Corruption should be a persistent deep concern or anxiety in all countries of the world. In countries with a high rate of corruption, it would seem corruption is written into the DNA of most of the compatriots. Offices of such nations are besieged with sharp practices. The rate at which official cut corners is mind-boggling. Starting from the messenger in the office to the MD of an organization, the government officials, there are good numbers complicit in corruption. Most of the political class and their assistants are glaringly stealing from the economy. The uncanny ability to find loopholes by most of the citizens in all assigned tasks to make a profit out of situations to the detriment of compatriots is alarming. Corruption is contagious and it triggers some compatriots who don’t have access to the illegal cutting of a larger portion of the national cake to indulge in related activities. Using Nigeria as a case study, corruption encourages such related activities as hustling, daily traffic gridlocks in major cities, and related disorderliness. One would wonder how, but they are not unconnected. In such nations with a high rate of corruption, uncultured or untoward behaviour stares or smacks citizens in their faces when they set out in the pursuit of daily bread. The penchant to make money either to belong to the big boys or girls or have three square meals to feed the hungry mouths is very high and is done in desperation. The good become less in number than the bad.
The hustlers in high corrupted nations are either educated or half-educated. They are found in major cities where they think crumbs of the looting of the politicians and those at the corridors of power can fall to their fortune in one way or the other. Using Nigeria as a case study, they are of the firm belief that they can hit the next million through an Abuja or Lagos or Port Harcourt big boy or girl. They hold the firm belief that society owes them a living. They are usually not ready to be dirtied by engaging in any form of menial labour. They may or may not have a car but they are always well dressed without any known job. The women in this group usually are glorified prostitutes while the men either usually are gigolos or playboys. They have mouths to feed back home. Back home could be in the village or in the suburbs.
The hustlers are usually patrons of both the spiritual houses and the shamans owing to the belief that they can attain wealth through performing certain spiritual or even diabolic acts which will bring them luck or make them invisible. By invisible, yours sincerely mean, not been caught in their nefarious acts. In their inordinate desires to make it, they fall prey to the wiles of the shamans or voodoo men of god. It is a dog eat dog situation. As is their common saying on the streets, “mugu fall guy man chop”.
Advance fee fraud guys belong to the hustlers. They are usually known as “yahoo” boys and girls. The addicts among them are baptized “yahoo plus”. They go as far as picking women pants and excreta to prepare charms and turn the victim to a money-making machine. The pressure to make it has pushed too many of the yahoo boys and girls to engage in acts that one begins to wonder if they are still human. Stories of young men going to eat their poo because some shaman asked them to, in order to become rich are abounding. Yours sincerely do not see any correlation between eating feces and making money.
The desperation to make it has made some young people in corrupted nations to become gullible to the extent that they believe that olive oil has spiritual powers. They and of course other citizens who believed so much in the so-called “men of God” even buy white handkerchief that has been prayed upon at very exorbitant prices because of the belief that it has been imbued with spiritual powers to bring wealth and change their lives narratives. Churches are at nooks and crannies of corrupted nations, not because they so much believe in God but the desire to survive in the harsh economy caused by corruption had made many of the citizens turn prey to some hustlers who had hidden under the church to make money. A month after month churches spring up here and there. Match the characters of most of the citizens of these nations with the extent of church activities day in and out, you will agree it is triggered by corruption and thrive in corruption too. Men of God are counted among the richest in some of these nations. Because corruption has dealt with the economy, people are impoverished to believe that hardship is more spiritual than what the citizens have imposed through corruption. “Men of God” capitalizes on such to make money as hustlers.
Corrupted nations are also characterized by a good number of young men and women seeking to travel out of their countries for greener pastures. While some are ready to behave themselves outside their countries and engage in legitimate business, others would never molt themselves of the corruption they inherited from the home nation. In their desperation to get the papers for traveling out, they can go to any length. For example, in recent times there is a prevalence of young women from corrupted countries going to Dubai to engage in acts which are stomach-churning. They allow themselves to be treated in the basest of acts. Sometimes they allow men of Arab descent to poo into their mouth. This is the basest of any act in the desire for money. This is not only subhuman but negates all known behaviour even in the animal world. But they accept and engage in such to make money.
In corrupted nations, others who may not want to engage in nefarious activities choose to disobey any law at their disposal to make money. Painting a simple scenario is the traffic gridlock which is unavoidable in most cities of corrupt nations owing to the activities of registered and non-registered commercial drivers and the painted taxis who do not have the patience to park and pick passengers. These sets of persons are very unruly most likely owing to the amount of illicit substance they consume and their quest to pursue money. These sets of persons are brash and unruly as they have no time to observe traffic rules and regulations. They are always in a hurry to pick and drop the next passenger that they meander through traffic and brush people’s cars. The simple act of obeying traffic rules is alien to them. They usually do not have valid vehicle papers. They do not pay any sort of tax and they live life on the fringes of society.
Corruption seems an Augean stable in corrupted nations. But the people of the affected countries have not been able to move away from behaviours that make the developed world wonder if they are truly desirous to develop. The society is what the people are. Therefor in developed nations, many citizens have resolved to make their nation develop by imbibing in good value orientation, obeying the laws, and be ashamed to be caught disobeying the laws. The leaders and the followers are very conscious of what the nation requires of them to make it greater. The transformation is seen in the utilization of natural endowment for economic growth. The corrupt nations have abundant natural resources to make them wealthy but lack behaviours to harness and maximize them for economic growth. Otherwise, how would a nation like Nigeria have crude oil but is incapable of refining it in Nigeria? Crude oil, the mainstay of the economy is taken to other nations to be refined, and the shameful stories of petroleum subsidy become a thing around the people’s neck. What should ordinarily be the cheapest product for the citizens goes higher from year to year. This is because people are benefiting from the abnormality, and the refineries remain epileptic or shut all year round.
Corruption is an albatross to the quest to developing a nation. kill corruption or bring it to the barest minimum and other things would be added unto it for good of the citizenry.
S.O Ekoja writes from Abuja.