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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Corruption: Is the death sentence the solution?

By Bolanle BOLAWOLE turnpot@gmail.com

There is no denying the fact that corruption has become endemic in our country Nigeria and that it has eaten very deep into every fabric of the society. I listened to a vox populi on social media some days ago where Nigerians who had “japa” from the country were asked whether they would “japada” Not a single one of them said they would!

Why, they were asked, and they answered that it is because the situation that forced them out of the country has not changed. The country’s problems, they added, are leadership and corruption. Tame corruption and Nigeria will become a better place, they said. Enthrone good leadership and the country will, in no time, become the same Eldorado that its citizens “japa” on a daily basis in search of.

It is common knowledge that Nigeria is not short of solutions to its problems, implementation has always been the problem. Who will bell the cat, as they say? Karl Marx hit the nail right on the head when he posited that “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world. The point, however, is to change it”

On Saturday, 27 April, 2024 at the online publication, Treasure newspaper’s first public lecture and award ceremonies held at the Conference Hall of Solab Suites Hotel, FUTA South Road, Akure, Ondo state, the controversy over whether or not the death penalty was sine qua non for taming corruption reared its head again. Guest lecturer, Segun Maiyegun, a household name in student union and pro-democracy activism, voted for public execution of corrupt Nigerians. The topic of his lecture was “Home-grown economy as a road map for economic sustainability: Examining the prospects under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration”.

“I am calling for the death sentence on anyone who embezzles”, Maiyegun said unequivocally. But speaking later, the Ondo State Honourable Commissioner for Information, Mr. Wale Akinlosotu, who stood in for his governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, disagreed. According to him, Nigeria must toe the line of international best practices on the subject matter, adding that there are enough laws in the country’s statute book to effectively tackle the cankerworms of corruption.

Pointing to China’s example of the death penalty for corruption, Maiyegun had said that “harsh punishment“ is needed to deter corrupt practices. He also advocated an understanding of the inner workings of political economy because politics, according to him, “is the answer to economic problems. We need people to understand the interplay and contributions of individuals” to national development. He advocated restructuring that will devolve more powers over control of resources from the Centre to the states while also calling for a free marketplace of ideas and knowledge. “People want to know their leaders; let the leaders come closer to the people”, he said.

Pro-democracy activist and chairman of the occasion, Debo Adeniran, argued that practical steps were needed to turn the country’s comatose economy around. He said critical minds are required to ask critical questions that would proffer solutions to the country’s myriad problems. “I give it to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu: he was in the streets, too. He was with us in the streets. If there is anything happening, he intervenes”. He was referring to those years of the struggle to end military rule when Tinubu was an activist who marched in the streets with other pro-democracy activists. “I am not a fan of Tinubu but he intervenes when there are issues”, he added for emphasis.

One other serious problem that was discussed at the event was that of insecurity and the role played by the proliferation of light or small arms. The Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the National Centre for the Control of Small arms and Light weapons, Mr. Benson Sola Akinlade, said the country’s economy cannot thrive in an atmosphere of insecurity because, according to him, economic sustainability is inseparable from security sustainability. Highlighting the Centre’s efforts at preventing and controlling the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, he said thousands of such illicit weapons have been successfully mopped up.

Akinlade, however, raised concern about what he termed the activities of an unauthorized outfit called the National Commission on the Control of Small and Light Weapons falsely presenting themselves as the focal organization for small arms control. “The action of these unauthorized bodies has the propensity to further compound the already complex task of small arms and light weapons control and may potentially result in confusion and lack of of credibility, leading to administrative disputes, which may hinder the Centre from carrying out its mandate effectively”

It is important for the relevant authorities to look into this allegation. Proliferation of small arms and light weapons is at the core of the country’s insecurity woes. This, in turn, has bled the country, causing it to lose scarce resources that could have gone into other pressing needs. In addition, insecurity has driven farmers off the farm, leading to the escalating cost of foodstuffs. Millions have been displaced from their homes and, for the first time since Independence, the country suffers the scourge of internally-displaced persons, with crushing burdens on both the state and Federal Government.

Day after day, week after week, month after month and years-on-end, ideas that can lead to the building of a prosperous, peaceful and secure Nigeria are marketed all over the country; the Treasure Newspaper lecture is another example. The event was well attended by the intelligentsia and politicians alike. But, away from that, is anyone listening? Are the relevant authorities taking note? Will anything useful come out of the ideas freely traded at the event? The answer, as they say, blows in the wind!

FEEDBACK

RE: Giving Sanwo-Olu a bad name

Payment of 70k by that woman for crossing into BRT lane at Mile 12! Very terrible situation! I pray God intervenes soon! Thanks for the exposure. – Pastor Seun Sogunro.

They (LASTMA, VIO and FRSC) are the worst enemies of the people on Lagos roads and in our streets. Thank you for speaking out about your observations and for the good suggestions you gave. If Sanwo-Olu has ears, let him hear! – Palcorub.

The best write-up ever! The scenario is the same throughout Lagos state. Other “terrorist groups in Lagos” that should be added are the “Area boys and Lagos Agberos”. Hope the governor of Lagos state will read this piece and act ASAP. Motorists are at mercy of these people. – Prof. Akinwunmi Akinbo.

Sir, your support for State Police is based on the principles of Federalism and, in Nigeria, it goes into the heart of our problems, which is FUNDAMENTAL. In thinking of reconsidering your support for State Policing because of the actions of LASTMA, VIO and the rest is to indicate that the current Federal police that we have does not engage in the same extortionist practices of demanding for vehicle papers that do not exist, even to the extent of demanding for your vehicle’s Custom clearance papers that they know nothing about! You are the conscience of the people in the public arena and the antagonists of State Police will use the actions of these thugs/thieves in uniforms as an added excuse in their quest to maintain the status quo. Regardless Sir, it’s still a great write-up as usual. – Dele Asaju.

Thank you for your incisive analysis at all times. To me, Road Signs should be everywhere, particularly at the spot you mentioned, so that no one will innocently transgress the law. Anyone who breaks traffic laws should face the music. Why is it that we diligently obey the law when we are out of the country but break the law with impunity at home? No doubt, the excess of the LASTMA, VIO and FRSC should be curtailed. It is a thing of shame that FRSC has joined the bandwagon. The current crops are doing a lot of disgraceful things to their progenitor – Wole Soyinka. – Owo is One group.

Thank you for exposing the illicit operations of the LASTMA, VIO and FRSC on Lagos roads. Your article only reinforces an old issue already in the public domain. Unfortunately, there is no sign that the administration of Gov. Sanwo-Olu is taking concrete steps to stop the corrupt behavior of the officials concerned, as expounded in your article. Gov. Fashola was up to the task when he was in office. He drastically curtailed bad conduct among Lagos State officials, especially the notorious agencies LASBCA, VIO, LASPPPA, LASTMA, etc. Under Sanwo-Olu, it seems that there are no consequences for bad conduct. The LASG hears/reads public complaints but will seldom act or prefer to keep mute. Who does that? Sanwo-Olu should brace up! His officials must be reined-in for bad behavior. – Yacoob Abiodun.

Thank you for the piece on Dana Air mishap. Air mishaps are not supposed to be as frequent as we have on motorways. When they happen, the top echelon of the society is usually affected because they are the ones able to afford air travel. A lot of people have air travel phobia. You can imagine the catastrophe the crash of a large-bodied aircraft, say, carrying about 500 persons, would cause! If and when it happens, the top echelon of the people is usually affected, but this does not happen often.

I make bold to say that air travel is the safest. First, let’s consider the reasons for the safety of an aircraft:

1. Personnel. a. The Captain: he is a well-trained professional pilot who must have flown so many hours on the aircraft or the prototype before he is given the captainship of the aircraft. b. The first officer; he, too, is a well-trained professional with many flying hours on the aircraft or the prototype. The two collaborate to fly the aircraft. c. Cabin crew. These are well-trained cabin executives. They take care of the passengers in accordance with international best practice. Their number on each flight depends on the number of passengers carried.
2. Unseen personnel a. Aircraft maintenance engineers. These are responsible for the routine maintenance and turnaround checks of the aircraft. 3. Other personnel: a. Air traffic controllers. These are well-trained professionals who monitor and ensure that the aircraft is not in conflict with any other aircraft in flight or with vehicles in the maneuvering area. 4. Emergency personnel: a. Fire-fighting crew. These are available on all airports handling commercial flights.

Causes of aircraft accidents can be categorized into 3: a. Machine failure. The aircraft is a machine put together with human brain knowledge. It can fail due to fatigue or any other reason traceable to human imperfection. b. Human error in operating the aircraft. This is usually pilot error, air traffic controller error or error by other personnel involved in the operation of the aircraft. c. Act of God. This is an accident or incident brought about by weather conditions or eruptions like volcanoes.

The Dana incident may be due to an act of God. It had been raining in Lagos and the aircraft skidded off the runway on landing. We thank God that no life was lost. There can be issues with pools of water on the runway during or immediately after a rainfall. FAAN is the agency that can ensure that the runway is well cambered to ensure adequate drainage of the runway after raining.

It’s well within your right to get an adequate refund for services not rendered. A lot of airline customers are shortchanged when it comes to flight cancellations or delays. – Pa EK Odeleye.

* Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

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