The Reformist

The Nigerian newspapers nor the news on the social media or whatever form of media you patronise, be it factual or fabricated cannot be said to be pleasing, to those far and those near to the heart and the body of the Nation. I’ve heard people make jokes that talking about Nigeria can lead to an actual illness, physically, mentally and forgive me for sounding melodramatic here, spiritually. There is an ideology being spelt out and reinforced every day with every word and scenario we collectively experience and share as a nation be it from the media down to our daily interactions. This ideology has without no doubt nor effort formed a cancerous unit in the heart of our nation.

Now, not to sound like a broken record but you would have to understand my plight and my go-to reference to the one problem we face in this dear country of ours. None other than Corruption. I know this to be plain as day and it comes to you as no shock but I am not writing this to talk about the existence of corruption but rather the proliferation of the idea behind Corruption.

“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.(TransparencyInternational.org, 2016)

It is a simple enough definition involving the misuse/abuse of entrusted power. This is the aspect of the definition I am presenting for the purpose of this discussion. Which is the idea of ‘entrusted power’. It must be noted that this cuts across those elected into power, born into it and even kill for it which exists in all levels and facets that make up the society from the religious to the political, to the social, and economical. In essence, Corruption goes beyond what happens in the papers, or what one would term as a conversation starter. It is right in the heart and the soul of the people, and collectively the people unconsciously and consciously build the ideologies of a nation. Hence, it can be said there exists a directly proportional relationship between the thoughts, actions of a people and the proliferation of the idea behind corruption.

Although this is purely based on anecdotal evidence and I would agree it may fault my argument to some degree but nonetheless I proffer that it is an argument worthy of making even if it’s just for mind-stimulating purposes. I assume the Nigerian people are no different as regards the workings of this directly proportional relationship as presented above. However, I do not work with the concept that Nigeria does not present a unique and diverse demography but rather I am working on the premise of ceteris paribus. It, therefore, begs the question as to the best approach to work within this relationship we have found ourselves in. If we agree that ideologies are created and reinforced by a collective action of the people then we can make the inference that corruption is not an idea or sin perpetuated and wholly borne by our leaders. It is not any less our doing and cross as it is theirs. We could all chuck it up to the failings of the government (and specifically as some have put it the failings of the judiciary amongst many others) but in a simple and ‘flinstonian’ way of looking at it, the government is and would always be a reflection of the people, and the national values in existence.

By way of logic I can, therefore, conclude the ills of our government are the ills of the people. However, we fail to see this as we believe we are governed by those separate from us for the sake of not taking the blame. Classic Nigerian trait. But that is a topic for another day. Now, if I have succeeded in clearly getting across my perspective on this issue, then you would question my notion of the proliferation of the idea behind corruption and how even our daily interactions has contributed to such. You could argue that for the bliss that comes with self-induced ignorance we are not a part of this when in actual fact we are the problem. Ironically we created the problem by permitting corruption to be rooted firmly over time in the heart of the nation. By doing so we have made corruption the norm, and you would have to excuse the ‘clichéness’ of this when I say Corruption has become culture.

In this piece I have only pointed out what is obvious, the easy culprit if you may, but what I am fundamentally aiming for with this write-up is to bring closer to each and everyone of us a mirror (try not to think about Michael Jacksons ‘Man in the mirror’ here) and point out that on looking at the problem of Nigeria from a holistic standpoint we forget that the individual views are what defines us and how we operate collectively as one.

I would like to conclude this with a point which I believe could be dragged out comprehensively in another piece but for the purpose of not falling into the categories of those easy to point out the problems and failing to proffer solutions no matter how little they may be I will aim to do just that to the best of my knowledge. However, I must apologise in advance as my solutions are holistic as against my earlier standpoint of desisting from employing a holistic perspective of our problems as a Nation. You must admit, it is quite ironical and presents some humour to my argument. I am, therefore, of the opinion, (note: Opinion), that as well as an economical, political and religious reformation, a social reformation is as important if not more important to address the existence and the proliferation any further into our culture. Now the basic idea of reformism or being a reformist over time and history has been misconstrued as making a total overhaul because you see the flaws in the system as a whole and aim to make it perfect but in actual fact reformism is simply the idea of tinkering with bits and pieces of this and that, here and there, because you see the little flaws that contribute to the working of that system to make it an ideal working standard and not to that of perfection. In essence, the bits and pieces of this and that, here and there, has to do with us, the people, down to each individual so what I am saying is the proposal that I am no more of a reformist than you are.

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