The Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise incident is a tragedy. Asides from the lives of 13 young promising Nigerians lost (as at the time of writing), our nation should mourn for many reasons: unemployment, corruption, gross mismanagement, and the list is endless.
It is very unfortunate that a minister has come out to say that the innocent people who died were impatient. I’m not surprised, the average Nigerian politician thinks through the anus not the brain (please don’t ask how that works).
I’m not waiting to hear from the presidency. Mr Abati and President Jonathan live outside the reality of the terrible state Nigeria has become, so their statements are very ‘formal’. When was the last time you found comfort, inspiration, hope and encouragement from a presidential statement, address, or media chat? Thank you, we can move on now.
A great man once said “we have found the enemy, and [alas], it is us!” I can’t agree more. The surface tension of insecurity, corruption and needless deaths in Nigeria are results of a fundamental problem: we lack compassion in Nigeria. A compassion-less system that places no value on human life is why we are where we are.
This doesn’t explain all our problems, however it does point out many other misgivings on which the Nigerian state runs.
Before we gathered thousands of youth in stadiums and other venues across the country, did somebody not think about crowd control and a work flow to avoid a stampede? No! In a compassionate country, the Fire Service will have determined if a fire code permits such gatherings, the police would understand that crowd control requires a large personnel on ground and it may be too difficult a crowd to manage, therefore tell the organizers to call it off. Even the irresponsible Nigerian Immigration Service would have known that since the number of applicants is huge, the test can be conducted in a very different way, instead of causing a chaos.
The Nigerian people aren’t left out. There is a lesson for us here.
We are so used to disorder and frustration that we would rather struggle for something than form a queue. And when there is a queue, there will always be one ‘idiot’ who thinks he or she is smarter than everyone, trying to jump the queue. In fact if only this attitude is corrected, life will be very different. Imagine if with a sizable crowd, there was order yesterday, we won’t have a tragedy today.
And the large number of unemployed people? Finally the truth is out. We continue to chide ourselves on a ‘growing economy’ with a very nice media campaign about how Nigeria is thriving economically courtesy the transformation agenda yet our unemployed youth are an enormous number. Unfortunately, we would rather go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, dash all the delegates a green-white-green scarf and take our finest musicians to entertain our prospective ‘foreign investors’ (who won’t come anyway because they know the truth), than take care of our mess at home. But then isn’t that what a lot of Nigerians are about, a public display of affluence even when some of the show-offs are genuinely broke?
Some have hinted that our youth should dream and create businesses. Well we are! And yes quite honestly the government supports through heroics like Youwin and Bank of Industry (BOI) SME loans, but come on, much more can be done! The essentials for doing businesses must be in place: Electricity, for example. Besides not everyone will be entrepreneurs. A good number will be part-time business owners, others full-time employees. No nation in the world has an economy where everyone is an entrepreneur. A good economy must cater for all, regardless.
Finally let APC and PDP, just shut up. This is not the time to throw political missiles. So the statement from the All Progressive Congress saying that PDP’s irresponsible rule caused this incident, is needless. May I point out that a good number of APC Members were once in the People’s Democratic Party? Changing political parties doesn’t redeem you from your previous wrongs. Therefore we don’t blame a party, we blame elected people who have not led well, both in PDP and APC! Besides for all APC’s noise, I still don’t know what their manifesto is.
At the end of the day, 13 young promising Nigerians (or more) have died and their families have been thrown into mourning, we must not forget them like we have forgotten the Aluu four or the 25 young women abducted by insurgents a few weeks ago. By the way, will the families of these departed ones be compensated?