The fight against corruption will be effective when individuals, families and religious leaders champion the battle within their jurisdiction of control.
This was the submission of participants at a People's Parley, organized in Awka, Anambra State, by the University of Nigeria Nsukka Muslim Community or UNNMC in conjunction with Mambayya House, Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Studies, Bayero University, Kano.
Speaking on the theme of the event, ‘Promoting accountability and anti-corruption through behavioural change approaches’, the participants opined that the battle against the social scourge must be personal so that it will not be seen as "government's exclusive responsibility."
A Muslim cleric, Jimoh Aliyu, regretted, "We focus more attention on those in government, while corruption is eating deep into the society."
"Religious organizations have failed. In a country dominated by Muslims and Christians, corruption still thrives even inside the house of God."
“Why are the religious leaders complaining?” he asked. "It is what they have given to the society that the society is giving back to them"
“Your son just went to Lagos and you know he is not working. He came home with a jeep and you don't ask questions. You are the corrupt person. The fight must start from your home. Always remember the day of accountability.”
A pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Chris Onothoja, explained that corruption is as old as human existence and is being fuelled by greed.
“Right from the garden of Eden, the devil corrupted the mind of the woman. Corruption is a thing of the mind. It is a spiritual matter.
"Corruption came because people have been blindfolded and they want to enjoy what is meant for others. Destinies are not the same and we should not be restless to be what we are not meant to be," he warned as he noted that “it is only the word of God that can transform a man.”
Onothoja observed with dismay how corruption is cutting the lives of many short especially the youths who want to get rich quickly.
"If you can't beat them, you join them is not a good way of life. Shine the light of God wherever you find yourself. That is how to dispel the darkness of corruption. Let us not conform any longer to the standard of this world," he admonished Nigerians.
The Director, University of Nigeria Nsukka Muslim Community or UNNMC, represented by the Accounting Officer for the project, Chuks Anyachonkeya, explained that though corruption has become endemic in the Nigerian society, "We believe it can be fought to a stop. Each of us should take up the responsibility to halt corruption from ourselves, our families and the society at large.
"The moment we inculcate the fear of God and do the right thing at the right time, the society will be livable for all of us. Do your bit to kill corruption. Change of attitude and behaviour is key to evolving a corruption free society," he concluded.
The meeting featured an interactive session during which participants shared their experiences with corruption and committed themselves to taking the anti-graft campaign to their various spheres of influence.