By Tunde Jakande
I wonder why we turn our noses up in disgust and embarrassment when stories fly in global media about the fraudulent activities of Nigerians. Why do we pretend we do not know where our people outside the country get the motivation to do almost anything to get rich.
Afterall, here in Nigeria, politicians are stealing public funds yet are celebrated with one title or the other.
Public servants are building houses and living way above their remuneration, actresses are driving cars their acting fees cannot afford. Common folks, stealing is nothing new in Nigeria or to Nigerians. Getting rich by all means is an accepted and acceptable culture down here.
Looks like everyone is doing it in his or her own way. Exporting nacortics, defrauding people all over the globe, ritual killings, kidnapping, armed robbery, hacking into accounts etc just about anything to get the money. If and when you get it, the society bows. The security agencies, the government, academia, Press, traditional institutions, ladies just about everybody. Why should an incurably corrupt government official scorn an international serial fraudstar? Why do you think any of these indicted Nigerians will regret their actions when even those accused of stealing billions of naira of public money are appionted as ministers or other sensitive positions. The only regret they have is probably getting caught this time but If another oppurtunity surfaces, they will take it .
So let us quit the pretence. Nigerians are a corrupt set of people because we breed and celebrate corruption. You may be mad about the labeling or generalisation , you may single yourself out of the mix but a tree does not make a forest.
The tragedy is that the worse is yet to come. As long as we justify each appointment or re appiontment of those accused of stealing by saying they have not been convicted, a generation of youths are watching and taking notes. The implied message is,as long as you succeed, you are untouchable. Old family values of integrity and honest is now none in existent or rather replaced with get it however, whichever way possible.
The Politician, Mechanic, Immigration officials, Teachers, Press, Tailor, Banks, Bankers, Car part sellers just about everyone cut corners. I guess the only difference between the international drug peddllers or frauderstars and local scammers is while one is national the other is international. Quit turning your noses in embarrassment and take a look at the mirror instead.