Stella Dimoko Weekend Arena - In Nigeria You Need Connection Or Corruption To Survive...


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Friday, July 24, 2020

Weekend Arena - In Nigeria You Need Connection Or Corruption To Survive...

In Nigeria, It’s Either Corruption or Connection, Depending on One’s Perspective

For those brimming with optimism about a change in our system from the youths, the story of Fatai Salami and Mohammed Bouazizi should strum a comparative chord. Both deceased, Fatai Salami, was a Nigerian from Ogun State, while Mohammed Bouazizi was a Tunisian. 

In December 2010, Bouzazizi, a street vendor in a Tunisian city, fed up with the vicissitudes of life, occasioned by an inept government, which neither provided for him, nor protected him, protested against the oppressive system. He set himself on fire in front of his governor’s office over the seizure of his wares by corrupt state officials.

 The state officials were always exploiting him, demanding bribes in spite of his lean income from a tasking hustle. This incident resonated amongst the youths of Tunisia, prompting a new consciousness about social issues eating them up as a people: unemployment, human rights violation, inflation, political corruption, kleptocracy, poverty.

This catalysed what is today known by historians as the ‘Jasmine Revolution’; it not only led to the fall of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian President at the time, but also snowballed into Egypt, setting the stage for the ouster of Hosni Mubarak and other leaders in the neighbouring countries of the Middle East in what later became the ‘Arab Spring’.

History is fond of repeating itself… somehow. 

Last week in Ogun State, Nigeria, Fatai Salami, a fleet manager in a trucking company had one of his trucks seized by state authorities, TRACE, for violating the COVID-19 rules on the use of face masks and social distancing. This allegedly attracted a fine of N215k (in a country with a national minimum wage of 30k a month) out of which Salami, after four days, was able to raise N150k, following the threats by his employer to fire him if he failed to regain control of the truck. For days, Salami slept at the premises of the agency with the hope that the truck would be released to him to no avail. 

Reports revealed that he got so frustrated that he threatened to take his life over the issue, but this warning was ignored until he took out a bottle of Sniper, an insecticide and emptied it in his mouth, leading to his death.

The spokesman of the agency,confirmed the death of Salami with a hint that life was not sacred in Nigeria from his apathetic response: “The man was neither a truck driver nor a truck owner. We only saw him there, he sat on the floor and the people asked him to stand up and as he stood up he brought out something from his pocket and drank it. We later discovered that it was Sniper that he drank. He was rushed to the General Hospital, where he gave up the ghost. The case has been reported to the police.”

While Mohammed Bouzazizi’s case enraged the Tunisian youths, Salami’s to the Nigerian youths, was just his business; everyone has carried on as if nothing happened. As far as Nigerians are concerned, it is Salami’s cup of tea, yet some of us, get subjected to the same kinds of indignations that Salami suffered.

Of course, they have called the Nigerian youths ‘lazy’, and know very well that the only place they fight effectively is on the social media, when it has to do with comparing the jollof rice cooked in Lagos and Accra; or when it has to do with debates about housemates in ‘Big Brother Africa’ and ‘Big Sister Nigeria’. 

They know the youths are consumed with the utopian dreams of becoming overnight billionaires from sports betting with which they would dazzle on Instagram.

In reality, this false hope is not unfounded; it has made Nigerians one of the most docile people in the world. Everyone believes tomorrow will be better. The mosques, the churches preach it and the events around them prove it. They see fellow citizens who could not afford to feed themselves yesterday, becoming millionaires the next day due to a political office or contract or some kind of sham. 

Once in Abia State, a woman selling fish in the local market by virtue of her position as the women’s leader in the Local Government got announced as the Caretaker Chairman of the Local Government Council and after a ten month stint in office, which was run by proxy through her son (who had the privilege of a school certificate unlike the mother) she became a millionaire with houses where she never dreamt of. So who says the God of Nigerians is not a God that makes the impossible possible? With the hope of ‘picking a white man’s bag’ tomorrow, how do you expect anyone to worry about Salami?

In spite of the uproar about the massive fraud perpetrated at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which the various militant groups have kept mute about, ‘everyone’ is also silently wishing he was at the centre of the cake, so he could have a bite of the largesse, which Budg-IT puts at N15tr since 2000. Forget the hypocrisy in Nigeria; it is corruption when one is not involved and connection, when one gets a bite.

But which country develops this way?


  1. Nigerian system 😭😭😭

    I don't even know if God can ever redeem Nigeria again.

    1. I even read somewhere earlier today that the Lagos State government spends between 100k to 1m daily to treat oneCone 19 patient depending on the level of severity.

      I give up

    2. Like play like play, Biafra will emerge

  2. This is educative for me, I've never heard of Mohammed Bouazizi before.

  3. Nigeria is made up of its people, the people were badly raised with a culture of greed and cheating, no president or governor can change Nigeria until we change the culture and orientation starting from the family unit, when an uncle visits and gives the eldest child money, share it equally with your siblings, don’t keep some aside, when they give you the cost of textbooks in school, don’t add to it and lie to your parents, don’t buy fake designer shoes and bags and sell it at the cost of original to unsuspecting victims and call it business, don’t buy synthetic hair and market it as raw virgin hair and sell it costly saying it’s business, you are just another greedy Nigerian, don’t jump queues, don’t beat traffic lights, all these things may seem small but they matter. Change begins with you, that slogan is the most reasonable thing this government created

    1. Just that the government is not sensible enough to follow its own advice.

  4. I remember how a friend's brother gisted us how back then in sch,in one of these polytechnics in our state; In one of the course lecturer's office,when you go to submit any assignment,term paper or the likes. You either submit it in heaven or in hell.

    When you go he will ask you if you are submitting in heaven-heaven in this context is his table.(of course with you light change to ease free passage to heaven). Your money is to be put inside whatever you are submitting

    Now,if you tell him that you are not with transport fare for easy passage,you will then submit it under his table(that's your work in hell). Whenever you have transport fare,you come back to remove your assignment,term paper or whatever and climb it up to heaven.
    I'm talking real story.
    It was quite funny then but that's just wrong.
    Everywhere is damn corrupted

  5. Well said. Ours is really a Country of lazy youth which can neither stand up for themselves or for what is right.

    As someone once said, the number of people waiting to steal or embezzle money in Nigeria is currently more than the number stealing and embezzling currently. May God help this country.

  6. Hmm it is a pity very painful in this country..What can we do to salvage this country..Nigeria is just a complete case of Bedlam and a concrete jungle.

  7. I agree with you, Ngozi. "It is corruption when one is not involved, and connection when one is".

  8. I weep for Nigeria!The life of a common man does not matter to most Nigerian money mongers.Just imagine how that man took his life cos of wickedness of both his oga and the govt.
    May his soul continue to rip.
    This government is full of 'unemployment, human rights violation, inflation, political corruption, kleptocracy, poverty'.

  9. Always hitting the nail on the headπŸ‘,

    Na like this we go dey dey? I must leave.

  10. It is most unfortunate. It's either protests do not work in Nigeria or the desired effect is not achieved or Nigerians are afraid to protest. What is happening in the country in the last 5 years is enough to be protesting everyday for a year yet no action.

    Check out what is happening in "ordinary" Mali. How protests are bringing changes in the last weeks.

    I think even those involved in corruption in Nigeria know they are corrupt but it's the system that has failed the citizens coupled with Buhari not being in charge and clueless.

    Cases of Funtua that just died and Buhari's nephew come to mind. Plus multitudes of others we may never know because no one is accountable to any one so its a free for all grabs of our Commonwealth.

    The highland corruption going on in NDDC is just an extension of what has been going on in the Ministries.
    From budget padding to outright stealing.

    Do we know how Agric Ministry disburses the billions it says it gives farmers? How about the billions earmarked as palliatives to the citizens during lockdown? What does ministry of Communications do with its budget? Is it the inflated contracts Ministry of works does in awarding contracts for roads? What of Power and Steel? What are they powering and "steeling". And so with all the Ministries. CBN is another case. NNPC is frustrating. Aviation Ministry nko? Nigeria as a whole does not gave a National Carrier. Wonderful.

    Nigeria is beyond redemption. Fact. They way and rate this set of APC people are stealing looks like they are aware that the country will soon disintegrate so grabbing as much as they could.

    If the country is too big to manage, break it up into smaller units or regions.


  11. An Interesting read, with valid points raised. We always pray for connection and 'destiny helpers' but most times these comes in form of corrupt/fraudulent acts and we blatantly accept it claiming it as God's blessings and later we complain and say we hate the government. The hypocrisy stings.

    1. Thank so much @13.42. Most Christians don't like to acknowledge it as corruption but they call Favor lol

      The most Complex B

  12. There is no corporation amongst the youth. Most of Nigeria youth are been used by the politicians so they can't fight for what is right

  13. I have said it repeatedly,Nigerians are not ready for the desired change.
    If we as a people dont let go of this greed,selfish,we remain where we are.

  14. This is exactly what it is...I grew up to actually meet everything this way.. corruption starts from the family and begins to change your thoughts about things and sometimes it even begin to shape you to something else unless you're able to discipline yourself... it's so sad that salami had to die that way... corruption can never end in this country..

  15. In Nigeria everyone is on his/her own. We often say to your tenth oh Israel. The problem of corruption in Nigeria is complex and foundational. Everything can be traced backed to the colonial masters.In a bid to get traditional rulers and government officials to do their bidding,this white folks mostly bribed their way through thereby pitting us against each other. Our traditional rulers and leaders rather than bother about the long run effect,saw it as a privilege to be in the white man's clique.The reason corruption may be very difficult to tackle in Nigeria is because corruption has been from inception.It has been ingrained into the hearts and minds of our leaders long time ago and not even the realization of the fact that they were merely used to fulfil an agenda has made them to genuinely see it as a yoke.What does the holy book say about training up a child,Nigeria has been trained up in the way of corruption and now that it is old,it cannot depart from it.The damage has been done and only revolution or divine intervention can deliver the country

  16. I weep for Nigeria πŸ‡³πŸ‡¬ my mother land πŸ’”

  17. Can this corruption and connection ever end?

  18. Thank you for this post. Very well written.

  19. I totally agree with him, Even if you have money and you don't have connection it takes the grace of God for you to survive in this country

  20. Billion is the new million.......

  21. The last paragraph is so true

  22. It's just so sad! I hardly drop comments but o just can't help it. About 70% Nigerians if not more are suffering and struggling and can't even make headway, while some just amass "curses" cuz I won't call it wealth at the expense of others.
    The greed as eaten too deep and I don't know who can save our land, only God! But the condition of things is beyond pathetic. We can go on and on but alas lamenting isn't even helping

  23. I just don't want to give up on Nigeria hence the little thread of faith I have.

    Come to Nairaland and see how Federal jobs are sold to the highest bidder.

  24. This is so sad and upsetting. Money is valued above human lives again in Nigeria. See how they denied knowing him, his blood on their hands but they don't realize because their conscience is dead. I found myself in a similar situation at Akute, was driving with my sis to use an ATM and buy food stuffs, then some officials stopped us and asked for a pass which I didn't have they cornered and directed us to their office, immediately writing a ticket for 15000. I tried to reason with them but they kept saying they will soon close, I was given 3 choices, to pay,have my tires deflated or submit my key. That got me real mad, I dared them then someone asked me to explain my situation and negotiate with their boss. Las Las, I remembered a church member that had local government connections, he helped me out but told me to give them 500 or 1000 as settlement.They were so many people there, some had passes but for some reason they refused to let them go. This happened on children's day, people were going about and markets were opened. I just happened to stop because I am law-abiding. I talked to them but I doubt it would have an effect because they claim to be following orders. There's corruption in all strata I was ashamed for them and angry at the situation.It's quite unfortunate that in this country,you have to pull connections or part with hard earned cash in meaningless,unnecessary and avoidable situations. Morals/Values gone with the wind.There's no accountable and responsible government.No patriotism, integrity or loyalty instead we have money lovers and worshippers. Maybe,the government keeps us on our toes, so we are pressured to focus on family and few loved ones.the irony is how religious and spiritual we claim to be. Sanctimonious only when someone who knows you is around.
    I used to have faith in Nigeria but I just don't know anymore. Oga dinma


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