By Vincent Umoh
Preamble: I thought when corruption is mentioned, it simplymeans the money being embezzled by politicians and the extortion by Security personnel.
Thetown hall meeting I attended, which was organized by Kebetkache Women Developmentand Resource Centre on the June 14, 2019 in Port Harcourt Tag Gender,Accountability and Open Government Partnership (OGP) opened my ears and eyes toknow the different faces of corruption.
Iwill continue to feel incomplete if I don’t share the different faces ofcorruption that I took home that day. Some faces resemble a masquerade, whilesome have human faces. I hope you will patiently read the many faces ofcorruption, even if any resembles what you have done in the past or what you dofrom time to time.
Iperceive corruption to be an action that destroys the society. Apart from themany faces of corruption which I want to share, the name or word corruption wasalso perceived as a virus, leprosy, stealing by tricks, abnormal life,fraudulent act, etc.
Iwant to begin mentioning the faces of corruption from home, since the firstteacher that a child has is his /her parent. There was a mother who took herlittle son to a private school for enrollment. The mother was very fond of herson and wanted him to be promoted always by the proprietress of the school. Themother formed the habit of giving all sorts of gifts to the proprietress fromtime to time. The child was popularly known as an excellent boy because thatwas a nick name given to him by the proprietress. Something happened which Iwon’t tell you now. The excellent childwas taken to another school for admission. He gained admission alright with hishigh grade but his performance dropped.
The ‘Excellence’ title dropped as well. Corruption face one has taught us that a good free hand foundation is the best, not through bribery and corruption.
The second face of it is in the Educational Sector (Schools), which face looks like that of a Masquerade. This one happens mostly during WAEC and NECO examinations. Many students will leave the urban schools to rural schools, which are kilometers away from their urban base, sometime the road to these schools are dreadful which prevent examiners from visiting for supervision.
The students do this because their parents are aware that there are a lot of examination malpractices in the rural areas. The teachers that supervise the examinations collect or extort money from the students, so as to allow them cheat as they want. English and Mathematics cost more than other subjects. Some teachers sell examination papers to the students before the examination is taken. This face looks like masquerade because some school principals do not have a good idea of what goes on during the examination periods. This practice has prevented the students from studying hard, bearing in mind that they will also run to the rural area schools during the examination periods.
I call Face three Public Service Sector. This refers to public offices or ministries where you have Head of Service,Permanent secretaries and Commissioners, Directors or Ministers as the case may be. Most of the named prominent men and women have their letter-headed papers. They supply stationeries and other items through their different companies, some of which have not been registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission. They award contracts to themselves and submit their letter-headed filled receipts to themselves. This third face of corruption compels people going to offices for findings to buy files and plain sheets of papers to enable them photocopy documents. Sometimes,you have to pay to enable them find your file for you as a civil servant. It is becoming worst in the public sector because those who have God-fathers have denied their involvement. They instead accuse Snakes and Gorillas of swallowing missing funds.
Ifeel like going on and on but something in me is asking me to stop and facerecommendations in order to see if there will be a future with no face ofcorruption.
- Parents should give their children free hand tolearn, and encourage them to study at home.
- Owners of private schools should not promote pupils,students because of the incentives from the parents.
- The organizers of school certificate examinations mustmake sure that competent supervisors are sent to schools during examinations.Thesupervisors’ job should not be assigned to ordinary teachers in the schools.
- The Open Government Partnership, OGP, should beintroduced in the three tiers of Government. This will reduce the corruption inthe public sector.
- Awarenesscreation of the OGP should be taken to the grass root, even though the top isknown to be more corrupt than the bottom.
Compiled by Vincent Umoh
#Gender And Accountability