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We're all corrupt now

ESLER: Sarcastic comments about Nigerians and

FOR CENTURIES, Britain has conned the world into thinking that its hands are whiter than white and that its bobbies were incorruptible.

Well, as Jamaican reggae singers say, “t'ings ah come up to bump" and now the whole world knows that British politicians, coppers and the media are as corrupt as they are anywhere else.

Thanks to Murdoch and the News Of The World the corrupt nature of British society has been exposed.

However, there are still one or two people who are clinging on to the “at least we're not as corrupt as Nigerians" mentality. My BBC colleague Gavin Esler is one such.

For years the world has been led to believe that Nigerians owned the copyright to corruption. That corruption was something intrinsic to the Nigerian narture. That we couldn't be trusted, particularly not with any aid money or oil revenues.

This reputation for dishonesty has permeated into every day life so much so that even today in this very country Nigerians are unable to find work in positions of trust because of the mistaken belief that if you or your foreparents were born within the sounds of Lagos bells you couldn't be trusted as far as someone could spit you.

Even a posh git like my cousin, with all the degrees you could hope to get, got a job in a shoe shop in London's hip King's Road, and can you believe it! - he wasn’t allowed to go anywhere near the till even though he was the manager!

So you see, we Nigerians have lived with the stigma of corruption all these years and have had to grin and bear it and have our potential limited in this country just because of our heritage.


Now, though, the playing field has been levelled and it's time for those of British heritage to suffer the same slings and arrows of suspicion and be barred from the job of cashier at supermarkets.

The likes of Gavin Esler are clinging tooth and nail to the old belief that however bad things are here they're worse in Nigeria.

He was presenting BBC2's Newsnight the other evening as the Prime Minister was in South Africa before travelling to a trade meeting with the Nigerian President (to see how many duff goods from over here he can flog to Africa to ensure British jobs over here.)


Meanwhile, Rome it seemed was burning back home in Britain. Esler couldn't help asking sarcastically whether the embattled British Prime Minister was going to Nigeria to learn how fight corruption from the Nigerian President.

I shouldn't have expected better from him but I did. It might have raised a laugh the night before. But now that we all know that British politicians are corrupt too, he might want to ask whether Nigerian politicians learned it from their former colonial masters in the first place.

Know your history, fool.

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