by Elnathan John
To be too clean in Nigeria is as bad as being too dirty. You must maintain a corruption balance. Moderate corruption. All our good men have been moderately corrupt. It is the greedy ones, the wicked ones who want to keep it all to themselves, that we call corrupt. The Dictionary of Nigerian Terms defines corrupt as: “an adjective implying inordinate insatiable greed above and beyond the Nigerian benchmark for acceptable theft.”
As a politician or big businessman connected to politicians, your enemies abound. And their favourite social weapon is an accusation of corruption. God sees your heart and He will judge those judging you. Here on earth however, this is what you must do when faced with the threat of corruption charges.
If you are really highly placed, like the President or something, and someone says your wife or other relative is corrupt, ignore it. Nothing will happen. The evil people will talk and talk and then stop talking. Nigerians may make noise on social media but, ultimately, they are too concerned about poverty and how to get fuel for their generators during Big Brother season to care too much. Plus, Nigerians have the attention span of goldfish.
However, if you are still climbing the political ladder, you must act decisively. Put out a press release denying every single allegation, even the ones you are guilty of. Nigerians are wicked. If you admit to something as small as running through traffic lights, they will gather and impale you and proceed to run through several traffic lights on their way from impaling you. So when faced with accusations of corruption, say you have never ever committed a sin or done a bad thing in your life, or peed on the bed when you were little or lied to your friends that you didn’t have money in secondary school.
A great comeback is to declare that the person who accuses you is your political enemy. It is because he wants to spoil the good work you are doing and distract people from the main issues. You must use words like ‘campaign of calumny’ and ‘detractors’ when you reply.
So you made a mistake and collected a gift you thought was harmless. I mean, foreign currency should be harmless. But you realised it was a trap when you started reading in the papers that two months ago, this guy gave you a bribe to do him a favour. You have probably spent half of it already (but then you can replace it). You must go to the press immediately and say that although you collected this so-called bribe, it was your intention to keep it as evidence of being bribed. You have a little evidence room in your bedroom where you keep evidence of such nature. You were only waiting for the right moment. God knows.
Worst case scenario, plead entrapment. What is entrapment? Simply, it means that if they had not offered you a bribe you would never have taken it. Like, if the serpent did not offer Eve the apple she would never have eaten it. With entrapment, it is the person who lured you into committing a crime that is guilty. Use this excuse and Nigerians will believe and join you in asking God to judge those setting traps for you.
You can use this as a weapon also. They say attack is the best form of defence. Every successful Nigerian politician knows this. You must give people money and capture it on tape. This is political insurance. It is important to mark the bills, just in case something goes wrong. Give the money to people you think can turn rogue. No politician can turn down money (Ok, maybe guys like Buhari, but where has that gotten him?). One day, when you are accused, you will bring out the tapes and records of those you have bribed and show it to the world as evidence. Because Nigerians are tribal and selfish, all your tribesmen will support you even in the face of your guilt. They will band together and say that no one should touch their ‘son’. There will be so much controversy that no one will be able to tell the truth from a lie and in all the commotion you will get away unscathed.
This is what you must never do: Never ever resign. Don’t even think of it. It is white people who resign. Look at their countries collapsing one after the other because they can’t stand still in the face of accusations. You are Nigerian; it is a taboo to resign just because they found out you took half a million dollars in bribe.
Never admit to your crime except you are found guilty by a foreign court and taken away in handcuffs. And even then, do it only as the condition for a plea bargain. Nigerians are forgiving – they will hold a public reception for you when you are released from jail.
But it doesn’t have to get to that. In the end, if you play it right, your enemies will fail and God will bless your hustle.