We need a moral rebirth as a country -Yusuf Ali

What do you think about the drain on our economy largely due to corruption, especially what we pay public officials?

The drain on our nation’s economy is not the salaries of these public office holders, it is the leakages and the corruption that is the problem, so for me, if you are given a salary and you earn it, so be it. The fundamental issues to address is to ensure that people get paid for a full days job and people also discharge their duties to earn a full day’s job. Let’s block all other leakages of corruption. Once we do that, we will be able to curb the menace of corruption to a large extent because what goes to corruption is more than 10 times what we pay public officials.

Question: What do we do as a country to curb the menace of corruption?

If you want to fight corruption, you have to be holistic in the whole approach; corruption is not something you fight from the top to the bottom, it is a whole thing. If you want to start by assuming that it is only political office holders that are corrupt, it is wrong. There is corruption in the profession, there is corruption in the trade, there is corruption in every facet of our national life. For me, we need a moral re-birth as a country. We must allow the young ones to know that corruption will destroy their future. We must get to a level where we have to look at corruption with disdain. If we don’t get to that level, we are joking. My theory is that Nigerians actually corrupt and encourage their leaders; corruption is not about monetary inducement alone. For instance, you are my brother, you are given an appointment and the first time I come to you, it is to request for a huge sum of money or a brand new car when in reality, your take home for a month is not even enough to buy you a brand new car. If I don’t it people will start complaining. The second point is maybe you have a child with a third class degree and there is a position with a high competition of various candidates with first class and second class upper but you insisted that the position should go to your child with third class; and you reject those who are better qualified, that is corruption.
Thirdly, in this country, there is hardly any community that people question the source of wealth of people; it used to be when we were younger. Now, someone who used to be a road side vulcanizer or a mechanic suddenly starts buying cars and building new houses, nobody asks questions. He takes the money to his community and people see him as a saviour. The same thing goes to churches and religious bodies. People collect bribes and pay tithe with the bribe money and nobodyasks questions. This is because our value system is gone.

Question: What do you think is the way out?

We have to start the doctrine of instilling moral values into our children; it may take time but we have to start somewhere. Let’s give our children the correct moral value, moral orientation; let each family stand out and do what is right. If I am not a thief and I don’t encourage my children to be thieves, the society will be safe. On this attitude of cutting corners by Nigerians, we are too interested in so many things, we should strive as Nigerians to avoid the attitude of cutting corners. It will go a long way in solving some of the problems.

Question: Can we get there with the way the incumbent president is going?

The problem we have is starting. Let’s just start something. If everybody were doing it like him, maybe we would have gone further and better. If the last administration’s efforts were on this note, maybe we would have gone far, so let’s start doing things that will besustainable.

Is there corruption in the Judiciary?

I have always been hearing about it. I have never taken part in it. Nigerians are fond of making allegations. I don’t like to run down institutions just because people have or are saying something. It is true that the society is corrupt and you cannot be of island of purity in a desert of madness, so for me we have to look at so many things. People should not make allegations because they want to; we have to be sure of our facts because the Judiciary still remains an institution that should be respected. I am not saying the judiciary is perfect,

Author: News Editor

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