Friday, January 4, 2013

Corruption and Indiscipline by Chinua Achebe

Corruption in Nigeria has grown because it is highly encouraged. In The Trouble with Nigeria I suggest, “Nigerians are corrupt because the system they live under today makes corruption easy and profitable.  They will cease to be corrupt when corruption is made difficult and unattractive.” Twenty-eight years after that slim book was published, I can state categorically that the problem of corruption and indiscipline is probably worse today than it’s ever been, because of the massive way in which the Nigerian leadership is using the nation’s wealth to corrupt, really to destroy, the country, so no improvement or change can happen.  Recently, out of despair, I stated, “Corruption in Nigeria has passed the alarming and entered the fatal stage, and Nigeria will die if we continue to pretend that she is only slightly indisposed.”

The World Bank recently released numbers indicating that about $400 billion has been pilfered from Nigeria’s treasury since independence.  One needs to stop for a moment to wrap one’s mind around that incredible figure.  This amount - $400 billion – is approximately the gross domestic products of Norway and Sweden.  In other words, Nigeria’s corrupt ruling class stolen the equivalent of the entire economy of a European country in four decades! This theft of national funds is one of the factors essentially making it impossible for Nigeria to succeed. Nigerians alone are not responsible. We all know that this corrupt cabal of Nigerians in power has friends abroad who not only help it move the billions abroad and help them hide the money, but also shield the perpetrators from prosecution! (3)

[ There is no attribution for this concluding statement, as indicated by the (3) footnote in the Notes section of the book. Nor do footnotes 1 and 2 appear in this section of the text titled “Corruption and Indiscipline’. Perhaps he was simply quoting from his earlier book in all three cases.  He could also be referring to reports  by the OECD or perhaps Poisoned Wells; The Dirty Politics of African Oil  by Nicholas Shaxson; [associate fellow with the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London];Palgrave MacMillan, N.Y. 2007]

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