Our war against corruption is severely challenged. It is politically propelled; we, the people are not aware of any coherent strategic framework, it is only fought from the centre and as Kabir Gwangwazo has just noted, we fight it at the retail end, ignoring the whole sale side of the business, where 20% effort would yield 80% outcome (The trouble with fighting corruption at the retail end, Vanguard, 8/6/18).
But the greatest problem is that the concept of corruption has been so narrowed down that even if we win the battle, we would not win the war. In 1969, Kotler and Levy demanded for the broadening of marketing concept (Kotler, P. & Levy, S.J. Broadening the concept of marketing, Journal of Marketing, 33(1).10-15).
Mr Femi Kayode, who taught us marketing at UI in 1977( we studied marketing as a part of our economics degree), forced us to read that paper.
We were perplexed that while we were still grappling with the difference between selling and marketing as well as its various concepts ( four as at then), someone was asking us to broaden the concept.
Anyway, I believe that we need to seriously broaden the concept of corruption before we can effectively ameliorate that scourge.
One man from my friends town said that the only thing wrong with him is that whenever he wanted to say one thing, he would end up saying something else.
My focus today is not on broadening the concept of corruption; it just came up.
“So na you”, the title of this treatise is the process and practice, which probably originated in Nigeria, in which somebody who is qualified for a job, contract, appointment, is replaced by somebody who is less qualified, not qualified, or did not even take part in the selection process because the qualified candidate committed the crime of coming from the wrong part of the country.
It is the father and mother of all corruption because it strikes a deep and everlasting blow on the victim, alienates and makes him or her hostile to everything that has to do with the organization or the country and questions the all-citizens-are-equal principle of citizenship.
The copyright to this concept belongs to a US-based serial medical researcher and inventor , Dr. Steve Ayanruoh who is one of the renowned victims of so na you. That was what forced him to flee Nigeria. This is his painful story which is self-explanatory.
I applied for a job in the NNPC as a Medical Officer in Warri in 1989. After the interview, the Personnel Manager in Warri informed me that I was the successful candidate and my appointment letter would be coming from Lagos. I am still waiting for the letter 29 years after.
A few weeks after my interview with NNPC, a classmate of mine knocked on my door at about 8pm. I was surprised, though happy to see him in Warri since he was not from that part of the country. On further questioning, he told me he had come to resume at NNPC.
I said I am waiting for my letter of appointment from Lagos. He said “so na you?”
I replied “wetin be so na you?” He replied “them remove your name and put my name because I claim say I come from Kano State”. This was when I decided to leave Nigeria.( Dr Ayanruoh; Dearth of equipment, corruption responsible for Nigerian doctors’ migration overseas’; Guardian, 2/6/18, pp35-37)
In 1975, I went to University of Benin to confirm my admission status. The official we met there told my father and I that if they admitted all the qualified candidates from East Central State, there would be no space for Bendelites and that was that.
In 1981, I attended a WAEC conducted examination for the defunct New Nigerian bank. Just like Dr Ayanruoh, I was informed at the head office in Benin that I scaled through and that my appointment letter would come. I am still waiting, almost 40 years later.
From St Josephs Secondary School, Awka Etiti, I got admission into Federal Government College Enugu after a 3-day residential interview.
My father did not know where the school was, did not know the principal or any director or any Senator.
That was in 1976. About 25 years later, my daughter wanted to get admission into Queens College. She lost one term waiting for the come-today-come-tomorrow that followed.
A street-wise towns man advised me to claim Kaduna indigeneship( at the cost of N40,000) and she would be admitted.
Me? How can I do that and what lesson would I be teaching my only daughter if I signed her off to Kaduna (incidentally, she was born in Kaduna) just to gain a temporary, fraudulent advantage?
But the man’s three children attended Federal Government Colleges through the so-na-you route. This disease does not only occur across ethnic lines.
At Cooperative and Commerce Bank, Enugu, I was shortlisted, after a tough selection process to attend a foreign training following the introduction of Second-tier Foreign Exchange Market.
That was when I obtained my first International Passport. I have renewed that Passport up to 10 times and I am still waiting for the training. My son just finished a very expensive local training to equip him for work in the power industry.
I borrowed to fund the training but those from the upper end of Nigeria were all sponsored, including those who were not qualified to be at the training ab initio.
And before the programme ended, some of his colleagues who came first from below had jobs awaiting for him. With his 80.5% cumulative score, he went into the suffocated labour market.
I also know somebody who made the best result a department has ever had and while the intellectual inferiors have been employed in that federal university, the fellow is still hanging about because she came from the wrong part of the country.
Universities usually don’t let go of their best students but this happens in this so-na-you environment!
Another person attended an interview at Yaba-tech, was informed that the letter of appointment was ready, went to pick up the letter and it developed wings up to this moment because of so na you
So na you is about the most deadly and rampant form of corruption in Nigeria in which some citizens are more citizen than the others.
And as long as night follows the day, we cannot progress without dealing with so na you spirit( everything is now a spirit!) because that is why when others are sending their 1st eleven, we send our 11th 11.
That is why we have remained just potentially great since 1960.Unfortunately, we are not even talking, let alone acting about it. This is really sad.
Meanwhile, If you want to have a better picture of the trouble with Nigeria (brain-drain, why those who checked out will not return and why we cannot benefit from the breakthroughs of our foreign based compatriots) read that interview.
It is compelling
Ik Muo, PhD, Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye
DISCLAIMER: Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers of Elombah News