Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The Effect Of Admission Racketeering On The Nigerian Economy

Racketeering is defined as a process whereby a person or persons demand money through unscrupulous and illegal means to perform an action. In the same vein, Admission Racketeering can be defined as an illegal process that comes up when admission seekers pay a certain set of people money to gain admission into tertiary institutions. Simply put, Admission Racketeering is a money-for-admission process, an obvious perversion of the 'admissioneering' process.

Hence, it is no longer news that this process in now the evident order of the day in our tertiary institutions. In fact, the government, parents, lecturers, school administrators and students are all major players in this ignoble act. This process has not only blemished our education system but, it has also affected the Nigerian economy at large. Permit me to do a postmortem on this vice and the pertinent of the reasons in which it affects the economy will be highlighted below. For the purpose of precision and specification, I'll limit my piece on the university.
Firstly, racketeering admission has disrupted and perverted the once sane processing of admission. In our varisities today,there are more average but rich students walking the four corners of the campus. This is at the expense of brilliant students who deserve admission but due to their inability to pay the astronomical fees charged by racketeers are robbed of admission. This is a process I term Enthronement of Mediocrity over Meritocracy. Hence, top university officials reserve and hoard admission slots for their beloved candidates in lieu of the brilliant ones who deserve such slots. At the long run, the mentality of these bunch of mediocre students becomes finger-like, instead of it developing to an octopus. Having obtained admission through the back door, they buy their way through the university. A few among them pay their way through the four walls of the university campus. Many among them end up being drop-outs. These drop-outs evolve to the hooligans, hoodlums, pick-pockets, ballot-box snatchers, thugs, touts, armed-bandits...the list seems endless. The extremely lucky ones amongst them graduate with low grades. These half-baked scholars seek employment through unscrupulous and crooked means. Thereby, robbing the better job-seekers of employment. At the long run, the economy is affected gravely when our best hands are unemployed and the barely literate among them gain employment. This hinders development and progress in the economy and the society at large. In a society where you have the hands of half-baked scholars on deck, the best you can have is a quarter-baked economy.

Secondly, another problem borne out of the same finger of the octopus of racketeering, is the evident difficulty of the poor in obtaining admission. When unfriendly policies of the government are imposed on the masses, the poor are the ones to suffer. The a-fore-mentioned issue does in fact, not leave out the poor. They are the ones that suffer most for it. The poor constitute a large portion of the illiterates and unsuspecting public that are also easy preys for admission racketeers. A great number of them cannot afford the astronomical fees charged by these fraudsters but, many resort to borrowing or selling their assets. Due to their illiteracy and obsoleteness, many among them are duped!! This has turned the determined ones among them to seek salvage in farming, others couldn't contain the shock and are now frequent visitors of various hospitals. The not so lucky among them end up committing suicide!!! There are no two sides to the coin of Admission racketeering, its only side is bad and harmful. Admission racketeering is a canker that its bud has grown beyond being nipped, thus, it must be secateured down completely.

Moreover, this abnormality has not only blemished the credibility of the nation's examination bodies but has also whitewashed its probity. Many now see the examinations conducted by these bodies as irrelevant and trivial. This is as a result of some students getting admitted even after failing these examinations. There is also the certain issue of examination malpractice which many now involve themselves in. Many students have shunned reading and studying, they prefer engaging and malpractice and consulting admission racketeers. Some don't even write these exams, but are awarded the highest marks when the results are released. Many resort to racketeers for upgrade of results. This in whatever emphasis has not been of help to the nation's education sector, it has contributed to its failure dearly. It has turned the conduct to a fait accompli process where the examination bodies know who to pass and universities know who to admit even before exams are written!!!!

Similarly, it will be incomplete to state the issue of examination malpractice and the conduct of examination without citing the effect it has on the standard and quality of our varsities. This vice has eroded our university systems and many varsisties have fallen in standard. Some students now pay their way through the university. Many buy their way through it. It is common in varsities to see students meeting lecturers behind the scene to perpetrate this crime. Racketeering admission has downgraded the quality and standard of universities. It has turned many lecturers to bribe-receivers and students to bribe-givers. The ladies now offer their bodies for marks and the guys now resort to the money-for-marks syndrome. The strong-willed and unyielding students are deliberately marked down by these corrupt lecturers for failing to incline to their corrupt ways. The vice has led to our varsities producing half-baked scholars. In a society pervaded by half-baked scholars, the best you can have is a quarter-baked economy!
Furthermore, this canker-worm has turned many jobless fellows to fraudsters. Perhaps, its now common to read in dailies or hear on air about the advertisement of these racketeers. Many of them are even bold to place their phone numbers in public media. This has a result has turned many to fraudsters. Students, parents, lecturers, top university officials and even the government are now racketeers. University students now demand money from the entrance-writing aspirants to help them secure admission; in the same vein, lecturers demand money from such students to help them perpetrate the act. In the same vein too, these lecturers consult the admission officers for help and these officers too will demand money. As if we haven't had enough, top government officials have now turned admission to a bidding and auctioneering process. Hence, candidates of the highest bidder/staker are now offered admission to read the best and most lucrative courses. So to say, every member of the society are now racketeers; ranging from the admission seekers, to the students, parents, lecturers, administrators and eventually, the government! One certain bitter truth that we must all face is that, the economy can never progress with racketeers in abundance.

Furtherstill, another bitter pill to swallow about this vice is the paradoxical effect it has on the society. Ever since the primordial era, humans tend to evolve in an action they involves themselves in over time. A student who gains admission through racketeering will never become serious or studious neither will such student be determined nor corruption-free. Such students decide to trudge the crooked paths in the university buying their way through till they graduate. These half-baked products of racketeering are employed in the economy with that same mentality they have harboured over time. They corrupt the economy by offering bribes to gain one position or the other till they become stock-brokers or stock-holders. Later on, these set of people venture into politics and like a wild bull, rig their ways to win elections and eventually become power-brokers.
This is a well defined chain reaction brought about by this vice. It is not a smokescreen to admit that the greatest hinderance to development in the country is corruption and a major contributor to this anomaly is admission racketeering. As a result, our economy is swarmed by a hosts of racketeers who satisfy their personal whims and caprices at the expense of developing the society and impoving the economy.

I could go on and on stating the adverse effects of this vice but that will only bring further more questions than answers that are initially few. Nonetheless, there is light at the end of the tunnel and still, there is a glimmer of hope. It is pertinent to note that for every problem, there must be an antidote but such antidotes are not easy to come by. This is a sad reality we must accept.

In the light of the above therefore, if admission racketeering is to be combated effectively and completely, all hands must be on deck. There has to be a total cleansing of all and sundry in the society. The government and the media should work hand-in-hand to enlighten the public on these issues and its innumerable adverse effects. A stiff penalty should be imposed on erring and unrepentant persons. If we are to combat this vice completely and return to the long lost sanity of the society and get out of the bottomless dungeon we find ourselves in, then, the cited forms of panaceas must be given consideration. But the disorderliness and seeming lack of focus of the government may ultimately keep admission racketeering in existence in a manner even more serious than we can ever contemplate.

This is a sad reality we must grudgingly accept when tomorrow comes.

The writer of this article, Folaranmi Victor is an astute member of OAU Peeps News Agency. You can reach him via folaranmivictor@oaupeeps.com
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