Fighting Corruption: The Role of the Citizens

Let me begin by defining what corruption is

According to google.com,

  1. Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
  2. The action or effect of making someone or something morally depraved.
  3. The process by which a word or expression is changed from its original state to one regarded as erroneous or debased.
  4. The process of decay; putrefaction.
  5. Corruption is also seen as any form of lawlessness

Corruption is perpetrated across various institutions: Private or Public. For instance, corruption can be found in every sector of the country, not just in government circles. Education sectors, financial sector, Religious sector, Security sector, all have various forms of corruption going on. This means therefore that both the leaders and citizens (followers) engage in one form of corruption or the other.

Anything done to prevent or stop corruption is seen as fighting corruption.

When it comes to who should lead the fight against corruption, I dare say that those who suffer most from corrupt practices, should take the front row in fighting it. The citizens that have been kept in poverty for years; the citizens that suffers darkness instead of constant electricity; the citizen that suffers bad roads, poor health facilities, poor educational facilities among other things, should act in fighting corruption.

The leaders know the power of the citizens, but the citizens seldom apply this power for social change. However anytime the citizens dared to act, the results are evident. The recent case of retroactive payment of Customs car import duty in Nigeria, it was the citizens that shut it down; years ago, there was an attempt to print five thousand naira notes, the citizens spoke and it was dropped.

However, to fight corruption citizens need to be empowered; Empowerment here begins with having access to quality education which helps them apply their minds productively. Quality education empowers the citizens to challenge the leaders constructively and have results.  For example, one of the major duties of the youths in fighting corruption, should be to challenge the political leadership to act right, they need to challenge the status quo and the common sensibility of the leadership, because if the leaders are left alone they become dictators. But the youths remain subservient to these political leaders they are supposed to challenge because they are not empowered to think the right way and be independent enough to challenge the leaders.

Many political leaders in our part of the world do not really like democracy and will always opt for dictatorship, because it enables them to intimidate and subjugate the citizens for selfish gains. Therefore they ensure that citizens are not properly empowered so that they are not effectively challenged.

Manifesting dictatorial tendencies also require that they have people who service their illicit acts, therefore they ensure that certain level of workers are not empowered to rise above certain level, so that  helped them to perfect their corrupt acts and are paid pee nuts.

Other ways to empower the citizens include:

  • Economic empowerment: The citizens must look beyond self and must be able to conquer the basic needs according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Citizens especially those in the civil service must be paid well, their take home should be able to take them home comfortably.
  • Those in business should have access to low-interest loans, they can use to start and run their businesses
  • Re-orientation: The middle class must rise up to empower the lower class by direct engagement, just like what groups like Good Governance Forum (GGF) are doing. During elections, there should be proper voter education to enable the electorates vote for the right reasons

How can Citizens fight corruption?

  1. They say charity begins at home, so the leaders we have today at the top started somewhere and this goes further to affirm that family is the unit that makes up the society, so if the family unit is bad this will affect the kind of leaders who take up leadership positions tomorrow.
  2. The citizens especially those with kids in their care must ensure they bring up these children with sound leadership skills and character so that they will be better leaders tomorrow, this will in turn affect the type of people we have in the parastatal and MDAs or any government institution and even the private sector.
  3. Most people think corruption is just the high-profile arrest in government institutions but most of what you see at the top there started from small negative characters displayed as young kids or adults,
  • Like breaking the traffic rules,
  • Respecting others right by being on the queue,
  • Littering the environment and other enacted laws that are supposed to cater for the good of the environment for you and other citizens, when such people get into civil service or political office or the larger society they misbehave.
  1. Citizens need to engage in activism for their rights and initiate this social change through their voice, the citizens voice must be heard, when in pain, we must desist from mediocrity and accepting whatever is thrown at us.
  2. Citizens must protest against any form imposition by the leadership and cry out in case of maltreatment in the face of human right violation by any organisation or agency.
  3. The citizens must be seen to support each other and must unite against or for the leadership or government.
  4. Recent trend in Nigeria has shown that the social media is a powerful tool to drive that desired change from the leader. Citizens should engage the leaders through these platforms instead of fighting one another. We must explore all the social media and also traditional media channels to make demands and this must be firm and direct.
  5. Citizens must whistle blow no matter whose ox is gored, but this has to be supported by the government.
  6. The citizens must remember they empowered the Politicians and have to let them know they can take back that power if they fail to act. They should also make the Politicians to understand that they are there to serve not as Lords.
  7. Citizens should hold leaders accountable at the grass root levels by participating in Political process, elections and selection of representatives.

I believe the Citizens stand to gain if they take on corruption and wipe out this epidemic before it wipes out the people. We cannot put 100% trust on the politicians, they only protect their own interest before they think of the people, everyone must have this at the back of their mind.

Let me hear your feedback.

Author Profile

Lawrence Obi
Lawrence Obi
Lawrence is a Cards, Payments, Project Management and Sales Expert with over 16years in the Financial Sector. He is passionate about Excellence, Leadership and Innovation, currently chasing interest in digital Payment solutions, blockchain technology, financial Inclusion & tech startups.
Author of the book, Discover, Develop, Deploy
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083PSNRYY

Lawrence has founded several businesses including a Licensed Fintech in Nigeria. He loves writing and sharing knowledge with his audience.
You can reach him on any of his social media handles for enquiries and collaborations.

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