The Fight Against Corruption In Nigeria: The Role of the Nigerian Students.
Nigeria at the moment, may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth something. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind. Of course the old top leaderships are useless weed-seeds the Nigerians ever prayed for, since the Independence. In 1968, *Ayi Kwei Armah wrote a novel entitled _“The Beautiful Ones Are not Yet Born.”_ The questions that first came to my mind are: _Does he mean good leaders have not yet come or been elected? Does he mean everybody seem corrupt? If no! Then, why corruption seems a never ending story in Nigeria? What role should Nigerian students play in contributing their quota to give Nigerians the cleaner government they deserve? Besides, what then is the meaning of corruption?_
The corruption we fought against ran the gamut from grand or political corruption to administrative corruption, as captured in the framework laid out by William Dorintinsky and Shilpa Pradhan in their 2007 paper, _“Exploring Corruption in Public Financial Management.”_ Grand corruption is _“the large-scale transfer of public resources for private interests”_; political corruption is _“influence peddling on resource allocations and projects that benefit the decision makers, friends and acquaintances, directing resources to special projects, and abused of privileged information”_; and administrative corruption is _“misappropriation and misuse of public funds, fraud, waste and abuse.”_ Meanwhile, it is difficult to imagine that Nigeria is just an infinitesimal part of the world we live in, and when we talk of corruption, it is indeed not only Nigeria in the entire world that is guilty of the same.
As has just been noted, human eye is 576 megapixels, we humans don’t use it, instead we use 16-megapixel cellphone.
Now, over 50% of the Nigerian total population are youths and presumably 30% of them are educated, a figure that is strong enough to influence policy or decision in Nigeria since 16megapixels of our eyes out of 576 megapixels capacity are made use of by every individual and with that we claimed that we can make maximal use of our eyes, therefore, there is no any reason for over 50% to have no solution to the problem if less than 3% can function well.
Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeps it free from weeds, and grows the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may the Nigerian students tend the garden of their country, weed out all the wrong, viz:
bad leadership, injustice and corruption through:
_• Social media as modern protest and advocacy tool, and_
_• Vote casting_
i. Social media as modern protest and advocacy tool.
Social media play a pivotal role in helping the anti-corruption gospel gain more momentum. Today, it can be affirmed without reservations that majority of the Nigerian students are on social media. Therefore, social media can be diligently made use of by sensitizing youths and giving everyone a necessary sense of belonging while promoting a new culture of anti-corruption. For lack of space, #ENDSARS protest is one of the online protests that paid off. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria & the Nigerian parliament heeded the voice of the youth, ordered the immediate disbandment of the SARS and which later led to formation of SWAT. The recent online/street protest against SARS has come to repudiate Albert Einstein’s prediction: _“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”_ How I wish Albert Einstein could be alive today to witness how the Nigerian youths/students have energetically made use of technology for #ENDSARS protest. In effect, social media is an effective way to address corruption in real-time.
ii. Vote casting
Remember, Eleanor Roosevelt had once said, _“no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”_ The choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Somewhat by accident, if we allow bad leaders to continue ruling will Nigeria cease to be an avenue for corruption. The Nigeria constitution gives every citizen of Nigeria of 18 years old & above the right to vote and to be voted for and the right to vote is equally granted under Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR).
Insightfully, 2/3 of the Nigerian students are above 18 years and presuppositionally, we have 30% of Nigerian students who are eligible to vote , this gives Nigerian students opportunity to show their reaction toward corrupt government by eliminating them with their votes.
Corruption in Nigeria has inherently become part of our systems. Hardly, we have a government that can boast of corruption-free administration. That does not mean that this menace is insurmountable rather certain things are to be done by certain cliques in our society especially, at this time of advanced technology where we have series of devices that can be harnessed at our convenient time and place to air our grievances. Therefore, I have a dream, just like Dr. Martin Luther King had for America, in his August 28, 1963 address in Washington DC, a dream that has come to pass in the person of BARACK OBAMA _45years_ after, that sensitization of youths about their right, staging dramas that satirize bad governances by students in their various schools, using their pens as an advocacy tool and encouraging mass participation of youths during election can sooner or later bring corruption to a halt in Nigeria.
ABDULRAUF ABDULBASIT, he holds diploma in law, Cails, Ilorin, Kwara States
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