A Recruitment Tragedy, Moron Moro and a Sordid Blame Game, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
A bad system produces bad products. I am not surprised the system threw up an Abba Moro at the helm of the Interior Ministry.
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) made N7billion from the sale of forms and vests to 7million candidates seeking employment with the agency. The sale of forms is understandable but what about vests? Oh! They are supposed to engage in paramilitary exercise, oh yeah? Where? How? In a crowded stadium of over 60,000 applicants? What an ugly joke this is? Why are we like this? This exercise that ended in premeditated deaths of innocent job seekers is another orchestrated fleecing of hapless Nigerian youths.
Nigeria is a country of “One Week, One Trouble”. A country that never stops at shocking you. You get shocked until you are accustomed to shocks and nothing really shocks anymore! I wish Nigeria as it is, this morning, does not exist. I hate the Nigeria of today. The Nigeria that eats its young. Nigeria is bad company, it finds a way to stain you, sting you and torture you but that is if you care, dare, or just unfortunate to be born poor. I hate the Nigeria that can only guarantee upward mobility to those that are already upwardly mobile. A Nigeria where only children of the elite can get jobs. A Nigeria where only foreign degrees gets the juicy jobs because its universities churn out unemployable graduates.
But isn’t this Nigeria the Nigeria of their dreams? Isn’t it the Nigeria they want us to have? The questions below and more are what I expect reporters to ask Moron Moro and the Comptroller of the Immigration Service about the recruitment exercise.
1. Why should half a million applicants be invited to write the test for less than 5,000 jobs?
2. What information were you expecting to get from the forms you sold, if the forms cannot sift away some applicants based on defined requirements? We know many applicants would have applied out desperation without paying attention to the requirements needed to qualify.
3. Why can’t the exercise be done in batches?
4. If the NIS is concerned about integrity of the test(I’m sure they are not, you can’t give what you don’t have), why can’t they recruit JAMB, NECO or WAEC with the requisite manpower and equipment to run the test for them after all they realized N7billion in income?
5. What integrity will a stadium equipped for sporting, filled with candidates guarantee?
6. Since NIS profited from this exercise; why is the agency unable to buy stanchions and velvet ropes to ensure orderly procession into the stadium?
7. If you are not exploiting Nigerian youths, why not provide cooling fans and water for applicants given the enormous money you collected?
Then comes the brainless Abba Moro. What can I say? A bad system produces bad products. I am not surprised the system threw up an Abba Moro at the helm of the Interior Ministry. In Nigeria ministerial appointments are rewards for patronage without any bearing on competence or merit. Abba Moro got his ticket into infamy by being the chief thug and favor dispenser for David Mark’s last campaign to retain his Senate seat. This is his turn to eat more at his masters table.
With his mouth stinking like uncollected garbage; he implied the victims of the sham recruitment exercise caused their own deaths… “The situation we have found here is very unfortunate, because if you look at the gate of the stadium and the surroundings, it is a clear indication that some people had the intention to break into the stadium forcefully…In the process people were trampled upon and unfortunately some persons lost their lives. This is an exercise that was organised primarily to forestall this kind of incidence that we have seen today… people who did not apply for the exercise tried to cash in on the openness of the exercise. Several unauthorised persons came in here, especially pregnant women; and in a paramilitary examination that involves physical exercise, I am surprised that a pregnant woman will come to partake – Abba Moro”
REALLY? Was there anywhere on the form where pregnant women were told not to apply? Is there any measurement designed to weed out pregnant women or prevent them from being short-listed? Are pregnant women unfit for such jobs? Is that not gender based discrimination? In your recruitment process, what happens if a fit and qualified woman who applied got pregnant after submitting her application?
In places where the citizens know their rights, have not mortgaged their conscience, did not sell their votes, have the cojones to hold their leaders accountable, there would have been no Moro tomorrow. He would have tendered his resignation but here we are having him go on record, heaping blame on youths wanting gainful employment. I know the kind of Abba Moro are opportunists. His comments betrayed his lack of gumption and level of intelligence. Intelligent people talk intelligently.
At least in Nigeria we have incontrovertible evidence that a doctoral degree may have no direct relationship with above average Intelligence Quotient. Anything is possible in Nigeria, it is a country of anything goes. It is a country that would just not let your gall bladder maintain its rest under the liver’s protection. Where are the jobs? Will Abba Moro’s son or daughter ever seek to enter the immigration service? If yes, will his child’s employment not be by a mere note to the Comptroller General?
There are no vacancies in the NIS my people. The recruitment is state sanctioned grifting where Nigerian youths were shafted and swindled. It was a public relations gimmick for this government gone bad. If prior recruitment is anything to go by, Patience Jonathan, Senators, Representatives, Governors, Party bosses, Ministers, Traditional Rulers must have had their slots allocated to them. The vacancies have been filled! While writing this: Daily Trust reported 522,652 applicants turned up at the venues all over the country for 4,556 advertised jobs of which all but 240 slots remained to be filled! This country is getting pillaged beyond reason. The youth bulge gives them no grief. They have no idea this demographic will bring Nigeria down very soon. They have no idea. They think of it as a joke.
The greatest joke is that there is no room for merit nor hard work in Nigeria. Patronage gets you the extra mileage to succeed. Even in functional societies, hard work alone does not define success because the world is not a level playing field. In Nigeria it gets even worse, obstacles are placed on routes leading to success for the struggling masses. In Nigeria, success is near unattainable if you are born poor. That is why it gets my bile when career politicians, pundits, commentators, monied men, people born into privilege think if you worked hard enough, you would become rich. By extension, they imply that if you were poor it was because you have not worked hard enough.
In the course of my everyday life, I see men and women working their sorry behinds off! In Lagos, I see women hauling partially ripe plantains off buses to be roasted in the hot blazing sun trying to earn a living and feed their family. I see how hard the guy who repairs my generator works. I see how hard it is for my plumber to pay his children’s way through school. I knew this line of thought had no basis. Some of us were born into privilege and it is unadulterated wickedness not to recognize that some people are disadvantaged from birth. I have seen millions of men and women who worked harder than anyone, harder than the Otedola’s, the politicians, harder than anybody I know and they are dirt poor.
Have you imagined being a graduate and being a security guard at a private home in Ikoyi? Was this what the guard bargained for while going through college? Working at an unpleasant job makes hard work itself an assault on the mind. These youth were only seeking to ascend the ladder…shame unto Abba Moro and the NIS for fleecing these young men and women, for selling this country short at every turn, for profiteering at the expense of human lives. I’m ashamed of Nigeria, the country where I was born!
I hope some lawyers can help the victims’ families sue the immigration service. NIS must be made to refund the blood money they took from all the applicants and pay heavily for unlawful death to the families of the victims of this sham recruitment exercise.
As this goes to the press, news filtered in that the President summoned Abba Moro and the Comptroller General. This is what Moro had to say on the avoidable tragic recruitment… “What happened on Saturday is a huge eye opener and has presented a new challenge to us. I see resigning as walking away from the problem. I am not going to resign because that is akin to running away from the problem. I will stick around and confront the challenge head-on – Abba Moro”.
Maybe the outcry got to him a bit, maybe he’s been advised to tone down his mean, vindictive, hostile and arrogant rhetoric. Who knows? I bet Moro will be protected. He is not going anywhere! At best a committee will be set up and some measly compensation will be paid the victims’ families. We know how this works. The government will give these families N2million each and the noise ends. That will be another level of pain. The index finger of each victim should be worth more than that.