Alagba Aligbi: Yankiomelogbish! How now? You self na hard man O! Person no dey see your headlight again. Are you okay?
Yankius: Gba Gbi,nothing do me. Anytime I see you na something you find come. Can I help you?
Alagba Aligbi: I been dey go my father-in-law 60tth birthday, I just branch to see you. The man has tried for me. Ehe! You dey Ogbons?
Yankius: Wetin be Ogbons? Continue reading
Comment: Over the past six years I have written several articles about the wrongs and decadence of University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGF) (some deleted) with insider knowledge. I more recently even developed two essay series out of them, namely, Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria and The Leadership of a Bad Brother (both which do not names persons or fraternities) with another series in making that does mention names. A major international media house and a documentary filmmaker have even contacted me for my expertise on the matter. However, over a decade before me, Omoleye Sowore (in 2002) had written one of the most important articles on the source problem of cults (UCGF) in Nigeria and its possible remedies. I am sure many readers will agree.
Sowore writes: “It takes a lot of gut to disagree with someone of Professor Soyinka’s standing in the world. In almost every sense he has used his courage, expertise, connections and skills to intervene on behalf of Nigeria to obtain freedom from terror, democracy and respect for human rights, it is common knowledge that he has done very well and I mean excellently well in his capacity as a literary giant, activist, Nobel laureate and Pan Africanist. Continue reading
“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 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.
To be in a UCGF (University Campus Grown Fraternity) as a member in 2017 under the terms and conditions they currently operate is to voluntarily be a slave unless you are a “Slave Master” or his favoured client. The fight to be a slave master is the goal of many an unwitting ambitious UCGF member or rookie, except where does it get them? (See: Climbing the “Fraternity Ladder”: KIngs of Nothingness http://wp.me/p1bOKH-zC). We must be reminded that slavery in the present happens in many spheres of life but not visible like the times’ people were bound in chains; it is perpetuated today as mental bondage and too many fall for it. Masters of such practices abound in arenas where profit and obedience are the chief goals.
Whether university campus grown fraternities (UCGF) have done either good or evil to the societies in their countries of origin (e.g. the USA) is debatable. In the American-formation, without any idealisation, their “honour codes” are both formidable and strictly adhere. Honour” among brothers is a precious matter for American fraternities. Interestingly, their Nigerian imitators as ‘free-for-all fraternities’ are observably oblivious to the very meaning of honour and devoid of working honour codes. It may be the reason UCGFs in Nigeria are more like “street gangs” than collectives of educated men.
The existence, approaches and attitudes of the UCGF in every day matters as well, and unusual ones are bifurcated in many senses. Probably the worst form of bifurcation most visible in the conduct of the leadership of UCGFs is their attitudes towards freedom of speech, especially criticisms or critiques. In keeping with their “advertised” ideals, tenets and intentions, the leadership of UCGFs find it very easy and desirable to make audacious press releases that brazenly critique or question the failures, incompetence and crimes of the government of the day. But are equally extremely punitive and vindictive towards their members who are brave or naïve enough to point out theirs. What is the place of ‘freedom of speech’ in the traditions and culture of UCGFs?
A climate of fear usually grips most members oppressively when it comes to freedom of speech proffered within the UCGF. Fear gripping proud elites? Sanctions and disapproval are the main instruments by which the fear finds its way into the minds of members. A motto UCGFs should sell to the public is “silence is golden” even when it means “No Freedom of Speech” within; this is another bifurcation. The smallest of criticisms by a complainer can easily suffer the fate of a major infraction by the UCGF leadership. Sycophancy is very much welcome and encouraged within the fraternity by the leaders.
In FAVIN (Fraternities are Viruses in Nigeria) Part 5 (see: http://wp.me/p1bOKH-pT) the issue articulated was the presence of Cheaters, Grudgers and Suckers in the membership constitution of UCGFs (University Campus Grown Fraternities) based on the understanding of Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene. From keener observation, that there is another prevalent category of character within UCGFs that has a more insidious nature and maybe more of a threat to unsuspecting members of the fraternity and society than the dreaded Cheater.
Fraternities in Nigeria are now specialists in accumulating “financial bounties” with their leaders appropriating them; it is tantamount to corporate malfeasance. It may be unfortunate if not tragic that while the founders of University Campus Grown Fraternities (UCGFs) established them, perhaps for noble intentions, they have come to embody the very antics of “corporate malfeasance”. Operating just below the radar or not facing criminal prosecution is not evidence of clean hands. UCGFs depend mainly on the money members contribute and as their sizes have increased so has their kitties. Financial bounty taking by leaders in UCGFs is strictly about misappropriating members’ money and funders’ largesse, perennially. The bounty taking activities of UCGFs did not start one day or overnight. The bounties came in phases and often took years or decades to perfect. The bounties are now known as “returns.”