Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Corruption, Accountability And Transparency For Sustainable Development

Book review by Adewale Adeyanju

BOOK: Corruption, Accountability And Transparency For Sustainable Development, Edited by Ayorinde Aderinwale ALF Publications (Africa Leadership Forum

The book which contains 259 pages and about 5 chapters provides insights into the heart-rending paradox of Nigeria as a stupendously rich country with a desperate poor people. The book explained why, despite its massive earnings from oil, 70% of Nigeria is estimated 120
million people live below the poverty line. The book identify gaps in current policy initiatives and frameworks for combating corruption in Nigeria; Facilitate the creation of a broad based network for combating corruption as well as review administrative capacity of the government and other actors for enforcing sanctions against corrupt practices. Finally, it takes religion and spirituality as one sure way to remedied the sitaution if we all change our ways and be of God-like character.

This book is an outcome of a proceeding of a conference organised by the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) held between 7th - 9th February, 2003 and edited by Dr. Ayodele Aderinwale, Executive Director of ALF.

This book dealt in depth as to the reasons why Nigerians are corrupt. It is because both the haves and have nots are corrupt. I am made to understand that there is corruption of need. There is corruption of greed and there is corruption as a result of systemic failure. Some people are corrupt because of needs and opportunities and they know they can get away with it. You need money to sort out yourself. Like a man whose children are sick, he needs money to address the hospital bill. His income is small. He is where they smuggle goods and offered fifty thousand Naira (N50,000:00) as bribe. One would say he should not be corrupt because God frowns at it. Another will say his children must not die.

Police onroad with guns, not paid 2 or 3 months with wife and children at home must be catered for. Government should address system issue, things that government is supposed to provide. You should have on ground a system that make things work. When you create a crisis you
provide avenuefor corruption. An excample is the fuel scarcity resulting in queue. People beat the queue. A rational person will thinkof what to do. Do I give N200 or N300 to beat it at the expense of 3 or 4 man hours? The value of my time is more than N200. You can also contend with getting fuel importation through Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the problems assocaited with it. Sometimes, scarcity is created to make room for corruption.

Sanction has to be imposed to stem corruptionfrom thriving. For this to happen, the government need to have the political will and committment to fight corruption. Since corruption does not come to the society overnight, we should recourse to spritual and spirituality if the battle must be won. For example, if we recourse to the Bible in the book of proverbs, Solomon says "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is reprocah to any people". It is suggested that man should seek God and his ways will be clean.

In the Holy Bible, we were given account of how man fall. This shows how badly things have gone wrong. Not only is man's relationship with God disturbed, but also that with his environment. Loss of fellowship with God at Eden and subsequent expulsion from the lofty garden marked
the begining of a self-destructive and unsustainable lifestyles that threatens the natural environment, other creatures and man himself.

Book makers have given to the world another buzz word "green ethics" - a concept that seeks to strike a balance between human activities and the God - given environment, which calls for a paradigm shift from the old ways of doing things; lifestyles and activities that endanger the common destiny of human kind. The Bible's New Testament scriptural reality confronts man at his wits end. It is imperative call to change from responsible care and stewardship to his creator in natural resources utilisation, wealth creationand material prosperity. This will definitely require a change of heart and re-orientation in value systems that brings about a perfect harmony between man, his creator, other creatures and the global environment.

A spiritual awakening in mankind of the original purpose of God in terms of fellowship, bearing his image and dependence on Him will engender a new coinduct and disposition which will subsequently impact his physical relationships and activities in a positive manner for the overall good of mankind.

Emil Brummer captures this succintly when he wrote in his open citation as follows: "A civilisation and culure which has severed its connection with God, and thinks more of achievement than of p[ersons, necessarily becomes inhuman. It loses its true centre, and thus
disintegrates into sectional spheres and sectional interest, each of which comes into conflict with others and tries to develop itself at the cost of the rest. True civilisation and true culture can only
develop where the cultural creation and activity is directed and ordered from a centre which transcends culture.

A culture or civilisation which is indifferent to morals and religion is bound to degenerate. Religion and morality however, are identical, where God of Holy Love is known as the foundation of all being, and His will is the norm of all moralitry; that is where man knows himself to have been created by God for love, and for communion with God of love in faith through Jesus Christ.

Upon this foundation alone also will man use his mastery of nature aright; only thus will he be preserved from a selfish, arrogant exploitation of nature which is a p[erversion of his powers. Man is not called to an absolute, arbtrary mastery of nature buit to a mastery of nature which remains under the order of the creator, and therefore honours and loves created universe as God creation.

This book summarises why we all need to choose God and path to spirituality so that we all can achieve sustainable development.

Adewale Adeyanju