Okechukwu Ofili explores the difference between corruption in Nigeria and corruption in America using the process of obtaining a travel passport. Quite interesting.
You walk into the passport office.
You need to get a new passport as soon as possible. But the line … the line is long, it wraps around like those elaborate head ties you admire. Except this time you are not in the mood for admiration.
You immediately spot a scrappy looking security man in the corner, on the surface he does not look hungry but you can feel the hunger beyond his pressed clothes and wry smile. You walk up to him and say “bros how far?”
The phrase itself is meaningless but its the way you say it that makes everything click.
You say it while looking sadly at the long wrapping line. Immediately the guard gets your message, you slip him some money faster than a pure water seller on third mainland bridge chasing his money.
And before you know it, you are ushered into a secret passage way, you settle some other people, by the time the damage is done you have spent approximately $100. But you get in, you jump the line, you get treated specially, you get your passport.
You are in America, you just lost your American passport. And you need a new passport to attend that “important” business conference on the beaches of Brazil.
You walk into the passport office, there is no line, but they tell you that the process will take about 1 to 2 weeks to replace your passport. But you can’t wait that long. So you look around for a scrappy security man to help you out, but this is America they don’t have security guards whose only job is to open the door hail you.
Its just you and the man behind the desk. So you say “bros how far” but this time in American English, as in, “Is there anyway you can help me please?”
He looks up, and smiles, you smile too, but he pulls out a form. An “expediting” form he calls it. For the price of $100 you can get your passport in 2-3 days time just in time for your Brazilian
party diplomatic meeting. You reluctantly pay the money, you get a receipt, an actual receipt.
You then get ushered into a special office, you get treated differently from other people, but you get your passport in the mail 2 days later!
Two Countries Two Different Outcomes
“Corruption is an inevitable by product of capitalism”
Same $100 but a different outcome. In one country the $100 is seen as a bribe, while in the other it is seen as a fee. Subtle but huge!
You see, the difference between America and Nigeria is that the former has found a way to legalize its corruption while the latter is still battling (without success) to eradicate its corruption!, when all they need to do is legalize it.
Okechukwu Ofili is an author, speaker, and blogger and a The Trent Elite Voice. Follow him on twitter, Facebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk and as @ofilispeaks on instagram for more sketches! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book How Intelligence Kills was published in December 2013.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.