Religious Re-orientation As A Panacea To Bribery And Corruption In Nigeria.

Abstract: This paper seeks to examine the effects of religion concerning bribes and corruption in society, especially in our country. Religion permeates the life of every human being as well as every society throughout the world, and every religion has norms, values, and acceptable standards contained in its doctrine. Religion is expected to promote social control and acceptable standards in society, thereby reducing or solving the problem of corruption in Nigeria. Thus, religion and corruption are seen as having a symbiotic relationship. The paper emanated as a result of the prevalence of corruption in Nigerian society; today is an indication that both the Christian and Muslim religions are failing and are losing their potency to correct the vices in the society due to previous tragedy orientation to the extent that it is losing its appeal as a promoter of right values and spiritual standing as a result of factors like the quest for prosperity/materialism by adherents and religious leaders, the quest for power, victory over perceived enemies; selfish interests, sycophancy and lack of moral standards. The paper concludes that not only has the Christian or Muslim religion as an anti-virus failed in its function to cure a virus like corruption, but it has also in itself become a citadel of corruption, and the paper recommends that governments at all levels, religious leaders, adherents and the entire masses have a big role to play in order to reduce this menace if the fight against corruption in Nigeria is to be successful. The paper argues that religion has a great role to play in the political and ethical re-orientation of Nigeria. Ethics and morality as a code of conduct are of great value in each of Nigeria's three major religions: Christianity, Islam, and traditional religion should work hard to reshape Nigeria politically, morally, socially, and ethically. Keywords, corruption, bribes, tragedy orientation, re-orientation

INTRODUCTION:

Nigeria as a society is made up of many ethnic groups, and there are many diversities of languages, but one of its main problems centers on tribalism which is the hallmark of our basic problem that leads to corruption and bribery. Inasmuch as we are considering how religion has failed us and lost its potency due to many cases of abuse by those who upheld the ranks of religious titles, we cannot forget that our country is made up of many sectors which contribute to the smooth running of man in the society, because man cannot live on its own but rather requires the help of his fellow being to exist.

 Man is filled with many wonders and anxieties as he grows to know the nature of society; he discovers the oneness, love, and care to associate with his fellow man and equally to know the good and bad. But unfortunately, man has gradually decamped from this powerful position allotted to him by nature.

 In Nigeria, we cannot only mention the religious sector as the only sector that needs to be re-oriented, but we must include the following economic sector, social sector, and financial sector. In the economic sector, the focus of the orientation, which should be to avoid inflation that, is a persistent increase in the price of goods but now shifts to making a decision that only favors one particular people; that is why St Theresa said you could not say you are hungry without starving, in the social sector the focus has been shifted from social welfare to personal welfare, that can be seen during job opportunities without qualification.

 The religious sector, which should be training people in accordance with morality but now centers on money virtues and the quest for materialism and toxic prophecy, thereby deviating from God as the central message of salvation, the financial sector on its own should be the apple of the society now focus on embezzlement of public fund meant for the masses by our materialistic politicians.

Government, religious leaders, and the entire citizens have roles to play if Nigeria is to be transformed from a high position in the gang of the most corrupt nations in the world to a high position among the most corruption-free nations. Those in power must fear God and practice their religious obligations and national duties sincerely. In this paper, let us not forget that religion has two main tenets, God and his fellow being. 

THE CONCEPT OF RELIGION 

Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals belief that relates humanity to supernatural element. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, supernatural being, or supernatural beings.

 Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities and/or saints), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places that aim mostly to give meaning to life. Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.

Religion teaches morality as a measure that one has to inculcate within his\herself, and it asks the question of what should be the yardstick of living, i.e., what should be upheld or not, and how does man commingle with his God both in the times of joy and sorrow. Religion focuses more on the supernatural being of God and man's ability to mingle with each other and equally breaks the barriers of tribalism etc.

 BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA  

Bribery is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or another person, in charge of a public or legal duty. A bribe is an illegal or unethical gift or lobbying effort bestowed to influence the recipient's conduct. It may be money, goods, rights in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity.

In Nigeria, for instance, so many people may conceive the notion that bribery is only giving money to the police because you are not with the particulars of your car or vehicle, but bribery goes beyond that, even in the social sector when someone is seeking for job admission and the employee demands some sorting, or some valuable things either to pay in cash or in kind, coming to the Educational sector when a lecture will boldly tell a student to pay for sorting so that he/she can award a mark for him\her. 

In the religious sector, the urge for re-orientation is more important than any other sector because it focuses more on God and the people in society. When things start going wrong in the religious sector, it means that every other sector has gone so wrong. In the religious sector, the quest for materialism is quite alarming, and extortion of money from the congregation is too unbearable by the religious titles. Africa as a whole cherish and love religion; there is no way they can quit from the personal belief and faith which they profess. Toxic prophecies in the name of money at the place of worship.

In Nigeria, corruptions stifle economic growth; reduces economic efficiency and development despite the enormous resources in the country. Corruption creates a negative national image and loss of much-needed revenue. Because corruption creates fiscal distortions and redirects money allocated to income grants, eligibility for housing or pensions, and weakens service delivery, it is usually the poor who suffer most. Income inequality has increased in most countries experiencing high levels of corruption.

 TRAGEDY OF NIGERIA'S RELIGIOUS ORIENTATION

Nigerians in earlier times were free to put faith in whatever and whoever was most dear to their tribes and themselves. It was a trust in nature and animism that projected itself into giving strength and value to that worshiper. Indigenous religions soon became an important tradition of Nigerian society and maintained moral order. This traditional worship was done through an intermediary who gave favor only after a blood sacrifice.

The arrival of Muslims in Nigeria put a stop to these sacrifices, and Islam became firmly established in northern Nigeria. The introduction of Christianity began with the arrival of British missionaries in the middle and southern regions of Nigeria. Today, while almost all Nigerians are either Christian or Muslim, many continue to mingle these faiths with indigenous beliefs. This mix of religious practices is a result of Nigerians' traditional belief in freedom of worship.

The situation in Nigeria is such that not only has religion failed to reduce corruption, but religion itself has become a channel of corruption, providing support for corruption in society. These religious leaders and followers are known through their fruits. If what is seen exhibited by millions of converts are indiscipline and corruption, then it could be said with little or no fear of contradiction that what is being witnessed in Nigeria are mass movements of some sort, preaching messages of convenience, with a few elements such as singing, prayer and so on. 

These social movements largely lack the understanding of the religious call to a high level of sacrifice, discipline, honesty, truth, and justice. There is no doubt that authentic religion will checkmate corruption because the individual and social morality of the people is predicated on their religious beliefs and values. 

 THE CONSEQUENCES OF UTILITARIANISM IN NIGERIA RELIGION:

The combination of utilitarianism with the belief in God has strong consequences regarding human nature. Utilitarianism is the theory that maximization of joy is good and that, taken per se, everyone's interests are equally important. Pain is negative joy; however, some true enjoyment has the appearance of sadness and pain. Belief in God refers to the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being.

 In Nigeria, it is an obvious question why God does not simply apply pleasure to all people. Since pleasure is good, why are people still suffering and praying the whole day with fasting, but nothing seems to be done? The poor masses keep praying, and the rich are still getting richer. But they tend to forget that pleasure cannot exist without pain, without action, without understanding. Likewise, for Christians, if there is no cross, there will be no crown. They only want their will to be done, not the will of God. Therefore the consequences imply that human life has and must have meaning. Since humans are so resistant to manipulation, surely death does not destroy the soul but merely separates it on a very long-term but not permanent basis.

RELIGION AS A MATERIALISM IN NIGERIA

There is no gainsaying the fact that the current issue in religion that has caught the interest of the general public which is urgently calling for scholarly attention in Nigeria, is the phenomenon of the materialistic gospel message that is being peddled by many "men of God" today, designed to defraud and exploit the sick, poor and biblical illiterate Christians. It is therefore pertinent at this stage of Nigerian socio-economic difficulties and its attendant quest for material security to take a look at this new dimension of African religion and the contributing factors induced by some modern pastors to the social and economic upheaval in the society amongst other things, that most materialistic gospel preachers are driven by the love of money and not love for God, Jesus, the people or the gospel.

Their teachings are so toxic and demonic, and it is corrupting and destroy lives. The reasons for this false teaching are because the verses and passages of the Scriptures are taken out of context and promulgators refused to learn the principles of biblical interpretation such as hermeneutics, exegeses, homiletics, and use of Bible resources such as Bible dictionary, encyclopedia, and other Bible references for study. This is coupled with the poor Bible reading habits of some Christians. 

 RELIGIOUS RE-ORIENTATION AS A PANACEA TO THE PROBLEM OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA

True religion shares common transcendental values and moral principles and also promotes high ethical standards. Proper dissemination of the Christian message will help to checkmate the human instinct to grab and accumulate for self while neglecting the common good. Government, religious leaders, and the entire citizens have roles to play if Nigeria is to be transformed from a high position in the gang of the most corrupt nations in the world to a high position among the most corruption-free nations. 

On the governance, those who uphold authority are obligated to fear God and practice their religious obligations and national duties sincerely. This will earn them moral support from their followers. Also, there must be a vibrant national view centered on the fear of God; after all, swearing with the Bible or Koran is an indication of weaving individual and national conscience around religion; consequently, the performance of duties must be seen as an opportunity to serve the nation and put national interests over and above individual interests.

 Religious leaders also need to awaken their minds in order to take and preach the message of the cross more seriously. They should not see religion as a means of gathering wealth, and neither should they spare corrupt individuals and government officials in the course of preaching sermons. They should see their call as a means of inculcating the fear of God and the values of honesty, hard work, accountability, and concern for the common good in their members. 

Finally, individuals and adherents must be ready to face the challenges of life and play down complete dependence on miracles and healing. They must also pay attention to the provisions of the criminal codes against the various shades of corruption, and most importantly, they must have a fear of God in their hearts and imbibe this in their children.  

CONCLUSION

From the issues raised in this paper, it can be seen that there is a serious disparity between religion and corruption in Nigeria. Disruption has occurred in the interdependent relationship between the Christian, Muslim, and traditional religions and corruption. Where the level of spirituality is high, all things being equal, and the level of corruption should decline. 

The situation in Nigeria is such that not only has religion failed to reduce corruption, but religion itself has become a channel of corruption, providing support for corruption in society. There is no doubt that authentic religion will checkmate corruption because the individual and social morality of the people is predicated on their religious beliefs and values. True religion shares common transcendental values and moral principles and also promotes high ethical standards.

Proper dissemination of the religious message will help to checkmate the human instinct to grab and accumulate for self while neglecting the common good. Let us not forget that Nigeria as a country is made up of many ethnic groups, and there are many diversities of languages, but one of its main problems is centered on tribalism and nepotism, which is the hallmark of our basic problem that leads to corruption. 

Inasmuch as we are considering how religion has crippled or failed us and lost its potency due to many cases of abuse by those religious titles, we cannot also forget that our country is made up of many sectors like Economics, social, financial, and religious sector, etc. each sector has a great quota to contribute for the peaceful collaboration in the country.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Jigbale, Emmanuel "Corruption, Religion and Societal Values" accessed on December 20, 2022, http://www.vanguardng

Omolawal, Samuel, Adebimpe Adetutu Adenugba and Adebimpe, "Religious Values and Corruption in Nigeria- A Dislocated Relationship," Journal of Educational Computing Research 4(3):522-528. DOI:10.5901/jesr.2014.v4n3p522, accessed on December 20, 2022. http://www.Researchg

John Moreall, Tamara Sonn. Myth 1: all societies have religions. 50 great myths of religion. Wiley-Blackwell 2013. 

Beliefand Vergote, A. A Psychological Study, Leuven University press1996

James Swindal, 'Faith and reason' accessed November 19 2022.http://www. internet encyclopedia of philosophy.com

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