Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Recently, in an inter-cultural conference, I was approached by someone who said “I hear in Nigeria , the airport officials are very corrupt”. Well, I thought to myself, what can I say? Prior to my flying to the USA , I personally witnessed the corruption of one of the officials. He was entrusted with the responsibility of manning the departure entrance, thus he monitored the kind and number of people entering the airport. He proudly announced to travelers as they entered the airport that only one person was allowed to see-off their family or friend but alas! To my disappointment, on this occasion, I saw him let down his guard and bend this rule after he was offered a bribe by a woman.

Even though the one action of this man doesn’t sum up reasonably that all airport officials are corrupt, however, remembering this scene which was vividly strong in my mind, I responded to the young lady’s quip about corruption in Nigeria airport, but not by creating a white-propaganda about Nigeria this young lady was expecting of me. Instead, I replied “isn’t there corruption everywhere?” and to my surprise, she quickly agreed. For a minute I was tempted to ask why she so strongly agree, was there some going on in her country?

It is all depressing to echo the words of one of the Nigerian leaders who affirmed that 90% of Nigerians are corrupt. Just a few days ago, I was stunned (not really) by a publication in one of the evening newspapers about corruption in the on-going WAEC exam. Exam questions were sold on streets before examination commences, the newspaper announced. This sounded really alarming I must confess, especially since the said exam is a major one for all candidates. The exam fraudsters seem to be getting wiser! What measures are being put in place to tackle this issue? Is our anti-corruption campaign loosing its hold against the so called fraudsters? Even Yahoo-Yahoo network, the cyber fraud youths engage in seems to be birthing new apprentices everyday. But we must not loose hope, a radical action must be take else corruption finally break this country into shred!

Back to the issue of corrupt airport officials, another participant in the same international youth gathering did share with me about her good impression of Nigeria . She has never been to Nigeria , but the closest experience of being in Nigeria was at the Lagos airport where she was stranded after her flight was cancelled, but for the help of a stranger- a Nigerian, she has no idea how she would have coped. Now talk about the 10% incorruptible Nigerians who seems insignificant but who are building the Nation in their own way! My good friend will never forget the kindness of this Nigerian despite the blaze about Nigeria being corrupt. Now I ask, are you among the 90% of corrupt Nigerians? The actions we take everyday counts!

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