I would like to start my presentation by making an attempt to define certain keywords inherent in the topic for proper grasp and comprehension of not just the etymology of those words but their contemporary import for today’s discussion. The Oxford Dictionary of Current English defined Economy as the relationship between production, trade and supply of money in a particular country or region. The same dictionary defines degrade to show or treat somebody in a way that makes them seem not worth any respect or not worth taking seriously.
Security is defined as the activities involved in protecting a country, building or person against attack, danger etc. A breach is defined as a failure to do something that must be done by law.
Socio-political crisis could be defined as a series of negative activities engendered by the lacklustre implementation of social, political and economic policies, guidelines and laws that could have ordinarily guide the interplay between government and citizens with a view to engendering a peaceful and secure society where no man or his property is endangered.
Crisis means a time of great danger, difficulty or confusion when problems must be solved or important decisions must be made.
With the above breakdown of keywords in the topic, we would like to readjust the topic to reflect something like this: “How To Rescue Nigeria From Socio-Economic Crisis and Insecurity”. The result of the appraisal of the keywords is that it becomes clearer that the Topic is indeed vast because it spans across three fields- Economics, Politics and Sociology. Having broken down all the congruent points or key words under this topic and rephrased what the topic must look like, one vital point to know in dealing with this subject that oscillates between the Economy Relations within the larger spectrum of the Society and the Politics of Who gets What, When and How, is the overriding role of the Government.
The government itself is the group of people that determine how the Economy or available resources are going to be developed or converted to benefits for the majority of citizens through an Economic policy or Ideology subsisting within that particular social milieu. By this, is meant whether it is Socialist means of Production and Distribution whereby workers or citizens are organized in their education, economic strivings, etc., to be in direct control of economic activities where the state or government substitutes the Entrepreneur or Capitalist as in charge of Land and other factors of Production with Labour/workers taking direct charge of what the Capitalist stands for to the ultimate benefits of individual workers and society at
large…or whether the Economic Activity or Production is the kind that protects the Capitalist by ensuring that policies, programmes and even laws regulating interrelationship between all factors of production or economic activity favours the Capitalist and alienate the mass of workers in the wholesale Economy of the Society leading to social tiff. This is what usually breeds Economic degradation and breeds other social disruptions as we have been experiencing in Nigeria till this moment. Since those who feel alienated and shortchanged simply prefer to sabotage and encourage the breakdown of order.
This is because what they are being subjected to is quite different and a far cry from the lives of the Capitalist or his representative in the chain of economic activity. More so, those in governments are seen to collaborate, both with their laws, enforcements policy and Distribution of National Wealth, with the Capitalists or what Karl Max referred to as the Bourgeois class.
The reason for this is not farfetched, under this economic system or ideology, members of the ruling class are usually Capitalists too or those aspiring to also join the privileged class, owning labour and land having commoditized Labour too as just another factor of production with the sole aim of profit-driving all economic activities…What they get in return has been referred to as, Rent, which Max defined as ‘unearned’ profit or dues for their economic or social engagements in production, whether as legislators, Managing Directors of companies, Having broken down all the congruent points or key words under this topic and rephrased what the topic must look like, one vital point to know in dealing with this subject that oscillates between the Economy Relations within the larger spectrum of the Society and the Politics of Eho gets What, When and How, is the overriding role of the Government.
Government itself is the group of people that determine how the Economy or available resources are going to be developed or converted to benefits for majority of citizens through an Economic policy or Ideology subsisting within that particular social milieu, By this, is meant whether it is a Socialist means of Production and Distribution whereby workers or citizens are organized in their education, economic strivings, etc., to be in direct control of economic activities where the state or government substitutes the Entrepreneur or Capitalist as I charge of Land and other factors of Production with Labour/workers taking direct charge of what the Capitalist stands for to the ultimate benefits of individual workers and society at large, or whether the Economic Activity or Production is the kind that protects the Capitalist by ensuring that policies, programmes and even laws regulating interrelationship between all factors of production or economic activity favours the Capitalist and alienate the mass or workers in the wholesale Economy of the Society leading to social tiff.
This is what usually breeds Economic degradation and breeds other social disruptions as we have been experiencing in Nigeria till this moment. Since those who feel alienated and shortchanged simply prefer to sabotage and encourage the breakdown of order. This is because what they are being subjected to is quite different and a far cry from the lives of the Capitalist or his representative in the chain of economic activity. More so, those in governments are seen to collaborate, both with their laws, enforcements policy and Distribution of National Wealth, with the Capitalists or what Karl Max referred to as the Bourgeois class.
The reason for this is not farfetched, under this economic system or ideology, members of the ruling class are usually Capitalists too or those aspiring to also join the privileged class, owning labour and land having commoditized Labour too as just another factor of production with the sole aim of profit-driving all economic activities. What they get in return has been referred to as, Rent, which Max defined as ‘unearned profit’ for their economic or social engagements in production, whether as legislators, Managing Directors of companies, etc.
This usually occurs between the interplay of Capital and labour since no production or any economic activity can take place without workers aggregating and sorted for that line of economic efforts or production to occur…Incidentally, workers need to be mobilized for major economic activity to take place and usually this occurs on land which most workers do not possess.
This is where the Entrepreneur or Employer/Capitalist comes in and in modern Economy, he has become very indispensable in the chain of production or any meaningful economic activities including sales or disbursement of that which is produced. This usually occurs between the interplay of Capital and labour since no production or any economic activity can take place without workers aggregating and sorted for that line of economic efforts or production to occur. Incidentally, workers need to be mobilized for major economic activity to take place and usually this occurs on land which most workers do not possess. This is where the Entrepreneur or Employer/Capitalist comes in and in modern Economy, he has become very indispensable in the chain of production or any meaningful economic activities including sales or disbursement of that which is produced
This usually occurs between the interplay of Capital and labour since no production or any economic activity can take place without workers aggregating and sorted for that line of economic efforts or production to occur…Incidentally, workers need to be mobilized for major economic activity to take place and usually this occurs on land which most workers do not possess…this is where the Entrepreneur or Employer/Capitalist comes in and in modern Economy, he has become very indispensable in the chain of production or any meaningful economic activities including sales or disbursement of that which is produced.
Consequently, it is germane that we relate all this to subsisting economic relations in Nigeria. Hence, I would start by analyzing the present economic situation in Nigeria. Nigeria’s, the current economic crisis is characterized by revenue shortfall and foreign exchange crisis. It is a product of many years of neo-liberal and anti-developmental policies administered by prebendal local agents of Bretton Woods institutions and massive looting of the nation’s wealth at all levels of governance. The situation became very pathetic when Nigeria’s economy slipped into recession in 2016.
The nation has earned more than $700b from crude oil sales in the last 20 years.
Based on the records of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the break down realized from crude oil sales since 1999 is as follows: In 1999, Nigeria earned $8.07 billion; $15.81 billion in 2000: $15.91 billion in 2001 and $11.87 in 2002. It was put at $11.87 billion in 2003; $17.08 billion in 2004; $26.63 billion in 2005; $28.07 billion in 2006; $44.69 billion in 2007; $43.79 billion in 2008; $60.36 billion in 2009 and $30.13 billion in 2010. In 2011 it was $44.94 billion; $68.44 in 2012; $62.94 billion in 2013; $58.08 billion in 2014; $54.56 billion in 2015 and $17.05 billion in 2016 .
However, the level of development of social infrastructures and the general economy remained abysmal. Nigeria was plundered by politicians of different political parties in power and big business people in collusion with their international partners.
For instance, between 2005 and 2015 less than 18, 000 political office holders (which constituted 0.01 percent of the population) across all the parties at all levels cornered N1.3 trillion (One Trillion, Three Hundred Million Naira) annually as emoluments which represents more than a tenth of the annual national budgets of all tiers of government ( Kola Ibrahim, 2016). This means in ten years, at least N13 trillion or $65 billion had been officially handed over to 18, 000 politicians.
This is just their official emoluments. According to a World Bank estimate some years back, only about 20 kobos of every N1 budgeted for any project in Nigeria is actually spent, while some estimates claimed that over $140 billion had been looted since the emergence of civil rule in 1999.
In addition to this, public wealth was used to ensure huge wealth and profits for big businesses. While waivers worth over N1.3 trillion was granted by the Jonathan government, the Obasanjo government before it also gave trillions of naira worth of waivers, tax breaks and importation monopoly to several big companies. This is aside billions doled out in form of government’s issuance of treasury bills and bonds, which guaranteed unmerited wealth for both local and foreign financial institutions and big businesses at the detriment of local and small businesses. In 2010, the government used N2.5 trillion of public funds to bail out ten banks owned by a tiny clique of multibillionaires, while social infrastructures were in a deplorable condition.
While public funds were given to politicians and big businesses, the same money, instead of being invested in productive and manufacturing activities, was again invested in the purchase of government businesses which ensured huge profits. All this happened during the privatization of state properties at rock-bottom prices, sale of oil blocks, the award of inflated contracts and government borrowing. In some situations where productive activities were undertaken by big businesses like Dangote and Honeywell, the government would have given them several billion-dollar worths of waivers and dole-outs.
The state governments were not left out of this profligacy as politicians at state levels embarked on projects that were aimed at cornering public funds for private use, with little impact on economic and social development. The result was a total depletion of public wealth. The excess crude account that was around $23 billion in 2012 was depleted to less than $2.5 billion by 2015, with little impact on the wellbeing of the majority of the population.
To make matters worse, government at all levels developed a large appetite for loans. The country’s debt profile increased to over $66 billion (with foreign debt increased to over $11 billion from less than $6 billion in 2011). Under Jonathan, the three tiers of government shared over N29 trillion ($145 billion) (Guardian 21/06/2015). This notwithstanding, social and public infrastructures were still in a dilapidated state while poverty and unemployment remained very high.
Although the Jonathan administration mismanaged more than 52% of the N29 trillion that accrued to the country, the state governments run by all the major political parties also mismanaged over 40% of this revenue.
The implication of all this was that there was little development of social and physical infrastructures to support productive economic activities. As a result of this, Nigeria has permanently remained an import-based economy, while exporting only raw materials like crude oil, which constitute over 80% of export earnings. A good example is a fact that Nigeria spent billions of dollars on importing fuel and food items like rice when it earned huge earnings from crude oil sales. This did not pose any danger at the time, but when the price of crude oil decreased to around $30 per barrel, as against more than $80 in 2014, the value of the naira expectedly crashed later. Even if the government had used the external reserve to save the national currency, it would not have gone far enough, unless there was a shrink in import consumption or the country developed productive capacity.
Another factor that led to economic quagmire was that there was and there still is a huge gap between the very rich and the poor in our country. This means public wealth is concentrated in fewer hands, whose luxurious lifestyle, denominated mostly in hard currencies, puts more pressure on the Naira and further devalues it. This drives up the cost of living for the majority of the poor with income that hardly increases. At a point, Nigeria became the destination for all kinds of luxury goods including exotic wines, cars, jewellery, and aircraft. In fact, the number of private jets was more than that of commercial aircraft.
All these coupled with the collapse of public infrastructures and services and decline in the income of workers, resulted in the working and poor people spending their meagre money on fewer things due to inflation which reduced purchasing power. Businesses were also affected as a result of low patronage, leading to mass retrenchment.
Even though not all consumer products are imported, the fact that many of the country’s daily needs including foodstuffs, drugs, raw materials, industrial additives are imported shows that other goods produced internally will share in the burden, as inflation is contagious.
Another fall-out of the situation was that there has been very little infrastructural development of the country as investors are hesitant to invest while government spending shrinks, leading to a serious cut on purchasing power.
The rising level of poverty which is a function of the wide inequality is one of the fundamental causes of an increased crime wave and heightened insecurity. There is well known saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. In order to effectively address these challenges, the government needs to reverse the causes of the economic crisis by stopping further devaluation of the currency through ending the senseless currency speculation by banks and Bureaux De Change (BDCs); Increasing production of goods that can reduce imports and thus ease pressure on the Naira; increasing production of exportable goods to boost foreign earnings; retrieve huge public funds looted either directly or indirectly and stop further looting of the public purse; Increase purchasing power of the majority of the population by reducing wealth gap and redistributing social wealth to the majority.
It is quite possible that the present administration’s school feeding programme, mass employment of 500, 000 teachers and conditional grants to the most impoverished citizens, will be the most impactful of these social programmes. They are expected to have some minimal impact on improving the living standards of some Nigerians. Nevertheless, this is too little to make the needed impact to reverse the economic quagmire. For now, over three million young Nigerians are reportedly thrown to the labour market yearly, while over 30 million people are jobless. Therefore, employing less than 500,000 young people over a four-year tenure may not really address the problem.
The way forward must include efforts at reversing the production system whereby the majority of the working class and their dependents must be made to have a stake in Societal Economic flair. This would only be by merging certain Capitalist traits with Societal, individual interests to promote and nurture mass participation and involvement in the Economic Evolvement of the nation. This would necessarily lead to a Welfarist or Mixed Economy for the entire nation. Even in Classical Capitalist Society like USA in the early 1920s when America faced chronic youth unemployment amongst its teeming younger population, realizing its probable effects on the Economy, Society and its security, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that a section of the youths should be employed to dig holes all over the nation on available lands and another section to fill the dug holes to collect minimum wage.
As time goes on, companies owned locally and foreign-owned were also required to employ a minimum percentage of these youths with l8v8ng wage paid. This was in addition to other arrangements like old-age benefits, subsidized farming, etc. The very essence is to prevent social breakdown or Insecurity as we have today in Nigeria by steering our teeming youths away from criminal indulgences like Armed Robbery, Internet frauds, Terrorism, Kidnappings for ransom, etc., and thereby leave little or nothing for public office holders to loot. It also rebounds on overall Economy as mass engagement and incorporation leads to National Wealth and Economic Revival from Degradation. Little or no Economic sabotage ultimately births a new social and economic stability leading to economic growth and development.
TYPOLOGY OF CORRUPTION
• Any act of dishonesty or criminal activity is undertaken by a person or organization entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire illicit benefit; dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery- Dictionary.com
• Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs – Transparency International (TI)
• Corruption is the process by which a word or expression is changed from its original state to one regarded as erroneous or debased- IT definition
The Hierarchy of Corruption
1 Kleptomaniac or Sadistic Corruption
Those who engage in this type of corruption ordinarily have no reason to be corrupt. .This type of corruption is borne out of sheer thoughtlessness rather than for need or want of comfort This type of corruption is usually perpetrated by chief executives in government parastatals or public companies.
2 Gluttonic or Social Corruption
Unlike the kleptomaniacs, those who engage in this type of corruption do so out of greed. Those who fall under this category of corruption are Directors and high officeholders who are usually entrusted with supervisory, control, or auditing responsibilities within the system and engage in bribery, and records altering in a bid to live above their means. Others also in this category of corruption are smugglers, drug and drug traffickers, money launderers, armed robbers and buglers etc
3. Attitudinal or Reactive Corruption
The kleptomaniac and Gluttonic types of corruption gave rise to attitudinal corruption. Those who engage in this type of corruption do so out of admiration or envy of the success of their superiors in the act of corruption. The attitudinal corruption comes as a reaction to the success of corrupt criminals walking freely or being celebrated by the society, without being prosecuted or punished as they are aware that exposing the act could also implicate their mentors.
4 Economic or Incidental Corruption
Sometimes, it is the change in the economic situation that compels some people to engage in corruption. It is either their earnings have fallen below what could cater to their needs or they fall victim of challenges that increase their spending. Those captured under this type of corruption eventually engage in any form of corruption within their reach to augment their low earnings. They are usually lower-ranked officers in both the public and private sectors with crimes ranging from bribery, deceit, extortion, Etc.
Legal practitioners sometimes refer to this type of corruption as petty larceny.
5 Moral Corruption
This is the most common type of corruption. It is characterized by all activities, gestures, postures, attitudes, and behaviours tantamount to corrupt practices. They include lying, nepotism, pretence, piracy, cheating, sexual infidelity, etc. It is termed moral corruption because most of the times, the substance of the crime is not immediately manifest, or is even taken for granted as normal socio-cultural practices. Usually, the perpetrator is not conscious that what he is engaging in amounts to the corruption of a sort.
Still under Moral Corruption, We also have
a) Pseudo Corruption
b) True Corruption
A Pseudo Corruption: This is a form of moral corruption where the perpetrator weighs the consequences of not engaging in the act, which could lead to irreversible loses including fatality. Pseudo Corruption is usually perpetrated without expecting any gains from it; that is why it called false Corruption. In most cases, pseudo corruption may eventually lead to or be misconstrued as true corruption if the perpetrator does not take adequate precautionary measures.
B True Corruption: Just like pseudo corruption, true corruption is also a form of moral corruption but unlike the false/ pseudo corruption where the act is perpetrated without expecting any gains or without necessarily deriving any personal favours from it, True corruption is perpetrated with a view to making some form of gain no matter how minute it might seem.
CAUSES OF CORRUPTION
• The prevalence of weak government Institutions
• Discriminatory Application of Rules and the Criminal Justice System
• The Effect of Public perception
• The nature of the economy
• Undue secrecy in governmental affairs
EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION
• Corruption reduces any chance of increasing human capital investment with the increasing number of barriers from public provisions that decrease the ability to do business.
• It leads to a low standard of living for the populace
• Corruption creates the condition for political instability
• Corruption leads to elimination of the middle class as a buffer zone within any given society
• Corruption stagnates development and growth as public funds are seen as an extension of the private ‘bank accounts’ of public officials
CORRUPTION COULD BE COMBATED THROUGH…
- effective and widespread public enlightenment of the grassroots on the nature and effects of corruption and how to prevent it.
- Strengthening and strict implementation of existing anti-corruption laws by regular law enforcement agencies like the Police; specialized agencies like ICPC and EFCC as well as regulatory agencies like SON, NAFDAC, NDLEA, as well as other agencies that are charged with the task of stamping corruption out of our society with a view to making corruption crimes very difficult to commit and ensuring that those who commit it are promptly apprehended and dealt with.
- useful and deliberate engagement of the media as genuine partners in fighting corruption.
- partnership with stakeholders and other key actors in the society like the civil society organisations, professional bodies, religious institutions, the bureaucracy, private sector and academia, etc.
- cooperative endeavours between the law enforcement agencies and the judiciary, geared towards prompt prosecution and adjudication into corruption cases and imposition of deterrent punishment.
CALL TO ACTION
LITTLE THINGS MATTER
Corruption does not seem harmful until it is too late
It is often easy to ignore the impacts of petty corruption when they appear to be little more than inconveniences. But collective permissiveness of minor graft creates an enabling environment for corruption to fester, resulting in a problem far more difficult to solve.
Stop tolerating petty corruption. Pay attention to the smallest signs of retail corruption in public service delivery and be prepared to demand accountability from government service providers.
LITTLE ONE’s MATTER
Education can help prevent corruption by fostering a culture of integrity.
An effective way to tackle corruption is to teach children to recognize it, reject it and condemn those who tolerate it.
School curriculums must incorporate ethics and civic education in the curriculum. Parents, teachers and school administrators must recognize their responsibility to shape the values of the next generation by exhibiting high standards of integrity, honesty and transparency in their actions.
FATALISM IS PARALYSING
Anti-corruption strategies are less likely to be successful when entrenched practices are considered impossible to overcome
Decades of unchecked corruption in Nigeria’s public institutions and a history of inept leadership have destroyed public faith in governance and created a sense of fatalism. Citizens are unlikely to be motivated to combat corruption because experience suggests that nothing will change.
The fight against corruption can be won. New approaches must be adopted to create social incentives for collection action against corruption. Leaders must inspire faith in anti-corruption efforts by implementing tangible reforms in public institutions. Civil society and community leaders must develop and promote a national social contract that rewards accountability and enforces social sanctions for unacceptable behaviour.
CHANGING OUR APPROACH TO ANTI-CORRUPTION MESSAGING
Sensational messaging desensitizes the public corruption
Traditional approaches to anti-corruption messaging in Nigeria have been characterized by sensational reporting of corruption cases involving huge amounts of money or the use of extreme language to eliminate undesirable behaviour. These kinds of messages risk including apathy in citizens by reinforcing their sense of powerlessness in the face of rampant corruption.
Anti-corruption messages must be carefully framed to effectively communicate the negative impacts of corrupt behaviour while empowering targeted audiences to take practical and effective action. Pro-accountability actors must avoid the one-size-fits-all approach to anti-corruption messaging and ensure that messages are assessed for effectiveness before dissemination.
REDESIGNING GOVERNANCE PROCESSES TO MAKE CORRUPTION AVOIDANCE PRACTICAL
Doing the wrong thing becomes a rational choice if doing the right thing is too difficult.
In Nigeria, avoiding corruption may not be the most practical option. Governance processes are not designed to be citizen-friendly. It is easy to fall afoul of regulations because procedures are needlessly complicated and poorly documented. Complying with penalties for relatively minor violations is unnecessarily difficult and creates incentives for extortion by law enforcement agencies.
The government must rethink and redesign routine procedures for providing public services to ensure they are citizen and business-friendly. Options for complying with penalties for minor violations should include online platforms where citizens can lodge complaints, disputes imposed penalties and report instances of solicitation or extortion.
POLITICISING CORRUPTION CAN DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD
Political bias in the fight against corruption undermines public faith in anti-corruption efforts
In Nigeria, fighting corruption can be an excuse to persecute political opponents. Government and its anti-graft agencies are often accused of abusing their power and being biased in choosing which allegations of corruption to investigate or prosecute. In several cases, court rulings are disregarded.
Fighting corruption is already a difficult mission. The abuse of state power compounds Nigeria’s accountability challenge. The government must be seen to be fair in applying sanctions and anti-corruption agencies must operate independently and within the scope of the law2.