A few things have happened in the past few days to remind me that while we speak against our government and demand transparency and accountability, we very much need to as regular citizens check our corruption.
It’s really in the little and not so little things that we do, and we dismiss it as “not such a big deal.”
We need a whole value reorientation when it comes to our dealings. It’s something that would take years, but it’s not unachievable.
“Our shared value in Nigeria is corruption. It’s the one thing that binds us without prejudice.”
From the tailors that we don’t trust to deliver on time (so we give them an earlier date) to the mechanics that we have to put an extra eye on, to vendors who cheat us out of our monies by giving us substandard goods, to cheating on tests and exams, too many other examples we can think of!
We know it, we see it every day, we live it every day, the many ways we exhibit it that we’re not a people of integrity.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that our systems and institutions allow us to be our most corrupt selves, but while fixing these systems would be great, we still need to change who we are at our core. We all must consciously decide every day to be better people. For a country as religious as ours, you would expect a high moral compass for most of us, but that is not what we see. We shouldn’t need to have someone or something watching or micromanaging us to do the right thing.
I will always advocate for demanding transparency and accountability from our government, but why do we hold government officials to higher standards than we hold ourselves or our fellow Nigerians? Let’s pause, and step inward to demand the same for ourselves in all our dealings.
Nsidibe-Abasi Joy Una is Program Officer at FollowTaxes