Wednesday 23/5/12 I attended a conference celebrating UN Africa Day. Universal Peace Federation [UPF] had organised the event at the House of Lords at Westminster parliament. Invited speakers covered in their range of speeches the past of the continent, current challenges and optimistic spirit that characterises future prospects for Africa.
When the audience was given an opportunity to ask questions or comment on what had been presented, two themes appeared to dominate discussions: corruption and governance. A participant of Nigerian descent explained the seriousness of corruption in his country saying that if for example you put in a leadership position a bright person well intentioned to make a difference, he would find the task so overwhelming that he would only sink into the vice.
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo, columnist of Sahara Reporters, is too from Nigeria. As all great storytellers, he takes the reader of his article, “Monsters’ Inc: made in Nigeria,” in unchartered territories when we think about corruption.
For example, he questions what close and extended family members of a corrupted leader or staff involved in the corruption chain think [if they can ever be able to think rationally] when they are either enjoying its benefits or ensuring its practice is rendered effective.
“…Didn’t someone in one bank or the other see these huge transactions? Didn’t some government director somewhere sign off on some documents? How do these people feel when they see the damaging information? Don’t they feel a sense of betrayal of ‘we the people’ when they collect the little token they get and keep quiet? How do they sleep at night and feel that their job is done? And then they get sick and go to India. If they don’t die on the way, they spend the money and come back to steal more?”