Before I go into today’s post I’d like to send a heartfelt apology to someone I really said terrible things to. I am so sorry.
When you think of the finest periods of Nigeria’s football history, you think of that unforgettable night at Atlanta ’96 when Nwankwo Kanu dazzled the whole world to bring back the Olympic gold; or you think about that faithful night in South Africa when Sunday Mba scored that unexpected goal to crown Nigeria African champions for the Third time in the history of the nations cup; or you think about that afternoon in USA when Rashidi Yekini held and shook the nets after scoring Nigeria’s first ever goal at the world cup; or even still, that magical volley by Sunday Oliseh from outside the 18-yard box that sealed a 3-2 win over Spain at the France ’98 FIFA World cup™ .
It doesn’t matter which one comes to your mind, one thing is for sure – Nigeria has experienced some really magical moments in the world of football, little wonder we are revered and feared across the footballing world.
The question will then be – when you think about corruption in Nigeria, what are the moments that flash back in your mind’s eye? What moments leave you asking, “How did they do that?” Well you do not need to ask further, I have been able to gathered some picture perfect moments of corruption™ in Nigeria’s history, an enigma so bad that it has a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to it. *applause*
Nigeria according to this same Wikipedia page, since the creation of modern public administration in Nigeria (which I studied for two years and still can’t find anything modern in it), there have been cases of official misuse of public resources for personal enrichment. In fact, Nigeria was ranked 139th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s (TI) 2012 Corruption perception index – tied with the likes of Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal (Mt. Everest anyone?) and Pakistan (at least they play good cricket).
I don’t know how many of you reading this currently might have come across the book, “The Incorruptible Judge,” by Olu Olagoke – a play that was used to instill the discipline in the minds of young Nigerian minds child back when I was in Port Harcourt Primary School.
Being in a good mood (Manchester United supporters are always in good moods) I will do a quick summary of the book.
In the book, Ajala Oni a job seeker, responded to an advertisement. When going to submit his application letter, he meets a former classmate who even though not as brilliant (street) as he is – already has a job.
In the recruitment office, the recruiting officer like all good people (Nigerians) praises the qualifications of our good friend Ajala but then insists Ajala has to drop something for “the weekend” in the form of 5 Pounds or as he puts it, “5 quid my boy.” The poor Ajala, in his desperation to leave the throes of poverty quickly reports the matter to the police.
The police officer then maps out a strategy and gives Ajala marked notes to take to recruiting officer while making sure that police officers are stationed to catch the man as soon as he collects the bribe (We don’t call it bribe in Nigeria anymore). The plan goes as planned and Farook Lawa… Sorry typographical error. Well the recruiting officer was caught red handed while trying to swallow the notes – just like Faroook, and the case was taken to court.
PS: If you don’t know who Farook is at this time… It is safe to say you’re just one N30 bus away from Ancient Greece.
Well in typical Nigerian fashion, the recruiting officer knew a few people that made things happen. The wife of the trial judge, the father-in-law of the trial judge, the customary chief of the community and the judge himself were contacted in order to get a favorable judgment and overturn the police report – but all these fell on deaf ears as the judge was determined to give a fair hearing at the trial (this doesn’t seem like Nigeria anymore).
In conclusion, the judge and the jury refused to be swayed, lobotomized or confused (read as professionally lied to) into believing the accused was not guilty of the said crime and he was convicted and sent to jail, as should be done in any forward thinking society.
Now this book paints a picture of an ideal society – a society in which morals are taken strongly and the judiciary is always ready to punish erring/offending members of the public and the police instead of taking bribes devices means of bringing bribe-takers to justice and making sure the society is law abiding.
But in post-53rd anniversary Nigeria, this is no longer the case – Police officers stand at the entrance of the Murtala Muhammed International to shamelessly ask for bribe (they didn’t call it a bribe though, they only needed something for the weekend or no one was going through the door), public officials are driving around in sedans worth $1.2m (you don’t even need to become the president to enjoy such benefits) when the finance minister keeps complaining that Nigeria is “broke” and corruption like oxygen, is now the most ubiquitous element of the Nigerian society, and the nation’s premier international airport cannot boast of a common facility as air conditioning.
This is a country where according to the NCAA, the purchase of the armored cars are included in the budget, while the reviewed salary of the (striking) university lecturers were not included in the budget – someone sure knows how to set priorities.
I know this might sound so political right now (that’s the big idea actually), but then a wise man once said… Politics is ubiquitous and there is no running away from it. Politics is there when you are about to enter that BRT bus, politics is present when you want to buy that bottle of beer – in fact, you cannot avoid politics, and since we cannot run away from these things, we better tackle them headlong.
That being said, I present to you, some of Nigeria’s finest moments in corruption… In no particular order.
It’s Farouk! Time™
Just when you thought Nigeria was going to be free of corruption scandals, there comes a savior of the male folks by the name […] well to cut the chase, I’ve made an attempt to explain the events in a poem.
There were two Nigerians sitting on a wall
One named Farouk, one named Otedola
Bring the bribe Otedola, take the bribe Farouk. (repeat till fade)
And that was how a member of the House of Representatives was caught on camera taking bribe from a “law-abiding “ citizen of the federal republic of Nigeria. He is not in jail (and has no plans of going there.)
By the way, when you “thief” in government, it is called misappropriation not “stealing”, that is a really bad word to use. I don’t know how this relates, but yea.
This has nothing to do with the international corruption watchdog, TI. Rather this is the situation we found ourselves after the Niger Delta upheaval that cost the country billions of dollars in Petrodollars, lives were lost but we thank God that is so far gone.
Now after the Niger Delta crises, as expected of a government that respects its citizens and means well for the people that put it in government – the perpetrators of that act should tried, convicted and thrown in jail for the rest of their lives and never utter a word on national television. But no, these same people that took lives in the name of fighting for the emancipation of the Niger Delta people are today being celebrated as national heroes when kids can’t even relate to the real emancipators like Ken Saro-Wiwa, Isaac Adaka Boro amongst others.
Niger Delta warlords are getting huge defence contracts to guard the same oil installations that they ravaged and caused damage to the aquatic life in the same region they were trying to emancipate – something I thought existed only in theory.
Nigeria – Good people, great nation.
June 12 and other stories
The regime of IBB (or Maradona like his Argentine friends call him) is credited with the sheer genius of institutionalizing the act of corruption™. According to Wikipedia, an estimated $12.4billlion (the exact price for 10 armored BMWs) has still not been accounted for from the Gulf War oil windfall – and yet, he is living cozily in his mansion somewhere in Minna indifferent to the law enforcement authorities
This was the height of it all, is a situation in which someone could call for elections, hold the country to ransom by annulling what is still today regarded as the Freest and Fairest™ election in the Nigerian state and then stepped down and let his boy, the Dark Shades General™ take over the reins of power just three months after he installed Chief Ernest Shonekan to lead an interim government.
June 12, 1993 would remain one of Nigeria’s finest moments of corruption – at least it is widely acknowledged and it’s being talked about even to this day.
The Burna Man Years
While you may think Burnaboy popularized the wearing of dark shades, you might as well start having a rethink about that. Meet The Dark Shades™ General who held sway in the 90’s, the one we all came to fear and revere – not because of cause he ruled with an iron fist, but because he wore those rims to good you could only be awed by his awesomeness; our very own Abe Lincoln.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the BurnaMan™ years.
Like the man that he is, BurnaMan™ was said to have misappropriated an estimated $4billion by the time he died of heart attack while using an apple with fake iOS in 1998 –the same year Sunday Oliseh scored that stunner against Spain. Others think it he was in bed with two Indian runs girls at the time of this incident. (Now you see why Nigerian girls won’t let Indian hair rest).
In 1975, a corruption scandal surrounding the importation of cement engulfed this same country. Before you start accusing Dangote, this was 1975 gaddemit. In that year, many officials in the ministry of defence and the Central Bank of Nigeria were involved in what I like to call the Port D’Cement episode.
The Plot: Steal money and go unnoticed by importing tons of cement that the country probably doesn’t need.
The Execution: Officials falsified the manifests and inflated the amount of cement to be purchased. It then turned out that Nigeria had ordered 20 million tons of cement for delivery at Lagos when the said port could accept only One million tons of cargo.
Let me break this down, Nigeria was importing 20 years’ worth of cement in just one year. Brilliant! In fact, these officials needed to have been giving a medal of national service for being so insightful and planning ahead of time. Afterall if you buy in bulk, due to economics of scale, the price of the goods become considerably cheaper. And they say Nigerians are not intelligent people.
When basic supplies became stalled in the inevitable port congestion, Nigeria attempted to impose an emergency embargo on all inbound shipping and to retract the orders. This in turn got the suppliers angry and they consequently sued Nigeria in several courts around the world (a least 68 courts).
I will leave you with this question, “Which is the most corrupt public institution in Nigeria?”
Do you know any other fine moment in Nigeria’s corruption history? Use the comment box and don’t forget to share this post.
Until next time, keep winning.
All typos are intentional, and aren’t regretted excepted otherwise stated.
All memes are copyright of their owners.
All grammatical errors should be blamed on the Samsung PC I used to type this… not me.
© 2013, Playbookutunu.wordpress.com & Researching Commotion Inc.