Fraternities Are Viruses in Nigeria: Part 4 – The Deviation
University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGFs) started as idealistic brotherhoods with the reverie of changing some aspects of society. Most founding members never believed it would achieve its aim, become a prominent phenomenon, or even become a menace to society (which they have become). Academics and intellectuals were most of the young founders. “Frankenstein’s monster” came too early. The plethora of organisational failures that came to plague UCGFs is infectious.
The first heads of the UCGFs’ “graduate chapters” (i.e. members who had graduated from university) could mask the irredeemable organisational incompetence and failures of the UCGF. These failings emerged from the founding days only by their immediate career success. And it was flattering to the UCGF to have a “chapter head” that was a senior lecturer at a university, assistant commissioner of police, magistrate in a court, lieutenant colonel in the army, under-secretary in the ministry, or a manager in a multinational corporation.
It should be an issue of note that as the first chapter heads were doing well in their careers. They had a reasonable or even respectable professional approach to doing things. However, to administer graduate chapters then was not serious work However, it soon became extensions of the personalities of their heads and not entrenched in any all-inclusive written code and constitution. It was bound to end in amorphous leadership for the UCGFs and failure.
Nonetheless, because of the excessive lust for money and power, which most founding members did not mind, the mass initiation of countless new members began to happen. The consequences were twofold. First, the quality of the recruit was more than far below that of the first few decades of membership. Second, the organisation became more complex to manage since the reasons for new members joining were now more self-centred. And the [collective] interest of members grew more disparate. The enjoyment of convergence and consensus by the founding members and their immediate successors became elusive.
The immediate and enduring response to complexities and organisational failures was several members complained. “This is not what we or originally joined,” they would say. New members would whisper, “We are marks of a grand deception”. As a result, the exodus of upright, high quality members began, and those who stayed were not willing to aspire to become chapter heads or officers. The upright members had their families and careers to manage. Corrupt and evil members were to use double speak to validate and glorify themselves.
Furthermore, being chapter head or officer meant spending at least 90% of their administration inputs (time, money and energy) on dealing with disputes or infighting, preventing mutinies And dismissing truth-tellers, collecting money, recruiting substandard members and meting out punishments—nothing else.
The rapid widespread disillusionment among members was subject to exploitation by the bad guys. Psychopaths (i.e. the Cheaters). Within the UCGFs, many who would not have been able to aspire to positions of power took over without challenge. It was an unfortunate vacuum that needed was open for a filling. The Cheaters with rare exceptions never did well at school, never did well in their careers. Nor were worthy of community respect, and many never had a formal graduate-level job even as self-employed. They became big men withing the UCGF.
The Cheaters who joined UCGFs for exploitation purposes use the office of power within to make illicit money on the outside. They craftily exploited the “mystique” of the UCGF to connect with public officials (some who were also UCGF members) in public and private sectors in Nigeria. That said, their psychopathic charm and calculations came in handy.
The Cheaters were loud and specious in touting the message of “fighting the ills of society” and “sworn supporter of good causes” to the public. Moreover, they were also busy coercing most members under their watch to do the industry necessary for their unachievable quests. In fact, they were busy lining their pockets, securing contracts and positioning themselves in the political machinery. It was on behalf of the UCGF that never saw a kobo of the money. Chapter heads and officers thus became a permanent minor part of the corruption structure in Nigeria and with growing capacity and sophistication.
The victims of the Cheaters in power were often members of the unwitting public, naïve funders/donors and their members. They did the hard work volunteering and sacrificing much to achieve goals with no reward or even moral satisfaction. Therefore, it all turned out to be an exploitation of fanatic beliefs members had in the tenets of UCGF.
Who will be the next victim or collaborator with the UCGF Cheaters? Is it you or your organisation?