When I was a Youth Corp member in the 1982/83 academic year in Koko, in the then Koko/Beshe Local Government area of Sokoto State, now in Kebbi State of Nigeria, corruption was not the talk of the town as it is today. It existed but very mildly in the work place although more in the political class.
I remember forgetting my wallet at the school’s mini stadium. A student found it and took it to the principal. Next morning, I went to report the incident to him and behold my wallet was on his table. When he gave it to me, the contents were intact and he declined any reward for the student who found it. Honesty was a culture.
I was also at the public field in Koko watching a football match between Yauri Yelwa and Koko when I noticed pandemonium at the other side of the field. Someone was being stoned by a mob for stealing. Years later, as I journeyed in this land called Nigeria, I watched with nostalgic feelings as things started to fall apart.
Today, corruption is everywhere – in the home, offices, street, community and the society in general. It is even in religious places. You don’t get posted to where you truly should be if you don’t know anyone in some quarters. Then, it was competence and not who you know. Now corruption and greed has found comfort in our shores and has come to stay.
What will the new generation of Nigerians learn or benefit from corrupt public institutions? Is corruption being fought in the public sector or slated for another date? Right now, we are playing with it and if care is not taken, it will ruin us. Arise, O compatriots.