In today’s commentary, Atanga Philip of our Current Affairs department highlights the ills of nepotism and corruption in the public service.



SinceIndependence, one problem some analysts have identified as a major hindrance to unity and development in Nigeria is nepotism or favoring of others against fellow citizens. Put in another way, when friends and relatives are granted Job, promotion, or given higher career opportunities disregarding merit and other outlined criteria, this is referred to as nepotism.

Recently, the immediate past Emir of Kano Mohammed Sanusi said that the worst form of corruption bedeviling Nigeria is nepotism, in which people get into positions by virtue of personal loyalty, friendship and who they know, rather than what they can actually deliver by virtue of competence for that office.

He claimed that the incidence of corruption in Nigeria will continue unabated if incompetent persons occupy leadership positions with the growing nepotistic tendencies.

The truth is that nepotism in which ever form has negative impact on productivity and progress of any society. For instance, in the family children favored by the family head above others tend to develop arrogance and manifest irrational behaviours compared to the others.

Certainly, anytime those in high positions in an organization and relevant stakeholders tend to develop a like or dislike attitude towards a particular team member to the detriment of others this affects inter-personal relationship as well as productivity in that organization.

In like manner, it is unfortunate that anytime a school does not operate on merit but shows favoritism is indeed a problem to public or private establishments. In a place which such practice thrives, inefficiency and poor service delivery becomes the order of the day simply because the right people are not in the positions in such an organization.

Equally, there is problem of low-productivity and quackery emanating from the sort of persons that are being absorbed into companies, industries and public or private establishment based on nepotism thereby crippling and relegating work efficiency to the background.

Simply put, corruption means compromise. In other words, anything whose integrity has been impaired is corrupt. This means an illegitimate use of, be it public or private power to compromise procedure in carrying out a responsibility. It is therefore convincing that nepotism is one of the worst forms of corruption. It is the fuel that feeds graft, impoverishes the nation and sets off one section against the other. It is wrong that many Nigerians consider or associate corruption only to stealing or diverting public funds without considering nepotism which is worse.

The fact remains that where merit and other attributes are disregarded and sentiments guide actions of individuals, such a setting helps no one including the persons favored.

On a general level, employees in an organization bogged down by nepotism have low morale and the drive to excel is jeopardized.The truth is that, most of the time having favoured friends and relatives in an organization without necessarily undertaking thorough scrutiny to have relevant candidates or applicants engaged would affect the general productivity and service delivery in such an organization. Discipline is compromised and management cannot be effective.

Unfavoured employees feel neglected and frustrated and start looking for an opportunity to leave the establishment even if this is their area of specialization. This is more so, as employees affected by favoritism see no career growth in the organization and in turn lose interest in the affairs of the establishment.

In other words, loyalty and sense of belonging on the part of those discriminated against are compromised where there is nepotism. There is low commitment or discipline.

For sure, if a manager or stakeholder cannot control subordinates just because they are friends or relatives to those at the top, this will affect maintenance of discipline and growth of the company or establishment. The fact is that, nepotism encourages flouting of orders in an organization.

This is quite unhealthy for organizations and even government establishments where such cases are found.

There is of course nothing wrong, where relatives or friends who merit employment or promotion in an organization are granted these with set regulations and spirit of fairness. It is when rules are set aside, fairness discarded and overall interest compromised just to accommodate friends and relatives that this is morally and constitutionally wrong.

In fact, to check negative practices and attitudes like nepotism there are constitutional and organizational provisions put in place. It is in the interest of any organization to adhere to these provisions and regulations.

Government and relevant bodies should steer clear of discriminatory tendencies that encourage or leave room for nepotism which relegates the public and private sectors. Effective measures should be fashioned out to facilitate and promote efficiency and fairness in public and private establishments in Nigeria if the nation is to progress as desired.                                                                                                                      *****************************


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