Sunday, 12 August 2012

Nigeria: Introducing the Nigerian Scores Exchange


The thriving market
There is a very vibrant market in Nigeria that seems to have an exclusive set of players whose stock is of traded value higher than what obtains in conventional stock markets even though people think there gains to be had in the latter.
They do not deal in shares but share the largesse of Nigeria’s great fortune brokering in eye-watering sums of currency that will suffocate the naïve.
What this market has in common with the stock market is insider knowledge but of a more malevolent kind, the secrets of cashing and market-making are based on timing with an amazing facility of self-moderation and self-regulation that defies the more regulated markets.
Values and virtues
Reputation and integrity have no context on the trading floor; rather it is information, vulgarity, cacophony, calumny, slander and revenge that work the best on this strangely floating bedrock of corruption and subterfuge – the stakes are really high.
The traders keep score and settle scores, by themselves or through proxies that could be attack dogs or organs of state that have lost their independence to the powers that be.
Things get done quite swiftly or through a slow injection of invective and vituperation that just beggars belief.
Amazing potential
There are no Chinese walls between the systems that operate in this market but the biggest trades are made through influence peddling by reason of a number of means starting from closeness to the those in power, to being able to command unaudited but humongous sums of cash or being able to gum of the litigation process with a troop of senior lawyers called Senior Advocates of Nigeria who intimidate judges into giving bizarre judgements.
Nigeria is awash with scores, bought, sold or held onto until times when their maturity brings the biggest dividend. Others can be co-opted into this market unawares to have a score kept which can be merged with an event to upturn the credibility of a process – it is not a game for tyros.
Workings of the market
Amongst the political classes, threats and exposés can be settled by doling out payments to those who appear to have a semblance of rectitude. They are usually successfully exploited that their entry-level is quite high on the score index. When traded the market simply suffers a shattering earthquake to contain the shock and then resets itself for the trade.
The case in point here is that of the corruption of Farouk Lawan who having gained a reputation for his handling of the Fuel Subsidy probe was found to have been implicated in a bribery scandal when Femi Otedola traded in his score to rubbish our confidence in the Fuel Subsidy report.
In other works of life, your score index is heightened by first courting controversy and then by secretly being ensnared in a scandal, like religious leaders dipping into the treasuries of their temples to live lives of debauchery or being caught pants down with persons they should not be in bed with. Blackmail probably has the highest traded value in this market.
The Nigerian Scores Market
We in fact have a scores glut in Nigeria that there is need to set forth a formal market with indices of traders, scores and parties implicated. The circuit-breakers for these markets are usually under the thumb of the Executive that can decide to cut out the effect of scores settled or keep score on those they want to toe the line.
However, I am now convinced that a bill needs to be sponsored in the Nigerian legislature establishing the Nigerian Scores Exchange for the business of handling, keeping and settling scores. It is hoped that there will be price controls, better transparency and a widened participatory market so that the masses can also trade in the scores market.
The fundamentals of this exchange will include the ability to buy time, sell souls or hold grudges, the more sophisticated will be able to do that in one tranche and decide market sentiment with betrayals and sell-outs, switching allegiances without compunction. They as the brood of vipers and the spawn of the Devil are at the top of their game.
The Nigerian flavour
Most importantly, with the establishment of the NSE, the murderous instinct that compels certain traders to take extreme measures to obliterate the scorecards others might hold will probably be contained as the secrecy instruments will be better shared amongst those with related interests, pursuits and ulterior motives.
The Nigeria Scores Market is really an amazing growth potential product whose value will radically change the face of doing business in Nigeria with astronomical returns.
We need to sensitise ourselves to this opportunity, building capacity to regularise the system so that the thermostat on the polity can be monitored to prevent opportunistic heating up along partisan, tribal or religious divides – subtlety is the purposeful key 

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