Wednesday, 31 December 2008

National Cake: a source of corruption

Corruption is not an independent factor rather; its existence is based on the essential availability of human players. In other words, corruption is absolutely dependent on living entities who allow it thrive in an atmosphere where unnecessary compromise exists. It is almost impossible to find a communal system that contains people with flawless characters. That is why corruption is found in every society. This dishonest act can never occur where humans do not exist. Therefore, if corruption were to be a disease, it would be appropriate to call human beings its favourite hosts.

But, regardless of corruption’s dependence on human players, it possesses a subtle ability that enables it creep into any system inconspicuously. Hence, no matter how clean a system is, it remains vulnerable to corruption. The presence of corruption could be as intangible as the ignorance of the legislative arm of the judiciary. Furthermore, corruption could be as hideous as the interruption of public funds at the gain of personal interest. The more vivid the examples of corruption as displayed by some representatives of the Nigerian Police Force or the Nigerian Ports Authority are not the only ways to confirm corruption’s invasion into a system. The simple act of age falsification as practiced by several American youths who engage in alcohol and drug consumption is another appearance of corruption. A problem does not have to seem unsolvable before it is identified as one. Since, a problem is a problem if it causes complication or brings total stoppage to progress; corruption is corruption whether huge or small.

Even if we saw the facts, we could still tell a lie; that is another way to describe corruption. The issue of national cake is only an excuse for making the wrong choices when the right ones were obviously available. When we say we are partaking of the national cake, do we consider what happens to the vast number of people who are left unfed? The term, National cake is a mere distraction and perhaps, an effective disguise that we create as a means of justifying our deficient character. When the issue of national cake comes up, relevant and vital questions to ask ourselves are: “who will share or dispense this cake?”, “who baked the cake?” and “who really needs to partake from it?” However, such questions would only possess validity if “national cake” was regarded as a grammatical representation of due benefits. Otherwise, the norm would remain its best interpretation.

The common use of national cake readily brings the issue of corruption to mind because its normal translation symbolizes selfish interest and in some other cases, sentimental interest. But, this is clearly opposite to the necessary or supposed meaning of evenly distributed national profits. When a group of people leading a much greater number of people illegally compensate themselves with diverse unnecessary goodies, the end result is usually the arousal of a commensurate desire in those whom they lead. You cannot exhibit corruption and expect diligence in followership. It is a natural phenomenon for humans to reap what they sow therefore, when government demonstrates weakness in terms of indiscipline, it is excusable for the citizenry to also show such in its handling of duties. An example of this is what governmental workers exhibit in the fulfillment of their official duties. And this is one of the reasons why the mismanagement of government infrastructure, state facilities and local properties has become a consistent challenge in Nigeria. All those three problems are rooted in the mismanagement or embezzlement of public funds.

It is automatic for them to frequently occur in our nation so long our leadership exhibits its indiscipline. Consequently, it is not enough to see transparency in governance but more importantly, the masses need to observe obvious discipline. If we cannot learn it from our leaders, we can at least teach it to them. It is not that discipline is the way out, but unfortunately it seems to be the most appropriate weapon we can use against our prevalent desire for national cake. An inordinate desire to personally possess what ought to be shared among several millions is usually encouraged by indiscipline. If most of our leaders were disciplined, we would have lesser number of unqualified figures of leadership.

Discipline is not easy to imbibe because it has to be learnt overtime. Constituents of discipline such as hard work, tenacity and consistency in good conduct hardly coexist with the real characters of a principled leader. As a matter of fact, it is totally impossible for such to happen. So, the first option we have is to create a disabling environment for indiscipline. If there are protocols that guide the general conduct of a leader while he is incumbent, I opine that our leadership would seem more effective if not, truly efficient. However, in doing this, we should be careful not to build an office that is too rigid to be functionally productive.

The other alternative would be to catch them early. If the most leaders had gone through a well-grooming training in their past, they would not come into office and mess themselves up. Hence, it should become not only parents’ responsibility to raise leaders in their homes but also the society’s and indeed a national responsibility to encourage good citizenship thereby discovering potential leaders. With such efforts, I believe we will surely transform the unfortunate meaning of national cake into national benefits.