Anticorruption Is Better Social Organisation
This article starts and concludes with the following sentence. “Governance and corruption are about social organisation on a scale that ranges from very good governance to terrible governance.” Good governance regarding government and organisations does not suggest the total absence of corruption. But serious corruption characterises terrible governance. It is important to focus on the definitions, approaches, perspectives and logics of corruption as long as they are appropriate.
However, it is unfortunate when the purpose of managing corruption with anticorruption is an outside consideration. Improving social organisation or maintaining high standards of enforcement is essential. Social organisation at its root is the ‘collective action’ of two or more people. As the numbers of people organised increase, so does the complexity of its management.
My article Is Nigeria More Corrupt Than Nigeria? (See http://wp.me/p1bOKH-C6) was a response to a phenomenon. One sparked by UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent remark that Nigeria was “fantastically corrupt.” President Muhammadu Buhari’s riposte to Cameron and how Nigerians took it. Receiving stolen wealth, the return of stolen wealth, and vast sums of money became the focus of the anti-corruption debate. However, it missed the central point. Finding material that focuses on the terrible governance that led to the opportunities and confidence by which they loot, with rapacity, is rare. It could show how they loot federal and state treasuries in Nigeria and cart it off via capital flight to “haven.” If the politicians organise Nigerian society with sanity, how great? The big thieves in society would not have big bounties they stole stashed away overseas or anywhere else.
The term “haven” nation, regardless of the colouring it receives, indicates that such a nation has a superior social organisation. We find such in their relatively stable economies, stable currencies, stable and increasing assets values, stable political climates, etc. Conversely, we cannot find such in the home of the thieving politicians, e.g. Nigeria. If Nigeria had the social organisation which haven nations, how great? It will swell Nigerian banks with foreign cash. The Nigerian tourism industry will be booming. Getting a Nigerian passport would be a life ambition for countless non-Nigerians, and so on. Would every Nigerian not like such a feat for their nation?
Proper social organisation and the good it produces for society is a topic, citizens of developing nations avoid. Reason: it leads to comparisons with nations that are well organised. Something which is not favourable to their sense of dignity. The one way they allow comparisons of developing nations with social organisation in developed nations. When it is some incidence of similar social dysfunction.
Comparisons of technological advancements, economic successes, with efficiency deliver public services, sporting excellence, cultural elegance are not welcome. What is welcome are comparisons of corruption, homelessness, police killing people, legislators’ expenses, lying politicians and system failures. Comparing what goes into the mouth is unacceptable. However, doing so for that which comes out of the anus is alright. Nigeria has failed its citizens. Its citizens have 1st world expectations but live with 3rd world realities. If you want to with subtlety deride a Nigerian, compare his or her nation to an advanced nation in some superlative issue.
We have political, economic and social approaches to social organisation, as is in evidence in all societies. The difference between advanced and developing nations is because of differing levels of social organisation. The instruments of social organisation are institutions which comprise a myriad of rule and regulations. It is a truism that societies in which institutions are best enforced are those that do the best political, social and economical senses. The only reason Nigeria is still a developing nation is that the nation never excels in any consistent period of in the arena of social organisation. As Confucius once said, “Confusion develops when a man has put everything in order”, the aim and process are never-finishing. Good today, bad tomorrow is not good enough. Nigeria has excelled in the arena of perpetrating corruption, though.
So far, Nigerian politicians and the return of stolen wealth from haven nations like Britain is the firm focus of the current wave of anti-corruption in Nigeria. The refund and return of stolen wealth and demanding infrastructures to realise such are fine. Nevertheless, what rational and concrete actions are Buhari executing? Executing to ensure that a Nigerian president will not even have to ask politicians or foreign governments for stolen wealth in the present time and in the future? What is being done on the Nigerian side? There are many big thieving politicians in government and impunity is something they enjoy in excess. Will that change soon?
The institutions, the rules and regulations, and the laws that will prevent corruption in Nigeria are not being updated. I.e. the social organisation to prevent current and future corruption appears not to be happening. While President Muhammadu Buhari was demanding stolen wealth from David Cameron, his Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, was to embroil himself in a corruption scandal. Furthermore, fuel subsidy removals which Buhari in public characterises as “fraud” by previous Nigerian governments have now become a centrepiece of his fuel policy. Many are so keen to see how the Buhari-led government will implement the first budget. Social organisation back home in Nigeria is not yet anywhere near impressive.
And I conclude, “Governance and corruption are about social organisation on a scale that ranges from very good governance to terrible governance.” Nigeria is not yet ready for that.