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Monday, March 15, 2010


Anybody who has been poor in Nigeria (note that I don't say poor in Africa because I know how irritating generalizations are) knows that they will do whatever is in their power to make sure that they are and everybody they love is never ever ever is in that situation again. This and the fact that there is no guarantee that you will receive your pension, or that the state will be there when you are sick, or will make sure that you have some electric light to read by, or some water to drink, that you will not get robbed of the little you have with impunity, and that you do receive even that which you pay for: the benefit of your taxes.

This to me is the basis of corruption among the average Nigerian.

I'm not talking about the leaders corruption, neither am I supporting or justifying corruption. I'm just trying to show its not as simple as it looks.

Why else would a policeman hold a man hostage over 20 naira?
Because to him, it may mean more than just 20 naira, it may mean meat in his soup that night.

1 comment:

Oluremi Olutimayin said...

Corruption is born out of a fear, albeit not entirely irrational, but it is still fear. I think the trouble with corruption in Nigeria is that it crossed over & swore 'til death do us part' with economic sabotage.
I think that our parents' generation failed us. They ridiculed the very things they should have guarded jealously (politics, active economics, social reformation...) instead of preening their feathers and claiming that 'we' would clean up their mess. I'd scream 'God punish them', but I love both my parents with a biological and extremely deep love. So I will reduce it to 'una fuck up, sha!'
Corruption has one cure. To make the alternative look more attractive. I don't think it can be made more attractive without inventive 'incentives'. but I am certain corruption itself can look less attractive with imaginative 'disincentives'.
History is pregnant with such examples.
From age 10, I knew that so long as people are involved in any endeavor, politics will come into play and corruption will follow strongly. The difference, in my opinion then and now, is how the corruption is managed. If it is steered away from devolving into a stupidly naked drive to 'chop and quench', then the people will do it with finesse, reducing the beggar look. The New York Police Department, the Los Angeles Police department are soooo corrupt (well over a century strong), you will hug our local cops at any given opportunity.
Our politicians are ignorant. I'm not talking about the guys we see on television. I'm talking about their puppet masters. They still have the colonial subservience hard-wired into their understanding of the world and kill any opposition (which I would call enlightenment). I respect the last 2 Lagos state governors. They knew they didn't know it all, so they did what they could. They PLAN to live here when they're done. They don't shit where they eat. They've done what they can to open up development to people they feel they can trust to make the state livable again.

I'm burning with disappointment because in April I've held two nigerians when they were a day old. They say children take a few days to open their eyes, like most other mammals, but recently the gist goes that they are born with their eyes open or open them within a few hours of being born. I dismissed this until I saw it. 3 hours old, staring at nothing (because they really can't see a thing), but hey keep their eyes open with force, as if they know their lives depend n it. If newborn babies understand 'shine your eye' as a way of life, before they know what the words sound like, there is a big problem,o!