Anti-corruption global watchdog, Transparency International (TI) just released its 2017 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which ranked Nigeria 148 out of 180 countries with score point of 28 out of 100. Nigeria score point is far below the average figure for the Sub-Saharan region put at 32 and reveals that the present administration has not made any significant progress in its avowed anti-corruption crusade; in the 2016 rankings, Nigeria scored 28, in 2015, it scored 26, in 2014, the country scored 27 and 25 in 2013 while in 2012, the country’s scored was 27 points.
CACOL consider this report as very timely for Nigeria to take stock of all the variable factors that are or may be responsible for this rating especially since CPI is a major instrument that prospective foreign direct investors would evaluate before any concrete decision is made on where to invest. Low ranking presupposes a State that is unstable and unsafe for investment. Nigeria is presently in dire need to woo huge investment to re-energise its industries and for infrastructural development.
The CPI rating should not be a basis for apprehension or lamentation but to accept the stark reality as a true reflection of the contemporary state of affairs in the country as well as a near scientific exact indication of what should be done to entrench transparent, good governance with zero tolerance for corruption and other social vices. Thus far, succeeding administration in the country have been attacking corruption superficially without fundamental up-rooting of its deep tentacles largely because of lack of political will to severely punish perpetrators and setting deterrents.
The first and most germane factor in our continued negative slip in the CPI is intrinsically linked with the collapse of the national economy. The adoption of neo-liberal economic policy have only succeeded in the country experiencing one economic crisis after the other; from the burden of bogus debt and attendant austerity measures, to perennial, acute multiple and compounded recession, inflation, depression, irascible crude oil market up to total neglect and de-industrialisation of the country’s economy. This economic crisis has foisted a perpetual regime of cutting corners and perversion of standards on the country, which is antithetical to conducive investment climate.
Another important dialectical factor is the aggravated insecurity in practically all facets of the country. The Transparency International CPI usually factor in question of security of lives and properties, conscription of democratic rights to freedom of information as having direct relations with incidences of corruption. Nigeria has high incidences of security challenges across virtually all its geo-political zones; the most recent dastardly, mindless herdsmen killings, the terror force of the Boko Haram in the North East, the separatist clamour of Independent Peoples’ Organisation of Biafra (IPOB) and Niger-Delta Militants in the South-East and South-South respectively as well as urban armed bandits, violent gangs in the South-West are signposts of instability within the polity, a vibrant breeding and feeding ground for corruption.
If Nigeria must make significant improvement in its anti-corruption ratings, it is not enough for Mr. President to profess the creed, the entire country must be seen to be manifestly pursuing the strides towards achieving the anti-corruption crusade. There must be no hiding place for corrupt individuals and organisation. More-importantly, we must accept a dire need for paradigm shift, because so long as we run a western-countries’ imposed socio-economic and political system, corruption would pervade our landscape. Only a fundamental system change can drastically reduce if not eliminate corruption in the country