The news few weeks back asking the Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mrs. Rose Uzoma to proceed on her pre-retirement accumulated leave, continues to raise pertinent questions why those saddled with the responsibility of employing Nigerians into various positions in the country usually fail to play by the rules of fairness, justice and equity.
Mrs Uzoma’s retirement followed the recruitment scandal that rocked the Service few weeks back, where she was accused of favouring people from her region. This has brought to the fore, once more, the wishy-washy manner few individuals who are not capable of spelling their names are highly favoured to man key positions of the country’s various sector at the detriment of those who obviously merit them.
Our Civil Service and private organisation are replete with series of recruitment and employment scams which unfortunately are skewed to favour ethnic and religious identities. Many of such recruitments are entirely biased and not based on merit. The saddest part of it all is that recruitments in contemporary Nigeria have taken new dimensions with government or private institutions collecting huge amount of money for recruitment forms like was witnessed in the last recruitment exercises by the Nigerian Civil Defence and Osun State Civil Service. In the case where a recruitment excercise is advertised, what seems to appear later is a shocking internal recruitment like was witnessed during the Lagos State Civil Service and INEC recruitment drives months back. As if that is not enough, application for jobs still appear in outmoded forms at a time when information technology has broken new grounds in online registration and recruitment feedback while at the end of it all, it is the son or daughter of the political class that gets the job. The recruitment saga in the Nigeria Immigration is not an isolated case and would have gone unnoticed if some individuals had not petitioned the powers that be.
It is quite sad that the unfortunate events which led to the coup of 1966, the Civil War of the following year and its aftermath, have all been ignored and thrown into the dustbin of deep chasm simply because we as a people pursue for ourselves nothing other than pecuniary gains or primordial interests. Not many Nigerians will forget so soon how a Nigerian Head-of-State surrounded himself with his fellow ethnic group as advisers, going further to promote several officers from his ethnic stock. Not even the current squad representing the country at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, has been spared of the criticism of placing inexperienced footballers on the field at the detriment of merit, raising fears of a particular ethnic group wanting to dominate the other.
This writer is of the opinion that we as a people must go back to the days were merit, professionalism, expertise and willingness to work dominated our work-force whose effect yielded viability and sustainability. We must begin the process of placing into leadership positions square pegs in square holes so that efficiency once more takes centre stage in our polity. We must understand that a drowsy work-force is not what we need in the country, especially at a time when the nation needs a surgical operation on all fronts to solve the myriads of problems confronting it on a daily basis. All sectors of the Nigerian polity should have individuals who must have walked through the path of merit and in return made to contribute to the growth and development of the country.
The politicisation and ethnicisation with all apparent strands of religion, in recruiting Nigerians into key positions must be done away with. A culture of discipline and value oriented disposition should be embraced and be our watch-word, so that our vision and goal for an egalitarian society will not elude us as the giant of Africa which we pride ourselves as.
Raheem Oluwafunminiyi is a social commentator and public affairs analyst. He could be reached via [email protected]