‘Every No Counts’ – In Commemoration of the World Anti Corruption Day

 

Corruption begets more corruption and fosters a corrosive culture of impunity
– UN Sec Gen, Antonio Guterres

When we talk about unlearning corruption in all its form, we often get responses
like “but everyone is doing it”; “my compliance will not change anything”;
“corruption has eaten too deep into our society, there is no hope” and many other
pessimistic statements that signifies apathy towards this problem and an
unwillingness to change our mindsets and actively contribute to the elimination of
corruption in Nigeria.

It is not news that corruption is a crime and its consequences
have a ripple effect in any environment it prevails. The theme for this year’s World
Anti Corruption Day is ‘Every No Counts’. This implies that every individual has the
power to considerably reduce and/or eliminate corruption in their immediate
community and the country at large – only if they actively shun corruption, act
within the confines of the law and report corruption whenever it rears its head.
The United Nations Development Programme reported that in developing countries,
funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official
development assistance. In Nigeria specifically, corruption is still at its all time high.
Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception index ranked Nigeria 148
out of 180 countries; this is emblematic of how dire the situation is in Nigeria.

Corruption gravely undermines the socio-economic growth of a country. It stifles
development and hinders citizen’s access to resources and infrastructures that will
enable them thrive. In any community where corruption exists, everyone is affected.
Today we see a considerable decline in the quality of education children receive.

This is attributable to the corruption in the education sector. Issues like inadequate
resources, procurement wastage, absentee teachers, certificate forgery and
malpractice perpetrated by students, schools and even parents are prevalent. The
decay in the system rankles. The problem of corruption is however not restricted to
education. It is imbued in all sectors in Nigeria.

As simple as issues like shunting queues, disposing trash on the roadside, bypassing
or illegally connecting electricity, may seem, they are all forms of corruption. So is
illegally inflating the cost of goods and services, depriving people of opportunities
they merit among other dishonest and illegal conducts. Corruption should not be
perceived as stealing millions of naira in public funds, the dishonest taking of 1 naira
is corruption.

Thus it is essential to re-educate people, especially children, on acceptable norms
and actively show them the consequences of corruption in their lives and the
society.
The importance of a corruption free society is further emphasized by goal 16 of the
Sustainable Development Goals, which speaks about Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Some of its specific targets are to significantly reduce illicit financial
and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all
forms of organized crime, substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their
forms and develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.

When we eradicate corruption, we will have resilient and functional institutions
where citizens have access to resources, services and proper amenities.
Be firm in your fight against corruption and know that your ‘No’ will always count.

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