Corruption Nigeriana; Everything (And Nothing) Changes

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When one is done discussing a matter one laughs, when one is satiated sleep claims one (When a matter has been taken care of, one turns one’s attention in the appropriate direction)

When the future is bleak, you feel like shutting your eyes.

So sometime last week, the screaming headline, “How we lost N1.2tr in five years, by GenCos” graced a national daily. I know it is tough, it is the kind of stories you don’t know whether the editor is trying to be sensational; to sell his paper, or really it is the truth of the matter. Either ways, fact is that nobody just looses N1.2tr in five years if not in Nigeria.

The story in full, stated that Nigeria’s power generation companies (GenCos) in the past five years lost a whopping N1.2 trillion to poor capacity utilisation and the country’s inability to transport over 21,184.62 megawatts of electricity to end users.

With a peak suppressed load of 25,790MW on the grid, while peak generation hovers around 5,375MW (indicating that about 21 per cent of the suppressed grid load is met), Nigeria’s power generation capacity might substantially remain stranded in the face of load rejection by electricity distribution companies (DisCos) due to infrastructure and collection problems.

Statistics exclusively obtained from the GenCos showed that since the power sector was handed over to private owners, average generation capacity in the country stagnated at around 3000MW, though available generation capacity went from about 4000MW in 2013 to above 7000MW in 2019.

The story above shared space with another news item, Furore as TI indicts Buhari for worsening corruption

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) rose in defence of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, condemning the Transparency International (TI) report, which claimed Nigeria has become more corrupt.

The yearly Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by TI released in Berlin ranked Nigeria 146th of the 180 countries. The country however was 144th in 2018, indicating a two-point plunge.

Buhari had made fighting corruption a focus of his All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, with anti-graft agencies such as the EFCC proclaiming daily feats in reining in the monster. He is also currently recognised by the African Union (AU) as the continent’s anti-corruption champion.

Nigeria’s score of 26 out of 100 points is below the global average of 43. In Africa, countries such as Niger (32), Sierra Leone (33), Cape Verde (60), Rwanda (53), Namibia (52), Senegal (45), South Africa (44) and Tunisia (43) met the average.

Now whether EFCC, Malami, PDP, others disagree on the graft index as the nation falls behind South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, these are my humble thoughts and admonition.

Let me quickly state that I believe that as a people, we have an adverse governance structure which in itself promotes corruption. For example it is so simple to assume that we operate federalism…but really the truth is that our system of governance is anchored on corruption and since the inception, rather than kill it, it is killing us, and will continue to kill us.

Corruption has and will continue to thrive because we have power concentrated in the hands of few people who are not practically accountable to the people. So each time we fight corruption, it fights back, and it does real hard (not that I believe this last sentence).

Despite the entire baby crawling efforts at posturing, corruption has continued to be further enshrined into the system because of an illiterate, apathetic and ignorant populace, without adequate public discernment of political choices.

So we lost 1.2trn in stranded electricity, I am hearing the term for the first time. It means If the call-up capital of a bank is N25Billion, that bank has one branch per state i.e. 36 branches; it has 36 chartered accountants in all the branches, maybe half that number of charted bankers.

Then assumedly 15 staffers per branch, that’s a total of 540 staff members, let us agree that management staff for the entire bank is 25, we would have a total of 619

Again let us agree that half that number is married with kids, and the unmarried ones somehow are the bread makers and winners, if 309 of them have three kids each that would be 927 and they had only two siblings and one parent alive, that’s another 927, a total of 1854. The rest 307 are unmarried but have responsibilities to just two persons each, which would be 614 in addition to the 1854, a princely total of 2468 persons. Multiply these figure by say 30 as the number of banks we have, we would have 74,040 persons.

These figures exclude persons that provide ancillary services, printers, security outfits, restaurants in these banks and other such. I am not a statistician but this is just a best-case possible scenario.

Here is the point, how many 25billion make up N1.2trn, how many banks would that be, is there any bank in Nigeria that has up to a trillion? Ooooops, if we paid 74,040 persons N300k that is not possible, then we did be doing trillions?

From the gateman at the state secretariat to the corporal at the police desk, everyone wants something. Everyone is ‘prayerfully’ waiting for that promotion that will take one to the next level where one can demonstrate that inherent skill at greasing and lining our pockets. Those currently stealing and a miserly .001% of those that are waiting for their turn to steal!

Admission is sold, employment is sold, and political office sold, so naturally we are at the receiving end, the system pays for it. What’s in it for me is a guiding philosophy.

Does is mean that Nigeria is the most corrupt nation, no, does it mean that there are no honest Nigerians, no too, there are many but many of them never or hardly get the opportunity or are swallowed. Sadly I have not exactly said anything new, but I am alluding to the truth that really we are in a soup pot where everything (and Nothing) will change.

Because our problem is not corruption, the United Kingdom is corrupt, the United States is corrupt, corruption abound everywhere, but whither what manner of corruption is the Nigerian type? Our corruption is regaled in sumptuous ethnicity, served with iced cubes in religious sentiments; the corruption war is fought along lines of division with certain groups entitled to their corruption.

Our corruption is such that there is a conspiracy of the elite, silence of a critical mass, and unless there is class suicide by the elite, of the masses find the right answers having asked the right questions, we still will be fighting shadows, we are not corrupt, we lack leadership, that in itself is corruption you may say, but for how long—Only time will tell.

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