Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto Diocese has described corruption as an endemic cankerworm innate in our human nature that stretches across all strata of life in the Nigerian society. The Bishop made the assertion while speaking at the recent launching of a book written by the former Chairman of the Economic and Finance Corruption Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri. The title of the book is: My Life As A Spy; and the ceremony took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja; and was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life,
In his intervention titled: Is corruption A biological Necessity or A Political Invention? Bishop Kukah gave an analytical summary of corruption as a cankerworm that is inborn in the average Nigerian person; though it could be used to attain political successes and acquire wealth illegally. He declared: “Corruption has become so endemic that in Nigeria, it is the only thing that works. We have constantly modified the language of corruption. The word corruption is too harsh and so we have softened it. Its synonyms are any of the following words: Chop, Egunje, Dash, Family Support, Self Help, KayanAiki-Backhand, Underhand, Padding, Mobilization, Eating etc.
The Bishop however noted that, against popular backdrop, corruption is not limited to illegal acquisition of wealth or stealing from the public treasury as is conceived generally, nor its actualization limited to public officers or political office holders, but rather embedded in all aspects of life of human endevours in the country.
Pointing out that corruption is not a physical object that can be fought, the Bishop noted that, the concept of fighting corruption in the country, under different sobriquets has failed and will continue to be a failure, unless the issue is seriously addressed from the roots, with proper diagnosis, instead of addressing the symptoms as is the situation, presently in the country. His words: “… we are only seeing symptoms. Only a proper diagnosis can begin a process of curing us. And, in my view, we have sought to fight corruption without enough diagnostic effort.”
On whether corruption is a political invention, Bishop Kukah made several references by which corrupt practices have been used to propel political circumstances, stressing: “I believe there are many cases that we have seen in which saints and sinners changed places depending on political loyalties and conveniences.”
Asserting that corruption is a biological contagion, the local ordinary of Sokoto Diocese averred that: “Corruption is a biological necessity because as a Christian, I believe that corruption is part of the manifestation of our inheritance from the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and we were born with it. Its seeds are therefore innate in us and can only be cured by conversion and repentance.”
He continued: “To that extent, its eradication is not so much based on the erection of institutional barriers but the conversion of the heart. Baptism cleanses us from the sin we inherited from Adam and Eve and therefore living a truly Christian life, dealing with Sin and Repentance as taught by the Catholic Church through Confession is the key to living a life free from corruption. The law of God is therefore written in our hearts (Rom. 2:15).”
Bishop Kukah noted that corruption is everywhere but very few are fighting it the way it should be done. He outlined the different types of corruption in the Nigerian society and suggested how to address them to a standstill. He identified some challenges which include how to define the boundaries between the people who are corrupt in the country and those who are not. He used many hypothetical cases in the Nigerian society and political challenges to assert his views on the subject matter.
The local ordinary of Sokoto Diocese averred that what we call fight against corruption can better be addressed at two critical levels. One of the ways he suggested was the development and adoption of technology across every spectrum of life. “If we achieve this, then people will obey technology. The traffic light, the ATM machine, do not recognise a Bishop, a Sultan, President or a Senator. Locally, we can manipulate them but you cannot beat traffic light in New York and say you are Bishop or Senator!”; he remarked.
On the definition of corruption, Bishop Kukah declared: “When power is used to shield those at the top, it is one of the worst forms of corruption. Often, those in power can subordinate the apparatus of state to hide their own corruption and leave the poor and ordinary people vulnerable.”
He added: “We create all kinds of fireballs od protections around those who govern us and we call it immunity. When the politician controls the security agencies and the judiciary, when all these are made to serve the people in power, then we must find another word for defining corruption.”
See Other News & Events »