Femi Komolafe, a leadership development consultant and public speaker, speaks on the effect of the large scale frauds, corruption on the country and its image.
WHAT are your views on the large scale frauds perpetrated by government officials in the country?
The large scale frauds perpetrated by government officials in Nigeria is possible because people lack the basic knowledge of what leadership is all about, they think leadership position is an opportunity to be rich, not knowing it’s an opportunity to serve and to touch lives positively. It is lack of knowledge that brought about corruption in the first place and now the corruption has become a culture because it’s now hard to go into a political office and not steal. As a result, these large scale frauds have crippled the economy of the nation. The excess money Nigeria made from oil in the last 16 years before the present administration should be enough to finance our budget for two years without even selling oil at all, if not for the massive theft at the corridors of power. We hear news of how $20bn and so and so disappeared from the excess crude account, this could not have happened and the economy would be vibrant.
Effects of frauds on the country
Everyone now sees politics as the most lucrative job in the nation where you can quickly amass wealth because the majority of the richest people in Nigeria now are politicians or connected to highly-placed politicians. People no longer embrace the values of hard work, creativity and honesty in creating wealth. Consequently, we have crippled economy, bad image of the country in the international community, unfavourable environment for business and ideas, high rate of societal crimes like kidnapping, armed robbery, cyber crime, ritual killings etc. All these are the direct effects of large scale frauds in the nation.
What factors do you think are responsible for these monumental frauds?
Ignorance of what leadership is all about. Then the cost of getting into political offices is high; high cost of electoral forms and electoral campaigns. The lack of holistic messages by the religious bodies, lack of fear of God, a weak judicial system, celebrating those who have stolen in the society and high demands for money from politicians by the citizens instead of asking them for development are all responsible for these frauds.
With the new government in place, have we seen the last of these scams?
There is a great improvement on what we used to have concerning the war against corruption but we are still far from eliminating it from our society, as politicians are still stealing in this present government.
What do you think we can do as a country to stop such frauds?
We need to put a system in place that will make it extremely difficult for politicians and civil servants to steal; serious punishment needs to be given to those who have been found guilty like sentencing them to many years in prison and stripping them of all they have acquired from frauds. This will put fear in others. The citizens should stop asking politicians for money; instead we should ask them for development and put them under pressure to deliver on their campaign promises. We should stop worshipping and celebrating corrupt politicians, messages of godliness, honesty, hard work and contentment must be emphasised more in our religious institutions.