When we say Nigerians are this and that, I am not sure many of us understand who the Nigerians are. We don’t seem to realise that the Nigerians are we ourselves. Every where from market circles to social gatherings and spiritual ones, its like Nigerians are the neighbours next door that we gossip about. We forget that we are actually referring to ourselves, whether in a good or bad light.
Last week, News about the stampede that occurred at various centres for the Nigerian Immigration Service Test killing some people and leaving many injured hit us. And of course there was outrage. Typical Nigerians talked and talked. We whined, and at the end of the day, as usual the matter ended at GEJ’s table. How bad a leader he is and what not. Well, that Jonathan is a good or horrible leader is no where near the point here. It is very important to point out that the people who make up any organisation are all of us. While it is very easy to throw stones at people’s stupidity and irresponsibility we forget that we all have those traits. Now, the organisation and coordination of the Immigration aptitude test was a big shame. As a matter of fact, it was a disgrace to Nigeria and I call for the sack or query of whoever was in charge. But moving forward, many other job interviews are a shame as well. Many other things that we do daily as citizens are shameful. Fortunately or unfortunately, the NIS is a big government agency, so their big mistake has somewhat made us all aware of what sounds right and what doesn’t. You’ll assume that if perhaps the government can’t get anything right like we always say, maybe private folks will do better. But then, people are people, whether they work for the government or themselves. I’ll tell you about an interview I was at, a while back.
It was for the now very popular EbonyLife TV. First of all, the text message sent was very deceiving, it seemed like a closed door interview with a panel, only for me to get there and discover it was an audition with over 200 people already waiting as early as 7am. To top it, there was camera crew waiting. Such invasion of privacy. In their defence, they said they sent out messages to say it would be recorded. I didn’t get that, but by this time I was no longer interested. Now the sad part for me wasn’t that it was an audition or a recorded one at that. I mean, to be on TV you really need to show that you can do some certain stuff. But it was the fact that one, we were told to be there at 8, and nothing started till almost 12. Ms Abudu graciously waltz’d in at past 11 am, all smiles. And to think that she wasn’t even on the panel of 4 judges. They just needed her to be there before anything meaningful could start. Secondly, I don’t understand if the organisers didn’t know what they were in for, because if you say over 1000 people applied, and you shortlisted about 400 people, and yet you want them to all audition on the same day, and by 11am you haven’t started, it makes no sense to me. Many things are not rocket science. You don’t even need to be a top HR person to be able to think through some things. If you know the number of people you are expecting, put them in batches, give them different times to show up. For instance say Candidate 1 to 25, your interview is from 8-9. If you show up after 8 you are disqualified. This allows for some order and sanity. It limits hundreds of people trying to struggle through a door, people fighting about who got there first and who jumped the queue. In the NIS case, I see no reason why that test couldn’t be done online. Anyway the last person to audition must have done so at about 11pm or maybe even midnight. Obviously the judges were so tired, despite taking about 3 breaks in between. I don’t think they would have even judged correctly by the time it was evening. Lets not deceive ourselves, they would have been worn out. It most probably would have clouded their judgment and decision.
In my opinion, we have NO regard for ourselves. At least I think if Ebonylife did, or Nigerian Immigration Service did, they won’t treat people the way they did. A crowd will ALWAYS be unruly. That’s why it’s a crowd. It is however the job of recruiting companies to find ways around that. Why are you shortlisting 1 million people for a job that has a little over 3000 vacancies? Why are they all doing the test the same day? Of course they will cheat, they will be unruly. You don’t plan crowd control on the day of an event. It doesn’t have to get to the point where Police officers have to fire tear gas to dismiss a crowd like they did during the NIS test. They are there because you invited them, they are not a rioting crowd. My friend once went to an interview that was slated for 8 in the morning and it didn’t start till 4pm. She didn’t get to be seen till 8pm. No apologies written or said. And in the mail that was sent her they said it was for the shortlisted 40, but over 100 people were there. The frustration and emptiness at the end of the day. You ask yourself questions like; was it worth it? Is this what it has to come to to get a job as a citizen? You feel like you have been violated.
Ebonylife TV and the NIS are examples of what truly happens around really. Someone not giving deep thought to something, someone doing a haphazard job, someone not seeing the need to pay attention to detail, someone thinking they are doing you a favour by shortlisting you so you should be grateful at whatever treatment you get, ultimately, someone not having REGARD for anyone. Many have condemned the NIS act, but many do the exact same thing in their sphere of influence. No regard for the small choir you lead, no regard for the students you teach, no regard for the apprentice under studying you, no regard for your house help.
Yet, you want to be able to talk about someone else’s irresponsibility? No, you are gonna have to earn that right, that’s even if a right like that exists.
I pray for God’s peace and comfort for the families of those who passed. I pray that no more people have to die on our (NIGERIA) account.