Last week witnessed the most turbulent period in the anals of our current Republic. Except during the June 12, 1993 upheavals, did the nation witness the level of carnage done on public infrastructure as was the case last week.
In fact, the level of uncertainty was so perverse that several people concluded it will take months or years for Nigeria to come off the level of political turmoil that descended on the nation. From early mourning Tuesday, in almost all parts of the country, especially in the south, people knew no peace. Movement was halted. Youths blocked off public highways. They made a born fire in some places or simply used remnants of the huge logs of wood hitherto used by the disbanded rogue Special Anti-Robbery Squads, to block public highways, making it impossible for anyone to get to any destination.
From Abuja to Lagos, Enugu to Port-Harcourt, from Calabar to Akure, from Benin to Ado-Ekiti, Abeokuta or Ilorin, several youths were on protest.
Although this protest, which they embarked on since penultimate week against SARS, had been peaceful, but some political desperadoes, hired thugs and brought in other hirelings, to turn a once peaceful protest bloody.
As at yesterday, several police stations have been raised down, some media houses (TVC and Nation Newspaper headquarters) were torched. There has been discordant tunes as to the number of human casualties consequent upon that protest.
No matter from the prism we would like to look at the issue from, events of two weeks ago, thoroughly exposed the unbridled level of corruption in the Nigerian space. Youths in their numbers, exposed several warehouses where unscrupulous politicians hide hundreds of bags of palliative items meant for distribution during the thick of the corona virus. They also unearthered warehouses where monies were stashed. They also exposed caskets, where foreign currency had been hidden. They dug up its where money were stashed away. They exposed several despicable acts of our sanctimonious politicians.
As at the time President Muhammadu Buhari decided that ‘enough-was-enough’, a lot of damage had been done. But, these were acts that ought not to have taken place, were it a society where public officers take their job seriously. For instance, why should those charged with managing the nation’s security apparatus permit any arm of the nation’s security apparatus to engage in such criminal notoriety like SARS did, and allowed it to take public outbursts and destruction of public property, before they could put such ignoble entity under control? This shows high level indiscipline and disregard to public assignment handed over to them. Must the public resort to destruction of police stations before an Inspector-General of Police (IGP) perform a primary duty of ensuring that his men performed their duties in line with established rules? Should anyone tell the IGP that integrity of his men and women should be paramount at all times? Should several families engage in endless petitions against an infamous institution like SARS and others of the sort, before he could wake up to his responsibility?
Or should the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff or the Chief of Naval Staff continue to pretend that the men and women they posted on our highways primarily to assist apprehend felons, have since turned such places to toll collection centers? For several years, these men and women adorning our national uniforms have unabashedly desecrated their uniforms. Several times, there had been intractable quarrels between them and trailer drivers who sometime block the highway on protest. All these happen even though high-ranking Military personnel travel pass such spots and witness such denigration their uniforms, yet they do nothing about such.
What The AUTHORITY say is that it is seriously shameful that it would take violent public protests before the Service Chiefs could woke up to appreciate the terrible things being done by their boys on our highways. Should the public continue to be their primary barometer, or should they put in place internal monitoring mechanisms that should ensure that their integrity, prestige and pedigree are not smeared? Elementary administrative procedure should dictate that when one sends an agent on such a dangerous errand, the principal should continuously monitor the act of their men.
But, all these took the back seat when nepotism, favouritism, bribery and other vices took the center stage in the propensities of our security agencies. Several instances abound where officers that are by far junior to several others are not wearing ranks several times above the officers that recruited them or officers that mentored them. In particular in the police, promotions go to the highest bidder and this is the major source of indiscipline now pervading the police.
At another level, why should it take the declaration of a trade dispute before the Minister of Employment and his men, as well as the particular ministry involved sluggishly enter into 419 agreements with labour leaders? Trade Dispute agreements in Nigerian is now akin to the purchase of ‘akara’, with a penny, an agreement would be drafted and signatures appended to such, but implementing such, would take trade dispute upon another, yet, the sore would continue to bleed, while innocent victims bleed to death.
For example, why should we in all honesty call ourselves a serious country desirous of making any leap technologically or scientifically, if we failed to continuously pander to the FG/ASUU, FG/NARD, FG/NANNM, FG/NMA, FG/NUPEND, etc agreements?
The AUTHORITY is convinced without any iota of doubt that some unscrupulous top-ranking public officials smile to the banks each time trade dispute are declared, otherwise, what is the real purpose of having a Ministry of Labour in the first place?
We have to get serious. We need to place serious sanction against those officers who push us to those shameful trade disputes that lead to strikes. If we review our reward system to successful resolution of issues, we are certain that those things that create unnecessary bottlenecks will vanish into thin air.
What is wrong for instance, if we promote a police or Army officer based on his ability to reduce crimes, ability to decimate bandits/Boko Haram or reward the Labour Minister and his staff based on their ability to bring keep up the industrial harmony in the country? Seriously speaking, our reward system is partly responsible for the unnecessary crises we face in this country and until we decide to face reality, we shall keep regurgitating our regrets and remain in endless circle or doom.