Amongst the vices that plague Nigeria, bribery and its alike leaders. It has become so casual that many do not even see it as a vice; rather as a social construct that has grown to become a lifestyle. Bribery comes in different ways and names, hence the “bribe-alike” mentioned above.
However, in principle, any lobbying, offering or receiving with the intent of influencing the receiver’s conduct about a certain discourse is bribery. It may not be cash or gift as popularly known, but any form of giving that places the giver at an undue advantage counts as a form of bribery.
In the case of Gogo Nigeria Limited from the Business Ethics class, a form of bribery was described as giving “PR”. Here, the company’s representatives give out “PR” to customers to retain them and to potential customers to buy their goodwill and patronage. This practice saturated the market such that when a company decides not to give PR, they’re likely to lose their customers to competitors. Gogo Nigeria Limited, at a time was not giving “PRs” but after losing one of their major clients because of their “no-PR” policy, their market relevance crashed. In a bid to win back the market, they had to start giving PRs. This shows how much that market is influenced by bribery and how casual or normal it seemed.
This ethical dilemma has become a major discourse for many companies. In economies where bribe-giving and receiving is the norm and your business’s continuous existence is dependent on how much bribe you can give – not only how much work you can put out – how do businesses stand their ethics ground without going out of business? This practice is popular with businesses like construction, marketing and real estate where actors compete for contracts. In bargaining for contracts, many companies have to go through misconducts to win the contracts.
Bribery has two sides – the receiver and the giver. Usually, there’s focus on the giver who gives the bribe. The giver is usually the person in need of the receiver, so they buy the goodwill of the receiver in exchange for the undue advantage. More often than not, the giver is perceived to be who has pressured the receiver into collecting a bribe. Not much focus is on the receiver and the role they play. At times, the receiver is the one who initiated the bribe or mandated on the giver to provide the bribe, else they may not receive what they deserve. This is common in Nigeria, especially when dealing with public workers. They may subtly coerce someone in need to bring a bribe before they offer them their services. In the case of Gogo Nigeria Limited, we see where representatives of Toba Nigeria pressured Gogo Nigeria’s representatives to give “PR”. When they refused, the company lost their patronage. So the pressure to give or receive bribes is not usually one-sided. Any party can initiate it. Is it however noteworthy that it is unethical and should not be encouraged.
Finally, with how rampant this practice is in Nigeria, it’ll take a very conscious campaign and efforts to eradicate the vice and build a more ethnically vibrant society.