Every day in Nigeria, Money exchanges hands from one party to another. This could be a payment for a service, Fine, License registration, or a “happy weekend” settlement to a government official. So,
“How can we categorically know when a payment we are making is questionable???” We have built a culture where most service providers believe it is normal for you to “settle” them for doing what they are paid to do. From the security at the door to the young secretary at a government building. There is a seemingly increasing entitlement mentality that is so widespread that if you go about your day with an ethical-moral chip hanging around your neck, insisting you’re not paying any form of “appreciation sum”, then like D’banj will say “You are on a long thing”.
Have you ever tried to renew your international passport in Nigeria? If you have heard the phrase “Do you have a plug?” and you haven’t been opportune to know what it means, a day at the Nigerian Immigration Office in Ikoyi will help you understand this perfectly. You can be a law-abiding citizen, wake up as early as 5 am, so you can beat the Lagos traffic to get to the passport office right on time for their opening hour of 8 am. You can even be the first to write your name on any list you might have been presented with. While you feel fulfilled with your promptness and reciting the Nigerian pledge in your head, believing you’re a first-class and upright citizen, then all of a sudden you see a group of young folks walking in majestically, welcomed by uniformed personnel, and being taken directly to the capturing room. The sad part is that if you try to complain, you will be reminded that you don’t matter in the scheme of things. At this point, you are wondering what you did wrong. Honestly, you didn’t do anything wrong, you did the right set of things, you were just the right person in the wrong system.
Even though we have seen some top officials trying to curb these bad practices across various government agencies, these bad practices have eaten deep into the core of their operations, and it has been a challenging endeavor to clean up the rot.
We need to ensure that as law-abiding citizens, we play our part in the transformation we seek for the country. We must make a cautious effort to be as ethical as possible in our daily dealings. In remitting taxes, licensing permits, and so on, we are constantly faced with options of cutting corners and bypassing the authorized processes, but we should ensure that we stay on the right side of the law at all times. Our good acts eventually have a ripple effect in shaping our society. From refusing to pay that bribe, not jumping queues, paying adequate fines when we violate the law, then we are passing a message that will eventually see us moving to the promised land.