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Integrating Social And Legal Measures In Anti-Corruption War

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Greed and corruption have been the major obstacles to good governance and economic growth in Nigeria. Indeed, corruption has eaten deeply into the economic fabrics of the nation.

The ugly trend took more dangerousdimensions with the mismanagement of revenues from the oil boom of the 70s, and to date.

Through corrupt practices, individuals and groups have amassed wealth at the expense of the citizens, thus leaving the economy and social welfare at the lowest ebb.

Consequently, the twin evils need to be curbed, not only through legal means but social as well.

There is little wonder therefore, that President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed anti-corruption war is receiving ovation, given the above background. Indeed, the ovation is not misplaced, considering that, corruption, especially the act of skewing civil service rules, business policies and procedures in favour of some persons, as well as padding of project charges in order to get kick backs have become unbearable.

These, have discouraged local and foreign investors from investing in large scale businesses in the country because of delay in securing approvals as well as extra cost.

The stinking corruption in the oil and gas sector has led to over dependence on the industry, and has therefore, also encouraged the criminal act, thus wasting the nation’s revenues meant for economic development.

Really, slow infrastructure development, unemployment and abject poverty in the midst of plenty money usually swindled by a few persons, are also outcomes of corruption.

Despite the above justifications for the renewed anti-corruption war in the country, there are some bolts missing from the social side of human beings and organizational theory.

The social side is vital because, corruption is a socio-psychological phenomenon and also needs to be tackled from that perspective. Indeed, corruption is a thing of the mind; attitude, circumstance and environment which influence anti-social and criminal behaviours in order to achieve illicit motives.

Some of the socio-psychological factors that influence corrupt acts are greed; kleptomania – natural desire to steal for survival, poor state of social amenities and poverty.

Ordinary citizens and civil servants indulge in corrupt practices, mostly using poverty and lack of amenities as excuses, while political executives do so clearly on the bases of greed and wickedness. Politicians are also kleptomanic.

In that light, it is imperative to adopt social measures to abate corrupt acts in public offices. One of such viable methods is for government to rise up to its responsibilities by providing basic social amenities. These include regular and widely distributed electricity, hospitals and free health services, schools and free education at all levels, provision of skills for youths, housing schemes and payment of good wage to public servants.

Such programmes will surely help to reduce the cost of living that familiesare faced with. They will also make citizens to become patriotic as well as less prone to corruption.

Mind re-engineering is another potent social measure to reduce corruption in Nigeria. This could be done through enlightenment campaigns, to re-orientate the citizens and take away their minds, attitudes and behaviours away from dishonesty, greed, nepotism, myopism and unpatriotism.

All levels of government and private organizations therefore, need to use social and behavioural communication strategies, via the mass media, families, communities, religious institutions and school as channels for enlightenment and civic education.

To achieve the goals of such campaigns, relevant communication and marketing disciplines as well as professionals have to be integrated, just as themes and messages will also be integrated and tailored to specific campaign objectives and targeted audiences.

The ugly trend of relegating the promotion of humanities and social science disciplines to the background ought to stop. Sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science/public administration, mass communication, history, literature, religious studies and others should also be considered in scholarship awards, due to their relevance in social development. They are also relevant in originating social ideas, and research reports that inspire science, engineering and technology to provide practical solutions to problems of society.

Despite the importance of the social sciences and humanities, medicine, law, science, engineering and technology attract scholarship awards most. Nigeria’s quest to be among the most developed economies by 2020 can not succeed, with corruption ravaging public institutions and the economic

system.
For the 2020 dream not to end as a mirage, social measures should be adopted to fighting corruption, besides using legal weapon. That will indeed guarantee better results for the nation’s polity and economy.

ETETE ENIDENEZE, JOURNALISTS, PUBLIC RELATIONS/ADVERTISING PRACTITIONER

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Articles by Etete Enideneze