We Need to Change Before we Implode


By Abdulkabir Olatunji

When my brother, Adamu Tilde, writes about “the economic cost of dishonesty” many get it, but there are still a lot of people that don’t get it. Let me break it down a bit more.

As you read this, there is a very high probability that in your social media messages or email, there is at least one Nigerian trying to scam you. For them, it’s a game of numbers, keep “fishing”, someone or some people will bite the bait and get scammed. Then they can go on to enjoy their ‘easy’ money.

But there is a problem. Like a narcotic, it is addictive, a destructive habit difficult to drop and so, the scammer cannot stop trying to scam people. As sad as this is for the scammer and his victims, it is even sadder for the society at large because it helps to exacerbate the problem of lack of trust in our dealings with each other as a people — artisans want to steal from their clients, white collar workers try to steal with the pen, security agents extort, business partners cheat, politicians divert public funds to personal accounts and projects.

At the end of the day, like a jaundiced body, our society cannot function properly and is marked with corruption and outright theft. The evidence of this is all over our society but let me give just one example of how dishonesty and the attendant lack of trust it creates is killing our society.

I partner with Uber to register drivers seeking to work on the platform and currently, I have 8 drivers who have been registered by me with the only thing preventing them from working and earning being not having a car to work with. Apart from this 8, I know at least another 8 in the same situation. In practical terms, there are probably 10s of 1000s of them. The irony is that there are also people with cars looking for qualified drivers to give cars out to but the problem is: they don’t trust the drivers to be honest to pay their rentals or hire purchase installments as at when due while not damaging the car, converting it to other uses or outrightly stealing it. This means that what is meant to be a win-win business for drivers and car owners becomes a desperate situation where little or no economic value is unlocked on several fronts. The car owner, driver, Uber and even potential riders cannot benefit because there is a lack of trust in the system.

This is just a glimpse of how dishonesty and corruption is helping to create economic decline and entrench large scale poverty in our country.

Yet, many of our youthful population want to “hustle” to make it big? All the “hustling” done since the turn of this century has not helped to make our collective lives better.

When shall we start doing WORK rather than “hustling”? The answer to this question might determine our collective future.