HOW THEY MAKE GOOD PEOPLE BAD IN GOVERNMENT: CIVIL SERVANTS ARE SILOS OF CORRUPTION

Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

As an appointee of government or an elected official, you will be welcome to your office with smiles and aplomb. First things first; they will obtain your full dossier within hours of being elected or appointed and arrange to have your hands tied, early. They will quickly arrange a course or conference for you abroad with estacode. Next, the contractor whose file is on your desk will be advised to pay your child’s tuition at that UK or that American college. Your wife will be showered with gifts of gold and diamond jewelries, paid trips, yards of Swiss embroidered fabrics and cash. That way, you have been recruited. Then they come with bigger things; contract inflation, over-invoicing, kickbacks and so on. If you are openly averse, someone will collect on your behalf and stuff your account.

The constant enabling entity common under the various systems of government we have experimented with, in Nigeria, is the civil service. Have you asked who drafts the memos for politicians? Who are those making the submissions for appropriation of funds? Who disburses the funds? It would be near impossible for politicians to engage in corruption if public servants refuse to be used as means to corrupt ends or if they decline to be willing accomplices in corrupt schemes. Politicians and government appointees cannot and do not act alone. They act in concert with civil servants.

Procedurally, politicians cannot initiate transactions on behalf of government and complete them without public servants. The officers in charge of public till are not politicians but civil servants, no stealing or conversion can take place without their active connivance.

Civil servants will tell you; “that is how we do it Oga”. “Oga, sign here”. When you have been shackled, you dare not reject it when they present their own settlement for your signature. Nothing goes for nothing. We did yours for you, do our own for us. Give and take!

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