BEFORE RELOCATING TO NIGERIA


Since the advent of our “nascent democracy”, the government of Nigeria has continued to sell the idea of relocating back home to those in the diaspora-come and help develop our nation. The message is the same and always alluring, “the country is working, there are jobs waiting for you at home; just get on that plane and come help us build a strong nation”.

Well, I took that advice, boarded a plane and landed here for good. Now, having spent close to nine months in Nigeria without any job, I believe I am qualified (academically and otherwise)to share my thoughts with those in diaspora that are nursing the idea of coming back home. One big shock is waiting for you here, especially if you have spent some years living in a developed country where the system is rational.

 

For starters, this country is no respecter of foreign degrees and professional qualifications. If you apply for a job and to the glory of God you get invited for an interview, please try as much as you can to hide your “foreign accent”; nothing irritates a typical Nigerian Human Resources person like having to interview a “been to”. It is an offence to speak good English here-na only you go school for jand?

The government of Nigeria is one big mirage, a massive mobile fraud-the distance separating what the rulers of this country say and what is really on ground is like walking from Lagos to Amawbia in Anambra State. I sinfully believed those government officials that frequently flew into London on first class tickets to “tune” both Nigerian professionals and students to return back home. Reason being that they all assured us of jobs; “the country needs people with your experience”, bla bla bla.

Well, here I am-jobless, violated, sweating and being forced to contend with a class mind-frame that crassly violates all the decent things I learnt in Europe. I have sent in more than a thousand job applications and in the spirit of thanking God for little mercies, I was lucky to be invited to ONE interview by a faceless “firm”. When I called to confirm my availability, I could not let the chance of finding out what business they were into pass; they wanted me to come for an “interview”, pay N8, 000 and be taught how to market GNLD products. I won’t bore you with my reaction.

To say that there are no jobs in Nigeria would be completely misleading and false. There are jobs here but the number of candidates chasing those jobs will actually shame the devil. Civil Service jobs in Nigeria are the exclusive preserves of those with the right connections, those that can pay the heart-quaking bribe sum being demanded by the recruiters, those from a particular part of the country, and those that believe that by invoking “Holy Ghost Fire” and similar faith trades, the jobs will be clinched.

Before thinking of relocating to Nigeria, you must tutor yourself on how best to be a chameleon; in this case, you will really be good at changing your age and appearance. Employers in Nigeria seem to be in some kind of cold war with anyone whose ages fall with the 32-40 brackets. You will be doing yourself a great disservice if you take the saying that “age is nothing but numbers” too seriously.

The system here is killing me and quite a good number of Nigerians are happy with the putrefaction. The government and private employers of labour continue to short-change fellow citizens who only moan impotently and sing praises to God. The government of Nigeria is really churning out poverty-fertilizing policies while the likes of a certain former Comrade Reuben Abati makes a living by lying to Nigerians. Truth be told, there is nothing democratic about our democracy.

From the Federal, State, down to the Local level, those that run our government continue to feed fat while superintending over a largely diseased, traumatised and sick populace. The lies, treachery, daylight robbery, sinister insensitivity, brazen stealing that go on within the government circle is outrageous. Every year, budgets are read in Nigeria, projections are made, spurious projects “executed”, fairy-tale jobs are created, while billions disappear into private pockets. For the records, government officials now steal in billions, no more in millions-the EFCC should go eat cake!

Not so long ago, the banking sector was the only regular employer of labour. That was until the bubble bust and to our amazement, it was revealed that the top shots in the industry were actually robbing depositors of their funds and sustaining a baffling life-style of opulence and luxury. Consequently, thousands of innocent men and women were sacked for those dodgy banks to remain afloat.

 Banks now prefer to hire OND graduates rather than university graduates who they pay peanuts (N30, 000 pm). Not just banks, most employers tell people with foreign degrees “sorry, we no fit pay you”. Is it really an offence to study in a developed country where the standard of education is actually high?

Well, before you make up your mind to make Nigeria your home, you must have to consider certain things. For starters, you must make sure that there is a big “party chieftain” that will do the leg work for you. You do not get a good job here on merit; somebody must talk to somebody who has the keys to your treasure. It does not matter if you cannot write you name in any language-na pidgin English we dey speak for office here.

Most importantly, be ready to lie about your religious leanings and inclination. Most would-be employers would shred your CV in your presence the moment you suggest that you are a free thinker, i.e., a man who prefers not to be bothered with things other than reason, science and technology. Be ready to join in a spontaneous prayer session and please, please, please, pretend to “speak in tongues” even if just to amuse yourself. Finally, you must learn to say “God bless you”.

In conclusion, am I regretting coming back to my country in search of “the golden fleece”? No, no regrets. Am I happy trudging from one office to the other in search of an elusive job? “God forbid!” Is there any indication that things will change for the better in this country? Is there any pointer to a situation whereby our government will work for the masses rather than stuffing private pockets with stolen wealth? Is there….? What? We all need to pray more, offer more thanksgiving and tithes, then pay more tithes, and pray for our leaders!

Brethren, it is one big nasty jungle here! Amen somebody!

Advertisements

Multichoice Nigeria-Crappy Cable TV and Rubbish Service


In our bid as nation to attract the much talked about foreign investors to our shores, we have certainly opened our gates to some notable international service providers, and the totally capricious, rubbish and wicked ones. Having spent about eight months in Nigeria, it is my candid view that Multichoice Nigeria, the owners of DSTV stands out as the worst service providers in Nigeria.

In my quest to escape the mostly dull ,uninteresting and utterly archaic television programmes of most Nigerian TV stations (the NTA takes the gold cup here!), I was forced  into the cold arms of Multichoice and was saddled with their DSTV cable. I have continued to experience only heartaches, disappointments and the worst type of customer and quality service.

It is only in Nigeria that I found out that cable television is subject to weather dictates; DSTV signal is lost at the slightest trace of cloud in the sky. You can guess what happens whenever it rains. Having spent a considerable time in Europe, I split my hair trying to remember the last time SKY TV lost signal either as a result of rain or snow! In Nigeria, the technology DSTV is using is so archaic and pathetic that it takes about ten minutes for the installed cable box to boot! It can scan and scan until you fall asleep. I am still wondering what would happen to our viewing rights the moment the heavens decides to shower us with rain for up to a month; you will lose the chance of enjoying what you paid for while Multichoice smiles to Jo’borg with your cash!

Multichoice would have been out of existence if it were operating in a country where issues of poor quality provision is frowned at and consumers’ rights protected. I have tried on so many occasions to speak to a real human being by calling Multichoice on 012703232; the customer care agents sound so cold and aloof if you are lucky to get through to them. They always leave me feeling guilty that I interrupted either a captivating conversation or roused a tired human from a much needed slumber. As I write, I have been trying furiously to get Multichoice on the phone since yesterday all to no avail. My subscription was suspended because I did not make payment on the expected date, but having made payment since yesterday, Multichoice in their bullish wisdom deemed it fit to continue to suspend my viewing rights.

Which brings me to the big question; why do South African companies operating in Nigeria treat their Nigerian customers with the worst type of disdain? Why do our regulatory agencies suddenly get afflicted with selective blindness when such foreign firms flout our consumer protection laws with impunity? Are we so wicked to the point of protecting and courting foreigners who sustain their home economy with the billions they make in our country while treating Nigeria and Nigerians like the old colonial masters? I challenge any discerning mind to look into the ethically evil affairs of such arrogant South African companies like Multichoice and MTN! Between them, they have enjoyed a stupendous return on investment way beyond their wildest imagination but still have the cheek to treat Nigerians with contempt!

It is no longer news that MTN is dishing out rubbish services to Nigerians while ferrying out billions of Naira to their home country. Suckers who subscribe to MTN network continue to whine and moan at the epileptic service they are forced to contend with. The Nigeria Communications Commission continues to huff and puff while allowing MTN and other nonchalant operators to deny Nigerians the right to enjoy quality mobile telephone services. Because of operationally irresponsible operators like MTN, millions of hapless Nigerians now resort to ending every complaint about poor mobile network with “I no get service”.  It is strange how hardworking citizens of Nigeria choose to keep mum when being fleeced by both local and foreign firms; those that opt to complain are asked to chuck the idea since the amount of money being stolen is “minimal”.

Little wonder why our leaders and those in positions of authority continue to sink the trust of millions of Nigerians whose only crime is electing to be calm (and believing God) while expecting responsible and responsive leadership. There is something about our culture that encourages collective submissiveness and a misdirected apathy; we greet every evil visited on us by our leaders with impotent rage, we rush to our worship places to “pray for our leaders” because the Bible says so, we invoke the spirit of our ancestors to come and fight for us while closing our eyes and mind to the fact that real power belongs to the people.

It is only in a country like Nigeria that companies like Multichoice will be dishing out below-standard cable TV services while shipping billions of our money to their country. What manner of company will shut down its call centre operations without thinking of millions of their customers’ satisfaction? Where in the world will a service provider take your money and fail to render the services paid for without either refunding the money, apologising or being sued? In Nigeria, we have so many regulatory agencies in who only exist to act as a conduit for the merciless looting of our patrimony; most of these bodies suck up to the whims of South Africans, dodgy Lebanese folks, mean Indian traders, while acting as an extension of the racist arm of the colonial government yore.

Well, even though our claims to being the “giant of Africa” is now more of a subject of an academic scrutiny- the shabbiness of things in Nigeria, the poverty of ideas amongst the ruling class, the antiquated lust of lucre afflicting our politicians, the evil greed that seduces our regulatory agencies into selling our lucrative businesses to mercenary foreigners, the tension and mistrust that pervades amongst the populace, the carnage and bloodshed that is personified by the demented Boko Haram sect, the boom in religious movements as against moral human beings, all create a perfect ground for ethically aloof companies like Multichoice to operate in. Well, we can force companies like MTN, Multichoice and similar uninspiring firms to provide us with quality service, get ready to pay compensations for giving us rubbish services, and loose our customs. We can always vote with our money and legs.

Will our regulatory agencies please do their work and save us this agony?

Pastors, Prophets and Boko haram


As a commentator who views every aspect of religion with a strong dose of suspicion and doubt, I am always mindful of the fact that discussing religion in Nigeria amounts to dabbling into a very sensitive issue. I therefore make known my views about the beliefs of others which boil down to one sentence; every religion should be accorded the respect it deserves. It has never been my intention to ridicule people of faith or the subject of their faith.
However, I am an individual that subscribes staunchly to that school of thought which maintains that no institution is so sacred that questions should not never be directed at it; this question time becomes most pertinent now because religion makes both spurious and ridiculous claims in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. We live in an era where Pastors, Prophets and Imams smile to the bank while doing nothing other than promising the poor and hungry that “there is a heaven somewhere”.
Chief amongst the numerous claims being championed by the show-time Pastors and Prophets in Nigeria is the ability to peep into the future and report to the gullible and bewildered followers what will transpire soonest. Well, Nigeria is facing a very major challenge which is threatening to shatter her existence as we know it-a religiously psychopathic sect ridiculously known as Boko Haram is murdering fellow citizens with so much glee.
Having studied the concept of this megalomaniac Boko Haram bigots, it is my considered view that numerous Nigerian “men and women of God” should rise to the occasion and help both our security forces and Nigerians in “stemming the tide of the flow of blood” [apologies to Wole Soyinka]. We have in abundant supply self-proclaimed Pastors and Prophets who owe their success to claiming to have the ear of God; these fellows have made a brilliant career of turning millions of fellow citizens into weaklings who “wait on the lord” while donating generously to the preachers scam.
I sincerely posit that Boko Haram should be made to feel the weight and fire that fills the Lagos-Ibadan highway-this stretch of road is the melting point of all the “Bible believing” churches in Nigeria. Presidents, Governors and many successful and not so successful politicians in our land have been known to visit some of the brands littered on that road for a peep into their political future. Foreign heads of governments equally troop to our “Pastors/Prophets highway” for divination.
One of our most popular and stupendously wealthy Prophets is so much into the practice of “predicting” the death of famous people, favoured countries to win the African Cup of Nations, etc. Now, what is stopping this fellow and others that ply the same trade from revealing the antics and designs of the Boko Haram and those propping them up? Revelations and prophecies should not end with telling hungry and wretched citizens of Nigeria that “this is your year of financial breakthrough”, “your uncles and aunties in the village are behind your economic doom”, “the old woman you gave money is the one that tied your wife’s womb”, and similar nonsense.
Our Pastors and Prophets have really failed to live up to their self-professed calling. They must come out in their thousands to form a coordinated team of “Divinely Inspired Prophets/Pastors Intelligence Network” to compliment the efforts of our worldly security forces in smashing the monster that is Boko Haram. For the love of God, we should do away with this weak and self-defeating style of enjoining scared adherents to pray for the downfall of this murderous sect.
Nigerians are really a gullible lot and our government exploits this ugly situation brilliantly. The economic hardship brought about by the ethically and morally evil actions of our rulers is to me, the main reason why we have millions of religious people who have no faith. All over Nigeria, we see smart men and women exploiting fellow citizens, armed with nothing other than a copy of the Bible or the Quran. We are living in a period of time where fellow citizens have become so superstitious and are willing to believe just anything that spews forth from the mouth of charlatans masking as “men of God”.
I feel so sorry for the pastors and prophets that ply their trade in the North of Nigeria; their major source of sustenance and wealth which comes in the form of “offerings and tithes” is being threatened by the murderous rampage of the Boko Haram. Offerings and tithes will surely cease to come in when people are afraid to go to church-sad. So, in order to secure their major means of income, those that “traffic in the word” must work hard to dismantle the source of their scourge.
Our Pastors, Prophets and Imams are really a bunch of very smart lot. They have devised a brilliant means of “giving hope to the hopeless” while smiling to the banks and flying around in private jets and cruising in posh automobiles. I give it to them; it is not their fault that we have consistently being saddled with wicked and heartless bloodsuckers who parade themselves as leaders. These men and women who obviously have no shame have maintained a steady and sustained practice of looting our treasury with the highest degree of lust! The nation is in shambles because of the wicked and obnoxious actions of those that either shot or rigged their ways into positions of authority; our schools are all in different stages of decay, our health care is one huge joke, transport system is comatose, our roads are death traps, made in China electric generating sets of different types now sustain our quest for power supply, our environment is so polluted that it is really a miracle how we remain healthy here, everything is bad in Nigeria.
In the absence of a responsive and responsible government, in the absence of men and women who are honest and armed with a strong will to serve the people, in the absence of a purposeful leadership, what we have is a stifling array of churches and mosques all churning out ridiculous and weird messages of hope to assuage the quest of an already bewildered and impoverished populace. Sounds of gun shots and exploding bombs have become a steady stream in the life of our nation while the Presidency maintains the comedy which maintains that “Nigerians should go about their lawful business as government will soon smash the scourge that is Boko Haram”
So far, it has become a sinister habit of those in the Presidency to attempt to insult us with messages that achieve nothing other than expose their annoying inability to secure Nigeria and all that concerns Nigerians. Boko Haram is bombing us into oblivion, those in government are in a serious race of stealing all the money in our treasury, the EFCC is busy celebrating jailing hapless and petty 419 boys while shying away from prosecuting the big men and women that raid public funds with impunity, our police men continue to shoot unarmed civilians while scampering to safety at the mention of armed robbers/kidnappers, etc. etc. The above scenario is the perfect breeding ground of swindlers and rogues who mask as preachers.
As far as I am concerned, Pastors, Prophets and Imams are all in their game for their own cosmic amusement which is about the wealth, the prestige it accords them and the opportunity to make cock and bull claims. This is the time for them to come out and unravel the apparent “mystery” that the Boko Haram and other societal evils have become. Those that claim to see into the future with the aid of “an all seeing God” should harken to this clarion call, or accept openly that they are a bunch of Motivational Speakers whose major career is all about challenging people to surrender their thinking faculties in place of “praying and fasting until something happens”. Perhaps, there might be men and women who genuinely believe in their role as men and women ordained by the Divine to help the suffering masses of Nigeria.
However, why is it only in Africa that religion encourages people to be blind to reason and logic while in developed nations, reason, and science and technology rules? There are so many “whys” in my mind now, but chief amongst them is why our self-acclaimed men and women of God are not using their powers of “vision and prophesy” to expose the Boko Haram and their many plots? Why? Let’s pray about it brethren.