Nigeria’s Struggle With Corruption, by the U.S. Congress
This is difficult to think of a more hypocritical and self-serving phenomenon than seeing corrupt members of Congress whose public service turns them from upper middle class people to extremely wealthy elites over the course of decades of kickbacks and insider trading and other illicit benefits take a nation to task for failing to provide ways to develop areas where precious raw materials can be found and providing for the well-being of common people in Nigeria. If any body of people is less equipped morally for self-righteousness when it comes to corruption, it would be difficult to imagine such a group of people. But in 2006, the House of Representatives’ Committee on International Relations wrote this report of between 50 and 100 pages that detailed in numbing detail the immense corruption in Nigeria and the total failure of the nation to provide a way by which the nation’s oil wealth can enrich the people at large as well as the people in the specific areas where the oil can be found. Admittedly, those people in Congress who do not understand how the coal wealth of Appalachia has failed to bring economic prosperity to that troubled region may well understand that economic resources that bring wealth to corrupt political elites do not often bring well-being to ordinary people would be equipped of little insight into how to bring well-being to Nigeria’s poor masses, but that doesn’t stop them from bloviating on the subject anyway.
This particular book consists of two sorts of contents, the testimony of various frustrated people before the House Committee on International Relations, and the written testimony of others on corruption in Nigeria. Some of the testimony is deeply touching, such as the frustration faced by people who are made to fear for their safety and freedom and perhaps even life by trying to detail the corruption that is undertaken by Nigeria’s leaders, who sometimes profit in the billions off of oil wealth while the ordinary Nigerian lives on peanuts. Yet despite all the moral posturing about the need for wealth to benefit common people, it seems as if there is little in the behavior of our own Congress, to say nothing of many state legislatures, that would indicate that our elected leadership has a good idea of how to encourage the well-being of ordinary people, in terms of what policies to adopt and how to avoid over-regulation or the encouragement of corrupt cronyism. Indeed, the same things that have destroyed the well-being of Nigeria and made it a byword for corruption are also problems that endanger the American republic and the trust and goodwill that exist between the people and its government.