Fraternities Are Viruses in Nigeria

UCGF Photo

There many university campus grown fraternities (UCGFs) in Nigeria today, some old and some new, but they all claim to be the “saviours” of the Nigerian society. Their claims for existence and continuity are noble but utterly false. These fraternities now have websites if visited present the public with their own uninspired equivalent of the Ten Commandments; their own prescriptions for a just, moral or egalitarian society; their own apocryphal histories; their own charities and do-gooding; their own claims to elitism and their own critiques of the government. Non-believers are not convinced.

No names are named, neither of fraternities nor of individuals in public office only because it is unnecessary. If Nigeria is to be one day taken over by UCGFs we must expect that Nigeria will be worse off in the governance arena but no leader or administrator or group of concerned Nigerians will do anything about such. Why should they?

If a Murtala Mohammed-like head of state were in power today he would put ban on UCGF members and other secret society members from holding office unless perhaps they have renounced by legal procedure their membership. However, Murtala Mohammed was assassinated almost forty years ago. Even President Muhammadu Buhari does not have UCGFs on his radar in his anti-corruption mission.

While many UCGFs brazenly claim they have “brothers” who are governors, senators, ministers, commissioners, professors, vice-chancellors, ambassadors, generals, clergymen, corporate executives etc. in their ranks the public should ask who heads these fraternities and if  they and these public officials they boast about are exemplary or not? Are they not working narrowly for the interests of their bosses and founders?

A casual scan of these UCGF groomed public officials in office would unmistakably unveil they are no less disposed to corruption or malfeasance and no less venal or mediocre than the non-fraternity public officials. From local government to federal level these guys with few exception demonstrate a sheer proclivity for corrupt practices. And collectively they are now distributive special interest groups.

Such ‘double speak’ by UCGFs about their mission and the honour list of their members as matched against the realities of their routine practices is only tolerated because Nigeria is a society in which “nobody cares” unless their source of income is interrupted or taken away.

UCGF members actively expect nepotism and favouritism to bring them succour and opportunity when their “brother” assumes public office. Incorruptible fraternity members who get into office are soon ostracised by their “brothers” with arguments that reduce them to being selfish, unhelpful, foolish, overzealous in their job and not being a true member. Needless to say the corrupt fraternity member who splurges on his “brothers” is their favoured and blessed hero and such heroes abound. Such behaviour nullifies the shoddy self-tributes they have on their websites.

No one can honestly say they did not see the UCFGs coming. They are already here but like initial viral infections they take time to multiply and take over the host. Since when have viruses been the saviours of the hosts they colonise?

Grimot Nane

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