IMMIGRATION TRAGEDY: JONATHAN, INTERIOR MINISTER AND APC
Again, the ineptitude of the men around Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been brought to the fore; and, it will be no surprise if those who should honourably leave the cabinet will remain until they are shown the way out.
Why, for example, will the Ministry of Interior and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) put over 525,000 in line for less than 5,000 jobs? Already, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have resorted to their usual bickering that clearly shows the party officials as equally irresponsible as the officials of the Interior Ministry and NIS.
And to worsen the situation, the incompetent minister who preferred consultants to allowing the Immigrations authority or the joint board of the Immigrations, Prisons, and Fire Service conduct the exercise was on television to display the kind of hard-hearted arrogance that is the lot of local champions brought from local government areas to be ministers in Abuja.
Rather than apologise for what took place right under his watch, the man who is as short and arrogant like his ilk-Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and Nasir el-Rufai- reminded us of his trade union credentials.
Am I being personal? Yes, I am, because I lost a cousin to the crass opportunism of a politician.
We all remember that the minister caused the former Immigration boss, Mrs.
Roseline Uzodinma, to be sent off because of this same matter.
She had conducted the recruitment exercise, but it was cancelled and she was sent packing only for the ministry's consultants to bungle it.
Now the woman has been vindicated and the ministry has been shown for its lack of capacity to fill just five thousand positions.
That is why I, for the first time in recent times, agree with the All Progressives Congress (APC) when its barely truthful spokesman, Lai Mohammed, wrote: ''Today, sadly, the truth has been laid bare: 5,000 or so vacancies declared by NIS have attracted over six million applicants, from which over half a million was shortlisted, according to published reports, and the desperation of our youth to eke out a decent living has been exploited by a villainous government that forced each applicant to cough out 1,000 Naira, thus raking in 6 billion Naira from jobless people.
the Ministry of Interior has many questions to answer over the apparently-shoddy arrangements made for the job tests in 37 venues nationwide.
Is it true that the Minister directly presided over the recruitment and money-making venture? Could this have been part of the government's fund-raising measures for the 2015 elections? Why will a government seek to profit from a malaise it created by charging hapless job seekers 1,000 Naira each? Why was a huge number of applicants invited for only 5,000 jobs or less? Why was such a shoddy arrangement made for the test when so many people were invited? Could the test not have been done in batches to avoid a stampede? How much indeed was realized from this glaring extortion of job seekers? What happened to the money? These are some of the questions begging for answers.
''An investigation into the needless deaths of our youth, under a government that has failed them in every respect, must seek to answer those questions and recommend ways to avoid a recurrence.
At least if a government cannot create jobs, it must neither profit from its incompetence nor send the victims of its ineptitude to their early graves.
" But where the APC began to clatter about 15 years of the misrule of PDP leading to the volume of unemployed youth, I beg to ask, what about Lagos, Edo, and Rivers State where there were large numbers as a result of the failure of the APC administrations to make a meaningful impact in providing jobs? Incidentally, lives were lost in these states, too.
APC said that the overall responsibility is that of President Goodluck Jonathan, who now seems to be bent on leaving a dubious legacy of bad leadership that has led to a grim harvest of deaths from insecurity, widespread violence and now job stampede, among others.
What about the APC states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states where the harvest of deaths is a peep into what may prevail in the country if they ever take over in Abuja.
APC did not fail to throw in a commiseration with the families of the victims and wished those who were injured quick recovery, but Lai's sparring partner, Olisa Metuh, did not fail, albeit recklessly to reap this janjaweed insult.
In a statement on Sunday, he said the APC had again shown that it lacked respect for human life and that because it politicized the unfortunate incident, was a clear manifestation of its Janjaweed ideology.
The PDP said it was despicable for the APC to condescend so low to trivialize and politicize weighty issues bordering on human lives while the families of the deceased were still mourning, all in a bid to score a cheap political point.
The PDP described the APC statement as crass, adding that it had further exposed it as a party of insensitive persons blinded by inordinate quest for power.
Meanwhile, Minister Abba Moro was said to have consoled with the grieving families in the hospital, but as soon as he came before the cameras, he took on the posture of an inconsiderate person, pleading for understanding of Nigerians 'so that together we can salvage the situation and lay a foundation that will forestall any future occurrence of this type of tragedy.
' Why did he lay a faulty foundation in the first place? The minister explained that the tragedy was caused by unruly applicants.
Those that did not apply for the exercise also turned up.
What did the minister expect as a comrade in a country with such a huge population of the unemployed? Read him further: 'Right from the beginning, I gave you assurance that this exercise was going to be transparent but it was going to be cost-effective.
That we are going to avoid (the mistake of the past), where all persons converge on Abuja.
And so yesterday (Saturday, March 15), we tried to decentralise.
We set up 37 recruitment centres across the country, including the Federal Capital Territory, and posted senior officers of the ministry, including Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the police across the country.
All numbers were adequate to control the situation based on the received applications.
' Is that so, Moro? How come they failed so woefully? Since the minister claims to be a comrade, how come he has not toed the path of honour and resigned; or like, Stella Oduah, is he waiting to be fired? He clarified that 526,650 persons applied for the exercise nationwide, but he did not say a word about the one thousand naira collected from each of the about 6 million applicants.
Again, how was the N6billion raised accounted for, and who is behind the consultants, now that the wife of his godfather, Mrs Helen Mark, has exonerated herself.
The poor woman described as a "wicked lie" the reports in certain media, alleging that she has a link with the consultants that organized the recruitment exercise of the NIS.
Mark, in a statement, expressed shock at the reports, and said the rumor was a mere fabrication of the imagination of those behind it.
Her words: "It is very strange to me because I do not know the consultant that organized the recruitment exercise neither did I play any role in the recruitment exercise.
I have no relationships of any sorts and in whatever form with the said consultant.
This moment demands solemnity and mourning of the precious souls that were lost in the tragic incidents that occurred last Saturday.
It is not a time to settle political scores and I will therefore leave those dragging my name into this painful death of our youths to their consciences and unto God.
As a mother, I honestly sympathise with the parents of these youths as well as the nation in general over the loss of our children.
" So who is this consultant who collected N6 billion, and some lives to boot? This is sad! Mr President, the ball is in your court, please play it fast before the youths of Nigeria will 'visit the sin of Moro on you in the forthcoming general election.
' Written By Abba Adakole [email protected]