Fraternities Are Viruses in Nigeria

Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria 12

Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria 12

“We are bigger than U.S. Steel” several members of UCGFs (University Campus Grown Fraternities) in Nigeria will tell you, with aplomb, about their “brotherhood”. Do not take such folly serious. It is evidence the ‘mask of sanity’ fraternities have fallen off the cliff that once held them so high. However, now they see themselves as large facsimile corporations. Just as on LinkedIn, you will see corporations that have thousands of employees. UCGFs make favourable comparisons with such organisations based on their thousands of members. Yet are viruses.

There is a big difference between corporations and social associations. UCGFs are common corrupt social associations, not proper corporations. The older UCGFs in Nigeria think they are facsimile “Big Corporations”. Nevertheless, UCGFs do not even deserve the derisory title of “pseudo-corporation”. For a corporation, competence and credibility are the first necessities. Even if such exists in abundance within their ranks, what more? The repressive and decadent culture of the UCGF would like a cannibal devour them. UCGFs are routine and robust in being run like “street gangs” or “hunter-gatherer squads”.

UCGFs, as viruses, lack any definite form or shape of corporate culture but have hierarchies which they ‘none-the-wiser’ conflate with organisational structures. For them, ‘the map and the territory’ are the same. Big corporations either make big money as profits or handle big money as donations. UCGFs make sizeable money as extortionate incomes from subscriptions, penalty payments and restitution payments imposed upon their slavish members.

UCGFs are often self-ascribed as “corporate” when leaders and “special favourites” want to practice financial ruthlessness, as if they were genuine operators in free-market rather than within a brotherhood. Being “corporate” in this sense is about systemic money collection from poor and struggling members. Members who receive despicable treatment, deprived of welfare entitlements, deprived of voting rights even though the arrears they must pay. You lose the $500 they entitled you to on the death of your mother because you owe $150, but you must pay off the debt and make future UCGF payments or face expulsion. But they deny your $500 entitlement for good. To the UCGF leader, this is a “corporate act”. Thus, we can with sincerity characterise UCGFs as “brotherhoods without brotherhood”.

Financial reporting requirements can test with ease the claim of being corporate to produce accurate accounts. UCGFs handle money without record in most cases. The rules of financial tracking and tracing are not essential to their management of funds. No strict budgets, no certain expenditures, no accurate reports, no definite mistakes. Good money comes in, and good cash goes out, no proper records of it coming in, no good records of it going out. Are these the goods of world-class corporate entities? Tax-free organisations without tax-free status.

Let any UCGF with pride open their books or accounts to you.

What do UCGFs produce? Nothing. UCGFs provide no goods or services to the public, private groups or for themselves. Perhaps souvenirs. Corporations are supposed to deliver products and services with clear goal-consistent ethical rules, but you must have goals first. UCGFs are “goalless”. Yes, goalless with emphasis. Wasting everyone’s time in the industrial activity of “producing nothing”. Why do they exist? Some of these UCGFs rakes in over $1 million a year tax-free but the outputs are the “swollen personal pockets” of the leadership with no work done other than herding members by enslavement to no constructive purpose.

There are many ‘much too late’ press releases by heads of UCGFs that appear in the media after the storm or relevance has passed, ‘hot air’ or ‘tosh’. We see several instances of well-publicised shoddy “acts of charity” where meagre groceries and trivial sums of money make a parade to a motherless babies’ homes or a leprosy colony, the groceries provided, if assessed, would not feed a 30-member chapter for a single meal. There are the legal registered investment programs for members that are always short-lived because of high the incidence, ever-predictable internal fraud and greed. The rare charitable projects by UCGFs that succeed ends in quarrels, fights and expulsions over the “proceeds”.

Let any UCGF tell you what they have produced with concrete evidence.

UCGFs that cannot verify the integrity of its documents. They lack the capacity to lift, store and analyse fingerprints. They have no will to conduct financial audits. The discipline and alertness to write their history with precision is absent. No to talk of a lack of accurate records of membership. But the leadership of the UCGF will demand forensic proof for self-evident allegations or factual events. Yes, under the pretexts of being a “world-class corporation”. The forensic evidence is only in demand when the complaint or fact opposes the interests of the leadership of UCGF or a “special favourite”.

If a UCGF receives $50,000, but it does not reflect in the official accounts or accounting of the organisation, any question raised about the money will provoke the leadership to demand proof that the $50,000proof from the complainer to reveal the funds were the subject of misuse. Evidence and the Burden of Proof also get abused! If a camera catches the images of a member, leaving a short-time hotel room with another member’s wife. What happens? The leadership of the UCGF will request DNA evidence that sex occurred between them in the hotel room, i.e. if the alleged member is a particular favourite. Failure to provide specific DNA forensic evidence will cause expulsion. When evidence emerges in the future, the singular excuse is “hindsight is 20 / 20”. This perverse demand for forensic evidence as a means of denial or the perpetration of injustice is supposed to make them “corporate”.

Let any UCGF tell you what standard and efficient forensic equipment and techniques they have in place to verify evidence.

One of the most delusional thoughts and phrases of UCGFs is “you cannot compare any organisation in the world to our UCGF”. The incomparability of a UCGF is an unending folly. How can a UCGF be a world-class corporate entity without benchmarks, standards and comparisons? The UCGF members reject comparisons with other real-world organisations because they know how badly they will fare. In this case, the rejection of comparison is both a defence-mechanism and an indicator of 360 degrees insecurity; such is an exercise in face-saving denial. Everything that makes up a UCGF is cherry-pickings undifferentiated from the vocabulary and practices of U.S. fraternities, Christianity, Islam, the military, the Mafia, popular fiction, pop academia, school culture, world events, the local culture and more. Nothing has an iota of originality in the makeup of UCGFs.

Let any UCGF tell you what makes anything about them unique or incomparable. Viruses.

Another delusional belief held by members of UCGFs is that they are paramilitary organisations. Gangsterism is both different and distinct from military or paramilitary practices. UCGFs lack both the guts and know-how necessary to even attempt organising a paramilitary outfit not to talk of running one. No UCGF member is ever-receives paramilitary training. They were beating up members and non-members, assassinating members and non-members, staking out easy targets. Such are the things of gangsters, not the military. Doing a once-in-ten-years cross-country run, inflicting frog jumps and ‘pick pins’ as punishments or engaging in petty sabotage does not equate to military activity. The only military thing about UCGFs is they use military time scales; midnight is 00:00hrs. Shooting, stabbing, poisoning or immolation are as much gangster or spy activities as they are military. Are they what make UCGFs paramilitary?

Let any UCGF tell you how and why they are paramilitary. Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria!

Grimot Nane

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