Fraternities Are Viruses in Nigeria: Part 3 – The Manipulation
Many members of the public want to understand the thinking that perpetuates University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGFs) in Nigeria for their multitude of hapless members. The analogy of the “Failed Abusive Father Syndrome” is quite useful.
The failed abusive father is a man with a wife and children. But by societal standards is a typical economic and social failure. His position in society is without doubt one of a figure of fun. He is the ever-available butt of jokes in the community. Or a ‘figure of fear’ because of his sometimes senseless extremism in his reactions or his fervent quest for trivial things. He cannot attempt more essential endeavours. Outside his home, the failed abusive father is a constant victim of insults, shout-downs, mockery. Besides public humiliation, exclusions, desperation, condemnations, wishes and dreams, sadness, beatings, assaults and rudeness. And there is nothing he could do about it but to accept such as his immutable lot ‘as a man.’
Surprisingly, the failed abusive father has one vestige of honour left in his memory that only he can see and enjoy. He relishes the authority to beat his wife and children as he wills. For minor mistakes or offences or acts often exaggerated or suspicions that threaten his ever-present deep insecurity, he would beat the hell out of the family members troubling him. When beating his wife or children, you can observe an unusual deep-felt dedication in his entire demeanour. It is as if the beatings would compensate in the home for what he cannot be in society. It suffices a summary of how the UCGFs operate and treat their own members to make its executives feel essential within a culture of mindless power grabs and power displays. They know no one respects most of them outside the UCGF.
“High” UCGFs are those who will tell you they left the university campuses in Nigeria decades ago and eschew all forms of violence; this is a half-truth. Attempts to return to college campuses have been succeeding. “Low” UCGFs are those that still operate on campuses and are those that revel in to be physical violence And occasionally beat their own members to death in the name of discipline.
We should know those who run high UCGFs are masters of psychological manipulation and abuse; it is a necessity for the very perpetuation of the UCGF. It often makes them far more sinister than low UCGFs. The African parable of the child, who swears it would have been much better and much more bearable to have received a beating by their parent than to torture her with the tongue and psychological pain abyss, applies with aptness.
Are [civil society] organisations that use ready and systematic mental abuse and torture to correct those members who fall out of line, not criminal? Are they not breaking the law? The general membership of UCGFs is unaware of what is going on and how it affects their lives. It is a standard badge of honour for a member to choose his UGCF over his wife and divorce her. UCGFs are organisations reliant on intense brainwashing on their members through persistent, perverse conditioning. But how can you explain it to these members? It requires luck or professional deconditioning to free their minds of the insidious grip over their lives. Is this not a sad situation to be?
Those who run UCGFs use an array of techniques to control, condition and abuse their unwitting members. They include trumped-up charges, mental ambushes, punishments as humiliation. And coercion to beg publicly, rank demotions, showpiece rejections. Or punitive entrapment, malicious gossip/smears. More include the use of the closest friends to “turn” a member, spying on members using closest friends. And subtle but clear threats, creation of imaginary dependency, isolation from rest of society. The amnesia of individual good works and other techniques is common and simultaneous in use in their mind games of abuse and control.
In the aftermath, countless members of UCGFs who gave so much to the organisation end up with broken lives and bitter regrets; the smart ones who saw the reality fast escape early. Countless members suffer from psychological disturbances, and since they have no real-life outside the UCGF. The pain of misplaced loyalty is often very devastating. Large proportions of members float like jetsam into a “Stockholm syndrome” of sorts; they have nowhere else to go and no way out.
On the other hand, the psychological abusers and brainwashers remain on the constant prowl for victims “within”. They love what they do and take great pride in it, especially if they are “ruining” non-conformist members. The spies in their ranks continue to betray “friends” often in the name of Christianity or anything that will make them look virtuous. Those who run UCGFs cling to such steep evil mindedness. It achieves quick and ease results on a substrate of members who the bosses encourage to focus on the “ideals”.
Members of the public must wonder how these same UCGFs can make brazen claim to be the society’s saviours. Or operate from a moral high ground and to fight the ills of society. Systematic and unobstructed mental abuse is a heinous ill in the nation and worldwide. UCGFs should spy for Nigeria and on Nigeria’s public fund thieves, not on their hapless members. So how do UCGFs justify this? You can expect a barrage of fallacies, sophistry, deceptions and utter foolishness presented in defence from members.
Non-believers once again, they cannot convince.
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It is true that university brotherhoods have lost their way.
The way forward is simple. CHANGE
The ideals of brotherhoods are heart warming but delivery is the challenge.
This is the 21st century and new thinking can reposition the fraternities to heights unknown. It is a choice.