Between the flawed yardstick, the froth, and the posturing
By Mohammed Dahiru Aminu
June 7, 2014
I respect, of course the few Nigerians who resort to iconoclastic and unconventional thoughts. On the other hand, the thought processes of the majority of our people, I believe is one single reason that makes Nigeria what it is; it's failures in its institutions, beliefs, customs and values.
I have two scenarios to relate here. The first, happened yesterday when I went to the premises of a bank to use the ATM. While I was there, someone in queue for the ATM made a comment about the way bank premises in Nigeria are mostly found clogged with customers waiting to use a few available ATMstypically not more than two ATMs, with a functional capacity of plus or minus two, at any given periodwhen the main advantage of having ATMs in place, in the first place, is to cut down congestion of customers. Ironically, instead of cutting down congestion within Nigerian bank premises, ATMs heighten it! The fellow also added that given the population of Nigeria, a typical bank premises should be equipped with at least 20 to 40 ATMs. Not only that, ATMs should be installed in a sundry of locations; not bank premises alone, as is done in Europe, said the fellow. I agree with the thoughts of this fellow. But trust the other Nigerian in the queue, who, said 'I don't like how people compare here and Europe, when we all know that the gap between us is too wide.' Wow, I was shocked that I had to come into the conversation without an invite. My first question to the second guy was that 'granted the gap between us is too wide, isn't this the more reason why we must compare ourselves to Europe so as to close the gap?' The man then said to me that it is only wise for us to compare ourselves with countries like Ghana and not countries in Europe! Ghana? Is this guy for real? I was shocked the more! I used to think that when aspiring for the best is your target, all you should do is to use the somewhat faultless as a yardstick, as opposed to the somewhat flawed. But, I forgot that I was in Nigeria where our people think that to aspire to perfection is to use the somewhat flawed; so that Nigeria can learn from a sister underdeveloped country like Ghana as opposed to a disparate but developed Europe: call it underdevelopment within underdevelopment. How morally morose can a people be?! I wondered. But, this is Nigeria.
Second, once I attended a job interview (they called it 'interaction') in a university in Nigeria. One of the problems I would face with the panel of interviewers was my decision to not include my primary and secondary school qualifications in my curriculum vitae! In my defence, I posited that because primary and secondary school qualifications are basic and elemental, one need not bore prospective employers with the details of such education. Besides, I said, the fact that I hold two university degreesa bachelors' and a masters'means that I couldn't have reached those degrees without basic qualifications; primary and secondary education. A member of the panel then said 'since you attended a university in the United Kingdom, we assume that you must have been told while you were there that the inclusion of details of pre-tertiary qualifications in your curriculum vitae isn't important.' I re-affirmed to the panel that of course I had attended careers and employability workshops in my university in the United Kingdom, and it was there, I was taught that the inclusion of pre-tertiary qualifications in curriculum vitae of a masters' degree graduatewho sought to find employment commensurate with such masters' degreeis not too important. But then, the interviewers reminded me that I was actually applying for a job in Nigeria with so-called British-styled curriculum vitae! They actually said that they expected me to provide a copy of my certificate of primary education, saying that providing it would show them my tribe, my father's occupation, plus other gibberish. But they were right; I ought to have written the insanely-designed Nigeria-styled, curriculum vitae. The kind that would contain all the froth and posturing, including but not limited to the item often cited as 'number of children and their ages!'
A requiem for departed souls: May the souls of the emirs of Gombe, Gwoza, and Kano rest in peace. The trio were great leaders. They were champions of freedom, honour, integrity, and moral rectitude. Emulating these generous attributes by the people they left behind would serve a great purpose in immortalising their personalities.
Mohammed Dahiru Aminu can be reached at [email protected]