Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,


I wager that many have come across the fable wherein a convict bit off his mother’s ear before his execution. Memories of the story make me laugh and imagine myself strolling through dark hallways in the minds of Diezani Allison Madueke, Gabriel Daudu, Sambo Dasuki, and their name-stabbing comrades at the time when the hands of the law finally caught up with them. I see them mentally strangling those who encouraged them to learn the ropes of corruption instead of keeping off such dastardly tracks. The bitter truth is; if mental attacks materialise into reality, we are all walking corpses because, in some way or the other, every one of us contributes to the widespread corrupt practices in Nigeria.


The insightful words of Abiodun Jamiu, the National Association of Campus Journalists, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, NACJ UDUS, ricochet against the walls of my mind. I now have a clearer picture of what he meant. He once said, “Every institution in this country is a small working Nigeria,” explaining that the smallest community in Nigeria mirrors the country as an entity because the same issues we bewail at the national level breathed their first at the micro-level. I couldn’t agree more with such an accurate extrapolation. How do we heap curses on the president and his cabinet yet become tyrants whence bequeathed insignificant seats of power‽


Have you ever wondered why individuals who enjoyed free education to a fault now blindfold educators and challenge them to a game of chess at the expense of their livelihood and their learners’ unhindered advancement? Have you ever questioned why you loathe the teaching profession but will graduate with double honours; Education and Yadda yadda? Mayhap it has never caused you to worry, but here is the unfiltered truth; I can tell you nothing because I have found no answers to these questions myself. But do you think the depressing phenomena that riddle Nigeria started in one day‽


Except you are a suckling, you think rightly that the problems of Nigeria did not begin on one fateful eve. These problems started long before they became pronounced – ages before we found names for their lot. We bred the many issues we mourn in the minutest components of our society viz our homes – of duos, troikas, dozens, grosses, and even larger sizes – our immediate environment, religious circles and educational institutions. We can never explain the wise and otherwise contributions of these points of call to the outlook of Nigeria well enough. We agree that “Charity begins at home”, but do we start the charity chain in our homes‽


Funnily, parents introduce their kids to the intricate art of corruption. They pass the ugly heirloom with white lies, thinking they are benign. Some even instruct their younglings to tell lies to cover up for them, eschewing that young minds are like sodden clay that takes commands from the potter. The circle of decadence begins when the leaders of tomorrow tell lies to evade chastisement and comeuppance, realising that deceit is an escape artist who helps people get away with their shortcomings. However, they fail to see that, like a dark covenant, one lie will demand a plethora of lies to assure its intelligibility.


It is right to believe that basic schools are homes of rejuvenation. The world expects instructors, who stand in loco parentis, to fill the parenting gap while students are away from their respective homes, reorienting them and reconditioning their mindsets to exude acceptable moral and cultural standards.


However, schools today are a colossal spoof of what they ought to represent. Morally-handicapped teachers spin the web of decadence further instead of helping to clear the perilous fog that hovers around their ‘children’. By word and deed, they pollute the minds of their learners and encourage them to find solace in the embrace of corruption. They sow the seeds of malpractice in their virgin minds, which can grow them massively if they do not receive proper reorientation subsequently.


Similarly, tertiary education is a far cry from what we expect. Students find tertiary institutions a suitable environment to grow their corrupt tendencies to insane levels, contrary to the idea that universities and colleges are springboards that launch youth into outer space after arming them with the skills necessary for reputable leadership. Unfortunately, decadent individuals get hold of lecturing jobs, and unsurprisingly, they milk the students of their prized possessions with the power they wield. Sometimes, they connive with student leaders to empty the students’ treasury and help them flee the wrath of the law afterwards.


It is needless to describe the extent of corruption in Nigeria as an entity because we are testaments of the precarious economic currency we enjoy, courtesy of our corrupt leaders. Our current situation is only a tip of an iceberg, relative to the backwash of continued tolerance of dishonesty and illegal practices in the primary institutions of our society. Our negligence of corrupt practices breeds future chaos that we only can avert.


We can end the nocuous reign of corruption with conscious efforts to rid our motherland of the Hydra-like monster that threatens our prosperity. While we await the dawn when we become leaders, we must prepare ourselves to take on the challenge of leadership with integrity, and it begins with a resolution you make now. As you make new year resolutions, tell yourself you want to end corruption in Nigeria and make sincere efforts to effect it.


In the sapient words of Gary W. Goldstein: All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything!

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