Kurtis Adigba
All over Nigeria—and I have travelled to many parts­­—I have seen literally the same problems: poverty, bad or non-existing infrastructure, broken Justice system that allows rich criminals escape punishment and incarcerate the poor, a broken healthcare system that can hardly perform its basic duties in taking care of the health needs of the sick. I have also seen addictions to drugs and other low hanging intoxicants that are elevating death rates in small and big cities.
The major causes of these problems are, corruption and malpractice in the management of our public resources. And on this, we tend to agree. What we disagree about, are: what is corruption, who is corrupt, who is qualified to fight corruption, and how the war should be fought.
In sane societies, common pain should lead to common purpose, and common purpose to common solutions, so you would think, but not so in my country, Nigeria. This is because the ruling political elites have weaponized Religion and Ethnicity, both of which they effectively use to divide and rule the people. Someone, who is evidently corrupt, may not be in the thinking and estimation of some people because he comes from the same area with them, speaks their language, and shares the same faith with them. Corruption, in other words, is not corruption if the perpetrator is a “son-of- the-soil”, or a brother and a sister. It is no corruption, if we benefit from it in one way or the other. We have no common value system.
Too many of us can deconstruct everything but many cannot construct anything and make it work. We have so many people, including former and serving Presidents, Governors, Ministers, and Chairmen of Local Government Councils, and Chairmen of Federal and State Boards, going around and pontificating on corruption, and dividing public opinions on this destructive issue. Incidentally, these were very persons that were very corrupt during their service to the country. And they are succeeding because they think we all suffer from collective amnesia. Some say, ”They are speaking truth to power”. Really! Speaking to power and confronting injustices are good impulses...don’t get me wrong. But when people start building coalitions and organizations to deceive and hoodwink others into supporting a push back against the fight on corruption, it is despicable. It is even worse when they want to be seen as champions of fairness, due process, and the rule of law.
Why is it so difficult and almost impossible for us to unite against the divisive politics of corruption when the things that unite us are more than those that divide us? Why have we become so selfish and insensitive to the pains of others? Why are we no longer our brothers and sisters keepers? Who stole our common humanity? We need to go back to politics of reason and rationality. We need to redefine our values and teach them to our kids all over. We need to agree and understand that stealing is not smartness or sharpness is stealing; that violence is no substitute for dialogue, and that in nation building, we are all equally important.
We can make Nigeria the country of our dream.
God bless Nigeria.

-  Adigba, a Lagos based legal practitioner, is Principal Partner at Kurtis Adigba and Company

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