Nigeria’s tragedy lies in the fact that governance is organized around the idea of a few dispossessing the majority. After fifty-five years of missed opportunities and stunted growth, it is time the old predatory system was replaced by one that puts people at the center.
The Bribe Code is a bold step in that direction.
It would be impossible to put the people first unless the current, diseased system that fertilizes corruption is uprooted, and a new culture of transparency and accountability instituted.
Corruption is Nigeria’s most deadly, deadening virus. And I mean that in a literal sense. Corruption has robbed the country, at all levels, of the vision to define a viable healthcare system and the funds to bring it into being. The absence of a healthcare policy has led to a crisis in Nigeria. It’s meant that Nigerians, including infants, die needlessly and in large numbers from diseases that are easily preventable and treatable.
The widespread looting that goes on in Nigeria is directly responsible for these deaths. In a sense, Nigeria has three “healthcare” systems.
One: Those of its citizens who have the means—a tiny minority—fly to such foreign locations as the UK, France, the US, Canada, Germany, India, South Africa and Ghana, for medical treatment. Each year, medical tourism sucks billions of naira out of the Nigerian economy.
Two: The luckless majority, who are unable to afford foreign medical trips, are condemned to Nigerian hospitals that are often ill-equipped, run by ill-trained doctors and nurses, and expensive.
Three: The most destitute of the majority of Nigerians are not even able to afford the often sub-standard care in Nigerian hospitals. Many impoverished Nigerians, desperate for cure, troop to miracle-vending clerics, imams or traditional healers.
By finally disabling corruption, Nigerians would have enough funds to envision and create a robust healthcare system for all its citizens.
It’s not healthy when a few rapacious individuals are permitted to steal the resources of the broader community, and use their loot to guarantee to themselves access to sound healthcare—while their victims suffer. No country can achieve its potential when the vast majority of its citizens are unhealthy—or have little or no access to the best medical treatment.
Slaying the monster of corruption is key—in fact, the key—to fixing Nigeria’s woeful health sector. Less corruption means more funds available to Nigerians to pursue policies that advance the common good. More funds will translate into better public health education, better funding for medical schools, better equipment at hospitals, and the ability to attract some of the best doctors to set up practices in Nigeria.
Unless Nigeria establishes a system that identifies, combats and punishes corruption, the looters of public funds and their private sector collaborators are bound to persist in their ruinous ways. Let’s adopt a system that makes the corrupt pay and deters those who find corruption tempting. The very health and well being of all Nigerians depends on it.
And that’s why I say: I support The Bribecode.