Viewpoint

October 26, 2022

Opportunism in employment

Unemployment

By CYAN FRANK-HANACHOR

The good book saith:“Seeth thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings ; he shall not stand before mean men,” (Proverbs 22;29, KJV)   

WE refuse to join the melee in the corporate world borne out of ignorance. Wonder what the management executive would prescribe as criterion for entry level employment ? Why are they effective in securing a productive work-force …”productive” being the operative word?

Now that would be us trying to question the effectiveness and relevance of management to business. In a country where dissembling is second nature, any excursion to the licit job sector show up the singular ineptitude of a system with inbuilt checks and balances but with the inherent Nigerian malaise. A distinct lack of conscience, professionalism and service delivery, the basis of the civil service. Yet no mention of SERVICOM, huh?

There is a surfeit of motivated, intelligent graduates homebound and tied, while the dimwits who wormed their way into the system ineffectually grapple with the complexities of a job which should never have being theirs in the first place. That is why there is no real progress in the country. No innovation in a system bereft of creativity, imagination and intelligence. Each busily chasing the shadow of exclusive careers in the formal economy and glorying in the economic and non-pecuniary returns.

Inspite of the façade of a renewed transparency in employment, there is a highly politicised recruitment into what the Nigerian sees as the more profitable services. In keeping with the Nigerian factor, the quota system jettisoned in honour of political favours. In spite of the much touted embargo on employment in the parastatals, the political elite have an hegemony on the legal economy.

They smuggle in their choice candidates into the maw of the public service, the new special preserve of the high and mighty. They crush the intelligent ‘uns to bring in their protégées…those with little imagination and even lower Intelligence Quotient, IQ. And you wonder why the highly polarised angst in a country riddled with the poison of meritocracy, corruption, poverty, inflation, nepotism, terrorism and sectarian politics.  

Nigerians feed off fads…old habits die hard. First, there was a gravitation towards jobs in the petroleum industry, then the banking sector and the telecommunication giants, in that order. What goes without saying is that old staple – the professional security of the civil service appointment. In a degree-centric country no one is asking how certain people get those plum jobs. After all they have the “papers” to back it up. “Connection” has overtaken everything…even that old foe: kparakpo. Back when we still had administrators with integrity and a few individuals with a sense of rightness, they were shamed when called on their antics. Now we are in a free-fall headed into a cavern of stagnation of industry, economic recession, systemic failure, administrative disenchantment and endemic corruption due to our continued complicity in persistent lowered standards, backstabbing, malfeasance and moral laxity.   

We have a system that has failed us. There is a distinct lack of stewardship, probity and accountability as each subsequent arrest by the anti-graft agency has proven. We will continue to show how important it is to be responsible, accountable and reliable. The system is clogged with a backlog of poorly recruited, undeserving, mostly unqualified upstarts who came through the old boy network – the only way to get the few decent jobs available in the legal economy in Nigeria.  There is a glut in the system that no amount of administrative face-saving can conceal. If there is to be real progress in the country, trust me it is not from the civil service. That remains a flagship for ineptitude inspite of a massive public relations campaign to the contrary.  

Sure, years of thumbing our noses at it has led to a regurgitation of the copybook for codes and ethics flung far from the old brigade – the lazy, unintelligent, undeserving employees who snore with stulifying boredom till the next paycheck. Growing through the ranks not through well-earned promotions (please,discountenance the highly publicised promotion examinations)   but through rapid elevations from godfatherism – the continued bane of the Nigerian society.  Quite a lot of Nigerians have jumped on the bandwagon of elitism in administration. Apt but true. The civil service is riddled with inefficiency. Bureaucracy, that old malaise, distinct lack of professionalism, inefficiency and ineffectiveness are still very much operational. Ugly in this day and age.  

Oh, we have witnessed the fresh influx of juxtapositioning into the hippopotamus hide of the service and bemusedly wonder if these oft-televised think-tanks, seminars and retreats will miraculously translate into a new spirit in the civil service after decades of lazily pushing files that are archived as soon as they are raised in perpetuating the myth of creating and executing policy.

Even if only where we can see them. The continued poor state of education in Nigeria is a case in history… another victim of persistent poor policy formulation and implementation. I love the new Nigeria from since the past six years…hastily trying to catch up with our perception of the rest of the world inspite of a bestial nature, corruption, ineptitude, nonchalance, and our dyed in the wool laziness evident, especially in the civil service. 

Pivotal inroads for public relations must be persecuted in full view. I love the   broad swathes   of a reinvigorated psyche, especially the milestones in public affairs. If there is anything I love about Nigeria it is the principle that : “I am no slouch. I would not be caught napping.” We all love the continued processions on prime television about our latest exploits and career trajectories   especially as seasoned administrators. Does it translate into a new broom sweeping through the cobwebs of a dim mind and body viscerated by decay, embezzlement, incompetence, corruption, retrogression (which in true Nigerian fashion we glorify as the perk of being a civil servant) through decades of inactivity until retirement.

Lack of professionalism is second nature because everyone turns a blind eye to the rottteness in the system. We are not interested in why a salaried worker puts up his feet and idles away the day engaged in their private business or uploading content on the net (there is a cult war on who has the largest followership on the trending social media platform) while the   “principal” snores heavily over the papers. 

Hanachor, a writer, consultant, youth development advisor, wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.