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As Our corruption Value Chain Expands

Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe writes that corruption in Nigeria is this complex because almost everyone is a stakeholder.

Ending corruption in Nigerian a our collective responsibility / Photo credit: nigerianeye.com
Ending corruption in Nigerian a our collective responsibility / Photo credit: nigerianeye.com

Recently, I visited a government institution to acquire an important document. Right there at the first outer point of entry into the establishment was the very first link in the chain; the security personnel.

After they had asked me what I needed, the next question was ‘have you called someone to help you?’ Feigning ignorance of their antics, I asked them the kind of help they were referring to.

They told me to drive a little further up to a cubicle and meet their boss, who would explain everything to me.

Still feigning ignorance, I insisted that they told me the manner of explanations I required to hear from their ‘boss’ ahead.

Ok. ‘Did you come with this and that document…have you filled this and that form…and so forth’, they rattled off, with the enthusiasm of a mobile salesman.

I tired of the charade sooner than I had anticipated. ‘Oh, but I have already filled out the forms online and I also made my payment online,’ I told them.

Their faces fell with such speed and synchrony that a keen observer would have been forgiven to think that they had rehearsed under the watchful eyes of a seasoned choreographer.

At that point they somberly directed me on how to get their car park. No one mentioned the boss and his cubicle anymore.

The corruption value chain in Nigeria is very lucrative too. It doesn’t even have to be a full time engagement to reward you. Most times, it’s a classic case of the side hustle that has become the main income earner

The chain broke right at the gate from the first link.

The rest of the links became irrelevant, at least for this ‘transaction’.

I broke the link. Not President Muhammadu Buhari and certainly not the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

I broke that link because I had done the right thing the previous night by going online to play the part assigned to me in the process.

No country is completely free from corruption. May be it has always been so. However, I don’t see the picture changing anytime soon.

Yes, no country on earth today is completely corruption free.

Even Denmark, the least corrupt country in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index report of 2019 scored only 88 per cent.

And while 88 per cent might fetch any student an A, you still can’t help but wonder where the rest 12 per cent could have gone in this case.

Think of every Nigerian who would rather follow a short cut to every destination and you have unearthed the foundation of the corruption sector in Nigeria

Thankfully, Nigeria escaped the bottom five on the index that has North Korea, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria and Somalia as co-travellers on the journey to the most corrupt country award.

We are grateful for little mercies.

Yes, no country on earth today is completely corruption free.

However, the Nigerian corruption sector is an interesting one. Almost everyone is a certified or, at least, an aspiring stakeholder.

Corruption in Nigeria has a value chain with millions of corruprenuers working tirelessly at every link of the chain.

Sometimes, it’s almost like navigating your way through a landmine. You really need to be delicately careful in walking your way to safety as they are planted in too many hidden and unexpected corners.

They are everywhere, shamelessly raking in the desired dividends while pointing accusing fingers at their colleagues on the other links.

But do not let the occasional hullabaloo from any of them deceive you. Each knows he can’t do without the other because once any of the links breaks off the chain becomes less effective and even shorter.

So, each is better off looking out for the other. Genuine disaffections only arise when the sharing formula is unduly doctored without proper consultation.

Then, you should watch out for the ensuing protests. By their outcry you would recognise where each stands on the gravy chain.

Think of our commercial banks and all the stolen funds they stash away for their clients and the chain’s impenetrability will stare back right in your face.

Think of the contractor who’s indifferent to inflating the figures on an invoice and you understand why it isn’t going away anytime soon.

Think of every Nigerian who would rather follow a short cut to every destination and you have unearthed the foundation of the corruption sector in Nigeria.

Corruption in Nigeria is so complex and that’s because almost all is involved. Perhaps, you still haven’t located your own place in the links yet. But be certain that you just have to look hard enough to find it. It is either you’re perched, precariously or you’re lounging comfortably

The corruption value chain in Nigeria is very lucrative too. It doesn’t even have to be a full time engagement to reward you. Most times, it’s a classic case of the side hustle that has become the main income earner.

They reap after the real farmers have sown and harvested. But rather than be content with husks that fall off the grain during threshing, the Nigerian corrupreneurs usually go for the main sacks meant for the real owners’ barns.

That’s the reason when sometimes, after inflating an invoice at the instance of the so-called insiders the average Nigerian vendor would wonder why he shouldn’t leave all the hard work and just beg for a seat at the table at the other side.

Corruption in Nigeria is so complex and that’s because almost all is involved. Perhaps, you still haven’t located your own place in the links yet.

But be certain that you just have to look hard enough to find it. It is either you’re perched, precariously or you’re lounging comfortably.

It’s an expanded seat with room for every willing body and, soul!

So, before you cast the customary self-righteous stones at the next corruption exhibition conference, you might do well to locate your position in the corruption value chain.

And then, you must remove yourself.

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