Last week, through the investigative effort of two media organisations, the recruitment of the children, wards, wives and mistresses of top government appointees and politicians by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) became public knowledge. These recruitment were done secretly, without advertisement and clearly in advancement of the patronage culture on which we have unfortunately built our country. The details of the identities of those so recruited presented the picture of the President giving out Board sits and ambassadorial positions, to his loyal party men and women.
The revelation was the confirmation of what has long been known, that those ‘juicy’ government agencies and parastatals who never advertise vacancies, who are never known to conduct tests and who on inquiry will retort firmly that there is no vacancy, yet their payroll continues to burgeon monthly, are actually actively recruiting daily based on the strength of surnames, short notes behind business cards and other forms of nepotism. And when they care to advertise, it is to fulfill all righteousness as the list of those to be taken, comprising of candidates of federal legislators, senior military officials, ministers, top party men and Aso Rock, is already compiled, despite the fact that poor graduates are running from corner to post to complete the applications.
The CBN in an effort to save face, christened their shameful discriminatory recruitment strategy, which goes against all known ideals of fairness and even the much battered federal character law, “strategic recruitment”; suggesting that it required resources with specialist skills that, for some reason, is found only in children, wards and relatives of the top elite in our country. How convenient. One wonders what criteria was used in conducting the search for these so call specialist skills. Did they send requests to universities home and abroad? Or did they simply send a classified memo to the APC national secretariat announcing that the annual job bazaar for those in power was now open?
One would ask, after the revelation, what has happened? What will happen? Where is the outrage? In serious climes, somebody would have resigned his/her job, there would be an investigation, people would be answering questions, the parliament would be interested, labour unions would be up in arms, the citizens would be screaming foul play, but not here. The press statement from the CBN to justify the unjustifiable was all we’ve got and it is likely to remain so. The reason is simple. This is about them not us. It benefits them, not us and when it comes to a battle between them and us, we lose all the time.
It should become very clear to us, and by us I mean the majority of hardworking Nigerians not included in the top one percent that run the show, that these people do not really care about us. After maintaining presence in and out of power for the last thirty years and more, these persons are resolved to ease their own into the spaces they vacate. It is not enough that because of their unfettered access to our common wealth their children have enjoyed the best of upbringings including access to the best education abroad, they are also making sure they fix them into the best positions such that twenty years from now, we will be led by the very same names that we have known since birth.
How we react to this matters a lot. It doesn’t help that we daily claw at each other on social media, defending them based on our parochial political or ethno-religious leanings. It doesn’t help that we are prepared to take up arms and kill each other to enable them advance their selfish political interests, just as we saw last weekend in the re-run elections in River State. They play us like pieces on a draught board. Today they are APC, when their interest is no longer served under that platform they move over to the other side and suddenly those former perceived enemies become friends and the joke is on you, their foot soldiers. And while you while away your time and life being their tool of warfare for the pleasure of the few crumbs that fall off the table or the now ridiculous SA on New Media role which they hand out to you, their Children and wards are insulated from the madness, obtaining their ‘specialised skills’ and returning home unannounced to take up the most important roles in the inner working of the bureaucracy. Suddenly, you will find yourself soon doing PA job for the daughter after years of serving the father in the same capacity.
We must wake up. Our mumu don do. Prof Pius Adesanmi said recently, that “no Nigerian politician is worth missing your lunch for let alone dying. We can expand that to include “no Nigerian big man”, because they don’t really care about you. The more they have you at their foot the better. For many, they are happy there is a forex challenge for as the President declared on international TV, only those who can afford it (read this to mean those who can access cheap dollar through the CBN) will be able to continue training their children abroad. The rest of us are doomed to our fate.
Waking up starts from coming to the realisation that we are on our own in this country and it is either we continue the rat race of hustling to get into position to lick their behinds in order to guarantee a semblance of a good life for yourself and family or we band together and fight for a better deal. We are in the majority; we have simply not realized what we can do and how much we can change the course of history for our unborn children by saying enough to them, in one voice. We need to come to that realisation fast.