rule in 1999 the number of state governors accused of stealing their state treasures dry has increased. Cases such as that of Diepreye Alamayeiseigha in Bayelsa, Peter Odili, in Rivers, Saminu Turaki in Jigawa, James Ibori Delta are only the most prominent ones. Only in handful of states do you see some serious works going on the near equivalent of the corresponding amount of money coming into their central accounts from the federal government. It is alleged that departing state governors at the end of their final terms, do sell to the highest bidder the candidature ticket of the ruling party to the next coming executive governor in billions of Naira. Corrupt Nigerian governors aid corruption in any possible way they can. Think of governors who bankroll the campaign finance of PDP presidential elections or those that stole billions of their state’s monies to build mansions in London, Dubai and Abuja. Some Ex Niger Delta states governors were accused of being richer than the states they are/were governing. Hence, it is not surprising when one come across cases of local government chairmen sharing their monthly allocations from the federation account between themselves and their loyalists.
Ordinary Nigerians have not been left behind in sharing in the growing corruption monster. Nigerians be it tailors; radio repairers, bricklayers, or traders have created their own ingenious way of cheating others in any kind of transaction with them. A bricklayer knows how to reduce the quantity of cement in a particular mix in order to do away with the extra bags of cement without the knowledge of his employer. A tailor reduces meters of cloth from the actual size he was asked to produce in order to use it for another purpose. A radio mechanic charge you for a damage part of your radio in which case he claims to have replaced it with a new one but in reality nothing like that happen, he just wants the extra money. A trader sell expired brands to his ignorant customers in order to make money quick. So from top to bottom the big monster in the way of Nigeria’s progress is corruption. Corruption on the part of our security personals is even worth. As it does not need mentioning here that there are hundreds of thousands of roads blocks on our roads that collect a minimum of fifty Naira from the passing vehicles; this is most unfortunate. Those expected to provide law and order are the very ones at the centre of breaking it. An example here will suffice, just last Saturday in Kano around NNPC Deport (Hotoro) along the slow motion Maiduguri road I had the opportunity to witness two mobile policemen riding on a motorbike (one as the rider, the other on the passenger seat). Every individual pass byre I noticed around the place was in full surprise of what the two security offices were doing knowing fully well that it is against the law of the state.