Gift, Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria: A Philosophical Re-Interpretational
Deezia Burabari Sunday
Bribery and corruption are negations of the true principles of a gift. It is a conscious inducement for an after favor, and thus, violates the principles of public life. Gift in whatever form is not bad in itself, but becomes bad or a bribe when the intents and circumstances is already pre-staged. In Nigeria, bribery and corruption are condemned as evil, but they condone ‘goodwill payment’ ‘greasing payment’ and ‘solvent donations’ from or to persons in positions of authority for facilitation of files, jobs, contracts and appointment, etc., thus, practicing bribery and corruption in disguise. This paper adopted the philosophical method using ethical theories with special reference to Aristotle’s virtue ethics theory. The research focuses on a critical juxtaposition of gift and bribery, forms and cost of corruption on nation building as well as the way forward on how to curb this virus that has eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigeria’s society. The paper observed that the consequences of unethical practices and corruption do not only destroy personal virtue and social values, but as well retard development, weaken social institutions, pervert justice, and thus responsible for the current economic recession and unpurposeful leader as the country continue to journey without the will. The paper, therefore, advocated for the moderation of passion through the enactment/ enforcement of coercive laws, and as well calls for the government to intensify efforts in carrying out corrupt-free value re-orientation and moral regulation in Nigeria.
Keywords: gift, bribery, corruption, ethics, philosophy.
Author: Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt.
Corruption as a global issue encompasses a variety of behavior, of which bribery is the commonest and most damaging. A bribe is a ‘gift’ money, properly privilege or any payment offered to entice another party into providing something that the briber wants (Shield 2011). Typically, the payment of a bribe occurs to someone in a position of authority or to a public official who is ready to violate some official duties or responsibilities of his office. To some people, a bribe is only a solvent or lubricant to overcome and bypass excessive bureaucratic inflexibility, sluggishness, and bugging. While to others, bribery is a dishonest behavior, conduct that violates trust vested in politicians, business people, and bureaucrats at all level. On the other hand, appropriate gifts and hospitality have an acceptable form of/and value that is proportionate to circumstances; they are offered openly, with legitimate intent and no expectation of returns.
However, scholars have argued that any relationship, including love, or those that engage in a kind of symmetrical equality, is pre-staged by an asymmetrical initiative to give something to somebody for nothing (Verhezen 2009). It is often impossible to precisely determine or demarcate that finite line since these conceptual reciprocal and unilateral gift practices remain over lapping and ambiguous in reality. Thus, the dividing line between a ‘gift’ and a ‘bribe’ is sometimes hard to draw.
Again, bribery and corruption are intimately linked but separable. A person bribed is a person corrupt, but a man may lack morals and does not take bribes (Bayley, 1966). The notion that bribery is the most glaring instance of corrupt conduct is widespread. In this common conception, the crime of bribery is at the epicenter of a service of concentric circles representing the various degree of corruption. Unlike other forms of corruption, bribery is widely regarded as having fixed boundaries.
In Nigeria, corruption manifest in their national ethos, politics’ civil society, public and private sectors of business and commerce. Their health/ educational system, moral preferences and the whole economic machinery of their society stink and ooze with the stench of corruption. Every level of the Nigeria society has been deeply affected by a pervasive and depilitating culture of corruption. Nigeria is rated as one of the most corrupt nations in the world (Ochulor, 2011). This prevalence of corruption betrays a latent decay in their ethical values and orientation. It shows the futile attempt to build a political society without foundational reference to the religious-ethical principles of justice, transparency, altruism, accountability and a service-oriented notion of leadership. It shows a leadership praxis that promotes the selfish interest of a selected few at the expense of the common good which has been acclaimed by philosophers as the essence of the formation of political society (Uduigwomen 2006).
Indeed, it is a paradox that Nigeria, a country that is one of the world largest exporters of crude oil has more than 70 percent of its population living below the poverty line as a result of corruption and economic mismanagement. Pathetically, the logic of the Nigeria political leadership class has been that of self-service as some of the leaders are mired in the pursuit of selfish and personal goals. Hence, the above views have posed a lot of questions; what are the reasons for and against bribery? To what extent does gift becomes a bribe? Why are bribery and corruption so attractive despite it cost on the Nigeria society? What are the solutions to this culture of corrupt practices that are perceived to be a trend in Nigeria?
Sequel to this, it is important to note that the differences in cultural and individual perception at the top of the inherent ambiguity of the gift increase the need for a reinterpretation into gift practices in their context, as bribes are offered in the form of a gift. The paper further argues that the development of moral virtues by Nigerians who cares about working ethical decision and promoting ethical egalitarian society, can also raise the standard of living and generate what could be termed ‘moral goodness from an Aristotelian virtue ethics perspective.
Ethical theories are bodies of ideas put together by scholars for the purpose of application. They are ways in which scholars try to recommend touchstones with which human actions/conduct can be judged (Awajiusuk, 2012).
Ethical theories could be classified into the consequentialist and non-consequentialist (Pettit, 1995; Sinnott-Armstrong, 2008). Consequentialist denoted that the focus of moral reasoning is the outcome of a certain action, whereas in non-consequentialist theories the focus of moral reasoning is the underlying principles of a decision maker’s motive (Crane and Matten, 2004). In this sense, an action is morally right because its underlying principles are morally right not because of potentially favorable consequences. Some non-consequentialist ethics are referred to as ‘deontological’ from the Greek word for duty (Deon).
Utilitarianism is a consequentialist philosophy because it proposes that an action is moral when its consequences maximize the happiness of the greatest number of people involved (Tzoanou 2013). On the contrary, Kantian deontology is non-consequentialist as it claims that the moral duty of an individual is to act according to universalizable moral principles. Aristotle virtue ethics is teleological but non-consequentialist; this is different, in that it looks to outcomes and goals as well as the disposition of the agent.
Aristotle’s virtue ethics is also known as aretaic ethics, derived from the Greek word for virtue (arete) (Thomposon, 2003). Virtue ethics dates back to the classical Hellenistic tradition; Maclntyre (2004) explains that it remains the principle approach in western philosophy. Virtue ethics holds that individuals ought to exercise moral virtues so that they will develop the ability to do the right thing at the right time and in the way. The main objection to the line of thoughts is that it does not provide any rules or guidelines as to what the virtuous way to act is. Princoffs (1971) and MacDowell (1979) both claims that the lack of action guidance means that virtue ethics should be utilized to complement utilitarian and deontological theories rather than being considered as a distinct normative moral philosophy. Apparently, this is because the calculated and prescriptive nature of utilitarianism and Kantian deontology claims to offer a solution to the quest ‘what should one do,’ whereas the theoretical, and practical foundation of virtue ethics lies in the question ‘what sort of person should one be.’
In response, Anscombe (1958) and Hursthouse (2007) states that, “this nothing more than a misinterpretation, and explains that within the virtue ethics framework, actors guidance is offered through the application of moral virtue and vices. In virtue ethics; the types of behavior to be avoided can be found in propositions such as ‘do what is honest’ do not do what is dishonest.” This shows that virtue ethics is concerned with the development of moral knowledge, practical, experiences and active participation.
In the context of this study, it is argued that bribery and corruption are moral issues as they are concerned with the questions of right/wrong and good/evil. Corrupt activities entail decisions that might be considered morally wrong and undermined values such as injustice, honesty as well as care and respect for others.
Gift: A gift is a present, favor or a postpaid; it is something giving voluntarily without payment in returns. It is never asked and never specified, most time it is unexpected by the receivers. In most cases, it comes with prayers and gratitude from the giver.
Bribe: A bribe is a ‘gift’ or a payment presented by a briber who expects a special consideration in return. It is to dishonestly persuade someone to act in one’s favor by a gift of money or another inducement. In other words, it is the act of giving something of values or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alternation of their behavior (to the benefit/interest of the giver) that the receiver would otherwise not alter. Bribery and corruption are therefore, a conscious negation, or violation that exceeds legal boundaries that guarantee or safeguard standards acceptable form of behavior in the society.
It is difficult to define the term corruption. Hence, in an attempt to minimize this difficulty, Gerald and Caiden (1977) suggested three definitions of corruption: public interest, public duty and market-centered. Public interest corruptions refer to bribery or other rewards leading a functionary to favor those who offer bribes and damage the public interest in the process. Public duty corruption refers to behavior that deviates from the formal duties of a public role because of so-called privation-regarding pecuniary or status gains. Market Centered corruption refers to attempts by individuals or groups to influence the bureaucracy. The Caidens comment on the weakness of each definition, such as imprecision of public interest concept, the ambiguity of “undue influence,” “misuse of authority,” and “public irresponsibility,” and the difficulty of dealing with divergent social norms for the conduct of public office. (Garofalo, Geuras, Lynch & Lynch 2001). It was in this view that Drowed (1978) observed thus;
A problem of ethics in the public service may be said to exist whenever public servants, individually or collectively, use positions, (or give appearance of doing so) in a way which compromises public confidence and trusts because of conflicts of loyalties or values or as a result of attempts gains at the expense of public welfare or common good (8.)
The word ‘ethics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘ethos,’ which means “customs.” It shares similar meaning with yet another word ‘mores’ which means “customs” or “habits” sometime both words are used interchangeably to mean “customs, habits and acceptable ways of behavior of an individual or community (Uduigwomen 2006). Ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with the rightness or wrongness of human action. It is in this view that Ozumba (2004) holds that;
Ethics deals with judgments as to the rightness or wrongness, virtuousness or viciousness, desirability or undesirability, approval or disapproval of our action. (p.5).
It is well-known fact among philosophers that philosophy has no univocal definition. Each philosopher defines it according to his school of philosophy which philosophers of other schools may not accept. As an academic discipline, philosophy certainly has certain distinguishing features which distinguish it from other field of study. It is first of all a free rational inquiry into the nature and meaning of reality. It is a search for meaning, a search for understanding. (Omeregbe, 1993). Its tool is logic, coherent and consistent reasoning, and the object of its inquiry is the whole of reality in so far as it accessible to reason and discoverable by logical reasoning. Philosophy can, therefore, be defined as a rational inquiry into the nature and meaning of reality (Omeregbe 1993). It is thus, a search for what there is in the universe; and the knowledge about life. Philosophy is thus, ‘the queen of science.’
Moral philosophy, therefore, deals with the principles guiding all social actions. It deals with morality, good or bad, just and fair-play, altruism, and good neighborliness. It aims at right living. Hence, Awajiusuk (2012) calls it the science of moral behavior as it studies human behavior and conduct. It is a normative science that deals with the practical, directive and prescriptive aspect of philosophy.
A Critical Juxtaposition of Gift and bribery
In the indigenous African society, gift rituals function as a fulfillment of vows and renewal of bond between the deities and the people. Having received blessings, protection, and fertility, etc, from the gods, the people owe him (deities) that reciprocal duty of fealty loyalty and veneration. At the lower level (between man to man), gift cements relationship among friends, families, and members of the community, appropriate gift and hospitality have must have an acceptable form of and value that is proportionate to circumstances; they are offered openly, with legitimate intent and no definite expectation of return.
Arguably the ethics of gift confirmed the ambiguity of the nature of a gift. Reprehend (2009) asserted that the norm of pure generosity-the gift of agape-cannot completely escape the notion of reciprocity nor can the principle of reciprocity be ethically understood without reference to initial unilateral and therefore generous gift. The logical attempt to decipher the notion of reciprocity and debt in the logic of the gift is inspired by a controversial but interesting aporetic ‘deconstructive’ reading of the gift.
Any recognition of the gift as a gift per se by the donor anticipate some returns, which is also evidence of bribery; even a simple expression of gratitude for a gift received is return. In fact, any awareness of the intentional meaning of a gift places that person in the cycle of exchange when realizing as a gift, one already responds with recognition (of the gift as a gift). Thus, a gift given could easily transform into a debt of bordering the recipients. As soon as the gift appears as a gift, its gift aspect is tainted with some economic connotation and thus provokes returns. The radicalization of the logic of the gift suggests that to give ‘something for nothing’ is only possible if one does not know that it concerns a willful gift.
Sequel to this, a bribe is a transaction that occurs in an extra-legal setting. In this transaction, the bribe-giver transfer a benefit, consisting of anything of value to the bribe-taker, as quid pro quo (something for something” or “this for that” in Latin), for preferential treatment by the bribe-taker (Soranf 1994). The preferential treatment by the bribe-taker constitutes the abuse or misuse of power identified as central to the definition of the transaction as corrupt. Bribery, therefore, blurs the distinction between public and private responsibilities, in the interest of the briber-bribee (Peter 2009). Bribery and corruption undermines the social contract between agent and principal, and thus, jeopardizes the political and social institutional functions of public offices. Bribery is seen and perceived as ‘social destructive’ and illegal, and it sponges off the recognized social force and principles of a gift exchange.
However, because of some logical similarities of reciprocity involved in gift and bribe exchanges, bribery is often presented as an expression and recognition, whereby its immorality is covered or veiled under the cover of a gift. The demarcation between a gift and a commercial transaction is usually clear if the characteristics and intentions are known or expressed. Both ‘the economics of the gift’ and ‘the subject exchange’ co-exist peacefully, when a gift becomes sellable and leaves no room for uncertainty and undecidability (the time factor in the gift) it often becomes an illegitimate exchange and thus a bribe.
For the purpose of clarity, moral dominants (the act, circumstance and the motive) could also help, while determining the actual nature of gift and bribery. A philosophical examination of the act itself will tell or determined if the act is good or bad. In examining the circumstances which are the various surroundings of the act, including everything affecting the act, will help in answering the questions; who? Where? When? How? To whom? By what means? And how often? etc. The motive or the intent is that which the agent or the bribe-giver has in mind when he acts, that which he consciously set before himself to achieve by his act. The motive may give indifferent acts its first quality, either good or bad. Hence, a gift is not bad in itself; rather it is the motive behind the gift that turns it into a bribe (social virus).
The three moral dominant determining the nature of gift
Therefore, a gift becomes a bribe, when such action morally degrades a person or an institution (e.g. perverts, destroys, or subverts honesty or integrity). Regardless if any laws or rules have been violated (Vorter 2013).
Forms of Corruptions
- Bribery, and extortion.
- Illegal use of power and public assets for private gains.
- Misappropriation of public assets, official files, and documents.
- Payment of salaries and wages to none-existing workers (ghost-workers).
- Payment of goods not supplied, project/ contract not executed and services not rendered.
- Weak laws and weak law enforcement.
- Nepotism/favoritism and ethnic majority chauvinism.
- Conflict of interest and
- Fraud and embezzlement etc.
Unethical Traits of Corrupt Practices in Nigeria
Nigerians are very religious. But religion seems to have no impact in their lives; because almost on a daily basis one hears of cases of people being swindled out of their monies, or people corruptly enriching themselves (Ushie, Bishop & Odok 2013). It was in this view that E.O. Odumuyiwa as quoted by Wotogbe-Weneka (2015), after critically analyzing the Nigerian society’s religiosity against the backdrop of the level of the country’s immorality and corruption, entitled his inaugural lecture at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, “A Religious but criminal society.”
The existence and manifestation of corruption and fraudulent practices have eaten so deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society that a former United States of Chief of Defense Staff, General Collins Power, had to assert that, it is in the character of Nigerians to defraud (Imoka 2003). Hence, it becomes undeniable that Nigerians are ‘virtueless.’ Alhaji Shehu Musa, for instance, said with regards to Nigerians that, it is not just that officials are corrupt, but that corruption is official. Anyone who does not do so is considered a fool (Musa, This Day, Oct. 5, 1997). In similar view, Omeregbe (1993) observed thus;
Anybody who finds himself in a position to enrich himself through fraudulent and other corrupt practices and refuses to do so, is regarded as a fool and scorn by his friends and especially by his relatives (p.48).
Buhari added thus;
Nowhere else in the world can one find a society tolerating the theft of its precious resources in broad day light with nothing happening to the thieves… some societies seem to reward embezzlement with ‘honors’ as does our own. Instead of putting rascals on trials, we put them in positions of leadership (Buhari in his AREWA House Lecture of May 15, 1998).
Nigerian government corrupt practices act prohibit bribery but condones ‘good will payment to person holding or in higher position for facilitation of paper, job, contracts, or appointment, etc, processing on the basis that they are not quided, but rather a ‘greasing payment.’ Hence, the administrative and political corruptions in Nigeria no longer surprise many. It has become a way of life, and part of the administrative and political culture. It was in this view that Maheswain (1996) observes thus;
There was a time when only a few corrupt politicians could be identified. Now, sadly, only a few (if any) honest, upright persons with integrity can be spotted (Sharma and Sudana 2015:767).
From bottom to the top political level, corruption has become more rampant, as it brings short term material windfalls. Almost all the political parties and leaders in Nigeria indulge in unethical, illegal behaviors and activities like forgery false income tax return, or not filling at all, spending more on election above legal limits, use of ‘black money’ for political mobilization, among others (Elekwa, Eme and Okukwo 2001). Obviously, political power is now an instrument for the accumulation of wealth. According to Emenyeon (2007) quoting Azie (2003). There had been financial irregularities in most audit institutions. According to Audit report of January 2003, over-invoicing, non-retirement of cash advances, lack of audit inspection, payment for jobs not done, double-debiting, contracts inflation, lack of receipts to back up purchases made, brazen violation of financial regulations, release of money without the approving authorities involvement were rife within the reporting period (Azie 2003).
The report impugned the Presidency, all Federal Ministries and National Assembly for gross financial indiscipline and lack of regard for laid down financial regulations.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lawyer, Kola Awodehi (SAN) admitted that he gave the sum of N500, 000 to Justice Niyi Ademola of the Federal High Court (Vanguard 2017). This money is claimed to have been paid in support of justice Ademola’s family during the wedding ceremony of their daughter. However, this payment was made at a time when Buhari’s certificate Saga was pending before justice Ademola from the above analysis; one is tempted to ask; by presenting a wedding gift to Ademola, was President Buhari bribing justice Ademola to win the certificate suit pending before him? It is however clear, that bribes disguised as a gift is condemned as ‘evil,’ but when politics come to play in Nigeria, gift and bribery are thus, conceived in ambiguity.
Away from this, it is observed that recruitments into Nigerian Arm Forces, Para-Military Forces, job intake as well as admission into higher institutions of learning is based on ‘who do you know? ‘godfatherism’ and ‘nothing goes for nothing’ syndrome. The police man neither controls the vehicle nor the driver. They do not care to find out whether it is a stolen vehicle or not. All that they are after is the N100 bribe. Similarly, in legal cases bribe is demanded or given in other to ‘buy’ a favorable verdict. In the hospitals, bribe is demanded by hospital staff before a patient is allowed to see a doctor or to receive a prescribed medicine. In Religion, bribe is taken or given to influence posting of Pastor/Imams as well as to influence their confirmation of ranks. In the educational circle, bribe is also demanded or given in both kind (sex, and other valuables) and cash (money) to influenced examination results. This list can continue on, but the question is, what is wrong with the African man and Nigerians in particular?
The Cost of Bribery and Corruption on Nigerians Nation Building
Corruption, like most evils, is native to man’s heart. It springs up naturally like weeds that seek to choke crops in every garden, like the dirt that accumulates around every human habitation, like bacteria that spread in the air we breathe. Its destructive powers have to be control through deliberate and persistent efforts. Without such efforts, corruptions spread and threaten the survival of organizations and states (Elekwa, Eme & Okonkwo 2009). Corruption does not only kill the nation economically, but it also has ‘suicidal’ effects because it prevents the building of a solid and sustainable society. The cost of bribery and corruption, therefore, include the following;
- Stigmatization of Nigeria (Poor Image): Bribery and corruption lower the image of the country and makes it unattractive in the eyes of the international community. The international community deals with corrupt nations with deep-seated suspicious (Nicholas & Avanenge 2007). Corrupt nations are not respected globally, and their citizens suffer humiliation, stigmatization, and isolation because citizens of these nations are referred as potential traffickers and fraudsters.
- Political, Ethnic and Religious Instability: Perhaps the most devastating consequences of corruption is political, ethnic and religious instability. The root of corruption in Nigeria could be traced to the Lord Lugard amalgamation of 1914. The lumping together of different independent nations, kingdoms, and empires without given them the opportunity to dialogue on the modalities of such union, remains the highest form of corruption in the history of humankind. The British had not the interest of Nigeria at heart. Thus the contraption was for economic motives and gains. Hence, Nigeria is a fraud; it was conceived in greed, born in deceit and nurture in falsehood and violence, Odey (2014) therefore attributed all the problem of corruption that Nigeria is facing today to the amalgamation of 1914, when he asserted thus;
If the President of Nigeria loots the nation’s treasury until he becomes richer than Nigeria, if the governor of a state loots the state treasury until he becomes richer than the state, if the local government Chairman loots the local government’s treasury until he becomes richer than the local government, Lord Lugard must be held accountable (p.21).
Again, he further observes that;
If Nigeria embraces on reaping from where they never sowed by way of duping unsuspecting person at home and abroad through notorious 419 fraud, we should blame Lord Lugard (p.21):
This shows that the act of politician imposing themselves and candidates on the people, sending assassins to kill their political rivalry and ethnic majority chauvinism are evidence today as a result of the amalgamation of 1914. From the above views, it is, however, prodding to ask; must we believe that if he had not amalgamated the North and the Southern protectorates, we would not have had traits to bribery and corruption? Or would Lord Lugard's critics also argued that he should also take the blame for the death of education and other institutions in the country?
In similar view however, Obodogbulam (2014) lamented thus;
It’s sad that for hundred years Nigeria is still grappling with the problem of religious unity. Till the present, the problems of religious conflict and disunity still stares the nation in the face. Yet Nigeria is not the only country with multi-religious background. (p.57).
It is noted that, the miasma of political corruption is quite dangerous (Genyi 2007), as it transforms power into a means not of governing for the betterment of the society, but of enriching those in authority, as well as spreading all manner of rewards among loyal supporters. Thus, promoting political corruption and instability, instead of political sustainability.
- It Prevents Justice: The consequences of unethical practices and corruption on the justice system kills the zeal of a man and drives him away from the society psychological (Agbor 2009). Justice becomes diluted, partial and unjust and even derived, judgement rendered is no longer equal for equal cases. The corrupt judge pronounces judgment decisions in which the offenses have no bearing on the senses. Interpretation of instruments becomes incorrect; hence, the lack of development in legal science.
- Low Quality and Standard of Education: The cost of corruption in the Nigerian educational institutions has reduced the problem-solving institution into mere years of rituals. Schools are ill-equipped, lack of quantified man-power (poor personnel), poor and corrupt administrations and thus, sending out graduate that does not fit into the society, Odey (2014) observes that;
…Universities which provide the engine for development in modern industrial countries have been reduced to intellectual cemeteries where death of the mind is celebrated by uninformed ignoramuses and their civilian boot lickers. (p.13)
Schools have lost their values, many young people who value hard work becomes discouraged; cheating and corruption among teachers continue to increase. From the basic (elementary) to the tertiary institutions, corruption is seen as normal. Thus, the school hatches a society of incompetence, ill-prepared to face international competition and crime-friendly fellows. Consequently, the learning youth who graduate from educational institutions remain unemployed and idle. The majority of them engage in anti-social vices, such as armed robbery; drug abuse, prostitution, vandalism cultism and unnecessary agitations, etc.
- Social-Economic/Undevelopment: The Nigeria economic system is apparently in seemingly irretrievable shambles with every proclivity for further degeneration (Adega, 2009). This problem is further compounded by the culture of waste and recklessness in which public projects are abandon without an explanation to the public. Corruption is also responsible for the poor standard and lack of public utilities such as, roads, unstable electricity supply, and poor health facilities. It weakens and reduces the effectiveness of public institutions.
The need for a corrupt-free society against the foregoing background, cannot be underestimated as many seems to be afflicted by this disease of the time, that is perceived the most fashionable. In the normative condition of leadership, it is important to note that many Nigerian leaders are morally bankrupt, intellectually incompetent and psychologically unwilling to rise to the responsibility of fulfilling electoral promises and challenges of personal examples which are the hallmark of true leadership (Feyemi 2009). Hence, the following recommendations:
- The Nigerian government must intensify efforts in carrying out corrupt-free value re-orientation. These borders on the moral regeneration of the social norms and mores of the Nigerian people.
- The Nigerian Federal Government anti- corruption war should go beyond lip service. The government and those in the position of leadership must be seen to be openly and resolute set against corruption. In other words, the anti-corruption war should spear no ‘sacred cow’ such fight should require the direct, clear and forceful support of the highest political authorities without ethnic and religious sentiment.
- Community leaders should desist from praise singing, and giving chieftaincy titles and awards to personalities whose source of wealth is dubious just for what such people may give to the traditional institution. This will discourage others who see this enormous reward of crime as the quickest way or short cut to the top.
- Religious bodies and schools at different levels should teach positive moral values to the youths who are leaders of tomorrow (even though the tomorrow has refused to come in Nigeria). Materialism should equally be discouraged because a society that is over conscious of material acquisition is bound to fall prey to the evil ploy of corruption. The family is not also left out in promoting positive moral values as they said; ‘charity begins at home.’
The central thrust of this paper is the attention it has drawn on ‘bribery’ and ‘corruption’ in disguise as ‘gift.’ Both bribery or corporative behavior and philanthropy or corporate donations are practical examples of gift practices. It is the double truth surrounding the logic of the gift that results in impossible aberration. That is to say that gift in whatever form is not wrong in itself but becomes a bribe from the motives and circumstances such acts is intended.
Looking at Nigeria, where most of the fabric of her system is rotten, where each one gains from cheating, is not surprising that the whole country has continued to sink deeper. Corruption continued to persist in Nigeria because of the fertile ground for corrupt practices which has continue to trends among decades of inept political leadership.
From Aristotle’s perspective, it is observed that Nigerians are what they are because of the instinct that the amalgamation of 1914 which gave birth to Nigeria is a fraud; this is evidenced in the ‘my-self’ ‘my-tribe’ and ‘my-religion’ syndrome that has bedeviled the country today. Nigerians have lost moral virtues and personal values, good emotions, perceptions, choice and attitude, because of vague and evil desire, interest and expectations.
Thus, bribery and corruption become the order of the day. Corruption is ingrained in the mindset, and controls one’s reasoning. Hence it cannot be stamped out by words and advice. In a situation where reason is subordinate to the passions, teachings would not have any effect. Teachings would begin to have effect when the passions through force have been made subordinate to reason. This, Aristotle believes could be done through coercive laws. Thus, drawing from Aristotle’s teachings, when good laws are enacted and properly enforced, good moral habits would develop in Nigeria.
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