Nigeria, whether we like it nor not, is one of the world’s most corrupt countries. According to the 2019 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International, Nigeria is the 146 least corrupt nations out of 180 countries, and the ongoing government led by President Muhammadu Buhari is no doubt making appreciable progress in ending the opprobrious practice.
There is no denying the fact that corruption is lush in Nigeria but so is nepotism, or favoritism granted to family, friends and individuals. However, many believe corruption is worse than nepotism.
Despite the undemocratic implications of nepotism in practice, particularly in the recent times, it is becoming worrisome to hear political leaders unashamedly open their mouths to say that they will not probe perceived corrupt leaders, particular their predecessors. For instance, when Chief Rotimi Akeredolu in 2016, then as the Ondo State Governor-Elect, having contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and while still basking in the euphoria of victory at a media parley, responded to a question of public interest on the November 26 governorship election in the state.
At the parley he was asked, “Do you have plans to probe the Mimiko’s administration?” He responded, “I have said it several times. I have been elected to come and work for the state. There was never a time I said so during the campaign that I will probe the immediate past administration. I have said so. I am not interested in such things. It is a mere distraction, let me go and do my own work, anybody who comes after me, if he wants to probe me let him probe me but for me I want to serve the people of this state, that is my focus and leave. But I have said so if anybody commits any crime, we have enough laws to take care of it”.
Irrespective of the propriety; if there is any, that is inherent in the foregoing response, the fact that nepotism have resulted to bias in decision-making, unfair treatment and losses to the performance in the nation’s economy in the long term cannot be ignored. The reason for the foregoing view cannot be pooh-poohed as views expressed or postulated by political observers have proven that nepotism makes people feel demotivated, lacking in confidence and alienated. It also hinders competition and innovation.
These consequences can weaken a nation’s economy and eventually will impact on the wellbeing of the people. Not only can nepotism affects the performance of a country’s economy, it is potential enough to heighten the level of corruption as it is potentially inherent with damaging impacts far greater than we thought.
Nepotism is indeed bad for the economy but it appears that our leaders see its consequences as harmless; both to the economy and the people.
Against the foregoing backdrop, it is germane to opine that corruption is the abuse of power for private gain while nepotism means the abuse of power that is extended to support a specific group’s interest, usually based on personal greed.
Ostensibly to regurgitate his stand on not being in the disposition to probe Mimiko, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has just few days ago denied threatening to expose him (Mimiko), to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The governor’s resolve was conveyed by a statement issued and signed on his behalf by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo. Ojogo described the statement ascribed to Governor Akeredolu by some elements in the state as not only untrue, puerile and utterly mischievous, but also a calculated attempt to cause disunity between him and his friend.
Ojogo said in the statement that Akeredolu has nothing against the immediate past governor of the state and would prefer to allow posterity to intercede and interpret the roles of men in whatever form.
The statement stated that, “the attention of the Ondo State Government has been drawn to a viral post circulating in a section of the social media.
“The post specifically makes allusion to an imaginary statement ascribed to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, wherein he allegedly threatened to expose his friend of over four decades and former governor, Olusegun Rahman Mimiko, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The widely circulated storyline is untrue, puerile and utterly mischievous. It is, in all intents, a cleverly laid path for the two friends to engage in needless mudslinging.
“It is, perhaps, pertinent to state unequivocally that Governor Akeredolu does not desire, not even in the least of anyone’s imagination, to travel such pernicious path typical of those who have taken the route of perfidy for sake of their political ambitions.
“We have since wished them well even in their self-inflicted tears of treachery and betrayal.”
The statement stated further that “clearly too, the former governor, in Governor Akeredolu’s view, is well acquainted with the antecedents of those who have chosen to embrace any straw, including those they had mindlessly plotted against in the past, to keep their waning political comfort zones afloat.
“Nonetheless, while Governor Akeredolu has nothing against his friend and immediate past predecessor, he has chosen to allow posterity to intercede and interpret the roles of men in whatever form.
“In this regard, the friendship of the duo shall remain unaffected by the current political permutations, alignments and realignment, however impotently strange. Governor Akeredolu shall maintain that cordiality even in the face of opportunism.
“It must, however, be noted that Governor Akeredolu remains unperturbed by forces of whatever colouration.
“He is resolute and unwavering in his belief that a more debilitating defeat awaits those who have chosen to travel the route of conspiracy come, October 10, 2020.”
To say that the governor’s stand on this issue is narcissistic, and not for the interest of the people of Ondo State who he represents as the governor is an understatement, the reason for the foregoing perspective cannot be farfetched as corruption and nepotism collectively denotes a Siamese twin that is diametrically opposed to people-oriented political and social system. To my view, “Is the governor saying that peradventure Mimiko is petitioned against by any Ondolite or interest group that he will not respond to the petition?
There is no denying the fact that most democrats have unanimously agreed that corruption is bad. They had in the same vein agreed that the negative impact of neptism on the economy and the wellbeing of the people is as worse as corruption that usually come across as bribery, embezzlement, abuse of authority and money laundering.
While I bring this piece to the point of conclusion, Akeredolu should realize that his stand; from all ramifications is undemocratic, and that nepotism tantamount to inequity. In the same vein, he should look at its consequences from the point of view of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, which says “Nepotism is based on favoritism granted to relatives in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities”.
Against the foregoing backdrop, there is no denying the fact that discriminatory treatment of the people, as long as governance is concerned, makes people to become lazy. The foregoing view cannot be easily argued against as nepotism removes competition and stymies people’s motivation, making innovation impossible to achieve.