Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria: Corporate Delusions

“We are bigger than U.S. Steel” many members of UCGFs (University Campus Grown Fraternities) in Nigeria will tell you, vaingloriously about their “brotherhood”. Do not take such folly seriously, it is evidence the ‘mask of sanity’ fraternities has fallen of the cliff that once held them so high.

There is a serious 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”. To be a proper corporation, competence and credibility are the first necessities and even if they existed abundantly within their ranks, the repressive and decadent culture of the UCGF will cannibalistically devour them. UCGFs are routinely and robustly run like “street gangs” or “hunter-gatherer squads”. UCGFs lack any definite form or shape of a corporate culture but have hierarchies which they ‘none-the-wiser’ conflate with corporate 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 truly operating in fee market rather than within a brotherhood. Being “corporate” in this sense is about systemic money collection from poor and struggling members who are treated despicably, deprived of welfare entitlements, deprived of voting rights even though arrears must be paid sometime in the future. You lose the $500 you were entitled to on the death of you mother because you owe $150 but you must pay off the debt and make future UCGF payments or face expulsion. But your $500 entitlement is lost for good. To the UCGF leader this is a “corporate act”. UCGFs can thus be characterised sincerely as “brotherhoods without brotherhood”.

The claim of being corporate can be easily tested by the requirement to produce accurate and verifiable accounts. UCGFs handle money without record in most cases. The rules of financial tracking and tracing are never applied to their management of money. No definite budgets, no definite expenditures, no definite reports, no definite mistakes. Good money comes in and good money goes out, no good records of it coming in, no good records of it going out. Is this the stuff of so-called world-class corporate entities? Tax-free organisations without tax-free status.

Let any UCGF proudly show you their books or accounts.

What do UCGFs produce? Nothing. Nothing whatsoever. UCGFs produce no goods or services to the public, private groups or for themselves. Corporations are supposed produce goods and services with clear goal-consistent ethical rules but you must have goals first, UCGFs are definitively “goalless”. Yes, definitively goalless – wasting everyone’s time in the industrial activity of “producing nothing”. Why do they exist? Some of these UCGFs rake in over $1 million a year tax-free but the outputs are the “swollen personal pockets” of the leadership without any work done other than herding members by enslavement to no constructive purpose. There are many ‘too late’ grand press releases by heads of UCGFs that appear in the media after the storm or relevance has passed, ‘hot air’ or ‘tosh’. There are many instances of well-publicised shoddy “acts of charity” where meagre groceries and trifling sums of money are presented to a motherless babies’ homes or a leprosy colony, the groceries if prepared would not feed a 30-member chapter adequately for a single meal. There are legally registered investment programs for members that are always short-lived because of high the incidence ever-predictable internal fraud and cupidity. The rare charitable projects by UCGFs that does succeed ends in quarrels, fights and expulsions over the “proceeds”.

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

UCGFs that lack the ability to verify the veracity of documents; lack the capacity to lift, store and analyse finger prints; lack the will to conduct financial audits; lack the discipline to write their own history accurately; lack accurate records of membership; and the like, but will demand forensic proof for self-evident allegations or factual events under the pretexts of being a “world-class corporation”. The forensic evidence is only demanded when the allegation or fact goes against 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 $50,000 was not properly managed. Proof! If a member is caught on camera leaving a short-time hotel room with another member’s wife, the leadership of the UCGF will ask for DNA evidence that sex took place between the aforementioned in the hotel room, i.e. if the alleged member is a special favourite. Failure to provide forensic evidence will result in expulsion. When evidence does emerge in future the singular excuse is “hind sight is 20 / 20”. This exceedingly perverse demand for forensic evidence as a means of denial or the perpetration of injustice is supposed to makes 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 unending folly. How can a UCGF be a world-class corporate entity without benchmarks, standards and comparisons? The UCGF members actually reject comparisons with other entities 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. Everything that makes up a UCGF is stolen undifferentiated from the vocabulary and practices of US fraternities, Christianity, Islam, the military, the Mafia, popular fiction, pop academia, school culture, world events, the local culture and more. There is nothing that has an iota of originality in the makeup of UCGFs.

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

Another delusional belief strongly held by members of UCGFs is that they are paramilitary organisations. Gangsterism is very different and very distinct from military or paramilitary practices. UCGFs lack both the bottle and know how necessary to even attempt organising a paramilitary outfit not to talk of run one. No UCGF member is given paramilitary training. Beating up members and non-members, assassinating members and non-members, staking out easy targets, 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.


Grimot Nane



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