When a society is hit by crisis, the first signs of revival are caused by the crisis itself. What the crisis does is to shake the society into thinking about what went wrong. Although this thinking process is spread across the whole of society, it is generally more refined among the intellectual circles. Societies can turn crisis into opportunities but the prerequisite is correct diagnosis of the problem. And that is the problem surrounding the economic crisis in Nigeria.
Once talking about Nigeria economic crisis, something that touches every life in the nation, there is no way we will not talk about corruption- a menace that is posing a great challenge to our development,a cog in the wheel of the country’s progress and a torn in the flesh of our national conscience compromising the rule of law and becoming an undesirable way of life.
People do make mention of corruption and usually attribute its cause to bad governance. If those in government are the only corrupt beings, then only an insignificant fraction of our society is corrupt. But thinking of the popular N100 at the checkpoint substituting vehicle documents, N1000 at the airport for easy passage, N10,000 to the Immigration officer for quick passport, N100,000 at Idi-Iroko and Seme border to make the custom men blind, N1,000,000 at Tin-Can to have a reduced tariff or duty, N10,000,000 to the senate committee, N100,000,000 to INEC to change the will of the people, N1,000,000,000 to the presidency for the oil block etc, you will understand that corruption has a grade and cuts across every sector in our dear country, Nigeria.
Some are more harmful than the others but every bit of it is detrimental to our economic system. But,the devastating economic crisis that has dominated our country today has its roots in the wrong diagnosis of the problem, that financial corruption is an individualistic phenomenon whereas it is a global phenomenon which indicates that it is systematic and not individualistic. Therefore, targeting individuals and presenting them as a problem will never solve the issue of corruption. At best it will get rid of one corrupt individual to be replaced by the other. And the cycle will continue as long as the diagnosis is not corrected.
There is also no question about the fact that the economic crisis has historical antecedents. A comprehensive study of Nigeria’s economic crisis reveals that the periods of slavery, colonialism, and neo colonialism have left the Nigerian economy distorted and robbed of its immense possibilities for development. Indeed, economic backwardness indicates that the analysis of the Nigerian economy always begins with the dismal history of the colonial economic policies in the country.
So, the root cause of Nigeria economic crisis that gives birth to corruption is democracy. The emergence of democratic system of governance that led to the colonisation of the country has a negative implication on the country’s economic advancement. The colonial economic policies in Nigeria, for instance, discouraged indigenous industrialization, but promoted exportation of crops and mineral production to feed the British factories. The colonial territory of Nigeria served, not only as ready source of cheap raw materials to feed the growing industries in Britain and European states, but also as trading post for the British and European traders and merchants, and at the same time supported the importation of end-products because the British wanted an outlet for her own manufactured products in order to stave off declining domestic consumption, and falling rate of profit at home. The root of Nigeria’s current economic crises can be traced to the emergence of British democratic economic policy.
The ending of colonial rule has not resulted in a complete control of the country economy or political affairs. Nigeria is sovereign states only in name. In reality, it remains under the economic and political control of its former rulers and colonial masters. No wonder their countries are home for Nigeria criminals. As can be seen from the history of many African countries, the achievement of political or flag independence does not automatically lead to economic independence of the nation and ever since independence, the economy of the country has been dependent on foreign markets, foreign aid and foreign technology.
Man’s right to make law, makes it flexible and creates an avenue for the financial and business elites to enter politics because they want to either make laws for themselves or influence the process of legislation. These elites want low taxes, state subsidies, legal routes to transfer money abroad, government building infrastructure which suits their business interests. Can there be an easier way to make money if you get laws made which make you rich? That is why the colonial system of government is anti-people’s government that only encourages corruption and aid capitalist policy. It is a government of some people, by some people on the people and not what you are told it is.
But Islam has provided us the best alternative by not just penalizing corrupt individuals but by taking the right to make laws out of the hands of human beings. In the Islamic system, law derived from Quran and Sunnah is implemented which has detailed rules related to economic and financial transactions being done in a society. Thus no one can amass massive wealth by bending laws, for laws are not allowed to be bent. So, Nigeria economic crisis can be a blessing only if we invest in them properly by abolishing the British colonial economic policies which is the root cause of Nigeria economic problem.
An Islamic economic system is not necessarily concerned with the precise amount of financial income and expenditure, imports and exports, and other economic statistics. While such matters are no doubt important, Islam is more concerned with the spirit of the economic system- Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet.
Islam consists of a set of beliefs which organizes the relationship between the individual and his Creator; between the person and other human beings; between the person and universe; and even the relationship of the person to himself. In that sense, Islam regulates human behaviour, and one type of human behaviour is economic behaviour. Economic behaviour is dealt by Muslims as a means of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. In Islam, human behaviour -whether in the economic area or others – is not value free; nor is it value neutral. It is connected with the ideological foundation of the faith.
The fundamental sources of Islam – the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet provide guidelines for economic behaviour and a blueprint of how the economic system of a society should be organized. The rules governing permissible and forbidden economic behaviour on the part of consumers, producers and government, as well as questions of property rights, and of the production and distribution of wealth, are all based on the Islamic view of justice.
With this, Nigerians and Nigeria governments should understand that for economic growth of our dear Nation, fighting corruption is not an option but to abandon the Western system of economic policies and its ideology.