I read with anger, the story by Dr. Celsus a Nigerian consultant based in Abuja. His story and experience is no different from the story and experience of millions of Nigerians every day. In this country, nobody is willing or ready to talk to you or offer assistance or in the least, do their job except they are compelled to, by the reason of your contact. The unwritten code is that people already employed and empowered to carryout certain responsibilities still wait for directives from superiors or power brokers, before they go on to do their job. Its shameful and sad. We read all the time a directive from the President to the police or the army, to track down criminals or herdsmen. We see Chief of Army Staff and Police IG come in the open to say that based on the directive from the President that they will ensure that the criminals are brought to book. This is the most eloquent way of saying that they cannot do anything, despite the powers they already have by the virtue of their offices, except ordered to do so by the President. We have seen this trend. We see it always.
As a Nigerian, you walk into an office, especially public office to make inquiry, if you are very unfortunate, you may not be allowed into the office. If you are fortunate, you wont see the person you ought to see especially when you are not related or have any form of relationship, with the person. If you make the mistake of writing a letter, you are wasting your time if you are expecting a reply, except you have someone “following up” your letter, or it will end up in the trash can. Then if it happens that maybe you googled the website of the Ministry, Department or Agency of government, and I mean both federal and at state level, and you are smart thinking you can use the email address or phone number to reach them, you only want to surprise yourself. The worst mistake you will make is to try to reach them by email. You can be almost 100% sure of almost 100% of the time, that you will NEVER get a reply. If you are indeed serious minded to take their “hotline” for what it is, you are in for the shock of your life because you will realize at the end of the day that the hotline is perhaps a “family phone” that no other number calls. A few years ago, my friend and I got the phone number of the Nigeria Scholarship Board office. We called that number daily for almost one month, it was switched off. A few days to the end of the scholarship exercise, the number started connecting. We called it again from that day till just a day to the end of the exercise and it was answered. At that point, he gladly announced to us that the exercise is ending the next day. There was no way one could meet up. Before then, we have sent countless messages, no response. These things are deliberate.
There is one particular mistake most Nigerian job seekers make, it is the mistake of distributing their CVs in the hope that the person it is given will use it to secure employment for them. Please, wake up from that dream. It never happens. People get job in Nigeria without CVs, worst still, without the minimum academic and experiential qualifications. Nigeria is such a sad tale. The only way people take you serious is if you have “arrived” or you have a powerful relative that you have successfully aligned with, somehow, by any possible means, you have proven to be a “big person” or you have direct access to people who can make orders on your behalf. Truly, nothing works.
The Nigerian system has collapsed, totally. You cannot walk into any office and be attended to by workers doing their job. You cannot walk into an hospital and be treated with utmost devotion as expected from healthcare givers. You cannot walk into any government office and be attended to. No “normal” Nigerian walks into anywhere and not be made to feel less of a human. You walk into an office and people there starts giving you attitude, until you make a call, then, they will be ordered and you see how they immediately accord you some recognition and dignity of human person. Even banks where you deposit your money will do everything to show you, that you don’t matter. There is a total system collapse. People are not treated on the basis of their humanity, but on the basis of their social status. Not on the basis of right, but on the basis of favour, for what should be a right.
What I am saying is that the Nigerian experiences all kinds of abuse of his person and human dignity daily, for him, it is just part of the price of being a Nigerian. So much for being a Nigerian! Even now, a Nigerian journalist has been detained by the Police in Ikoyi Lagos, for days. His crime is his hairstyle which according to the police, looks like that of a cultist. Nigeria needs an overhaul!
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