Tuesday 11 April 2006

Just too many days of holiday in Nigeria

Naijablog is my thinking window on Nigeria
I got involved in a discussion on my favourite blog Naijablog which is run by an Englishman living in Nigeria with his beautiful Nigerian wife.
He remonstrated about unannounced holidays and the way one religious holiday seems to be a holiday for all religions.
This is true, because extended families are usually comprised of different religious affiliations; it is of kindred importance than religious holidays do not depend on the individual's religion.
Then other commentators went on to talk about work and holidays in the West, productivity, relaxing and getting industry to make Nigeria thrive.
After Miss Anonymous said this, “We'll keep wracking our brains. BUT, who will implement them?” My reply appears below.
Dear Miss Anonymous
I am sorry to sit on the fence on this one.
24 years ago, I returned home from a student's protest when the NITEL building was burning down and President Shagari jetted over the flames to India to receive a doctorate degree, just weeks after they announced Indian degrees were inferior to Nigerian ones.
My father took me aside and said, there was a time Nigeria was worth dying for, now, it is everyman to his own.
My honest accountant father though quite successful never got entrenched in corporate settings because he always thwarted attempts to defraud companies where he was CFO.
Evil bedevils the good
Rather than be honoured or rewarded, he received death threats, he did the smart thing then and branched out into farming with moderate success. Now, close to being a septuagenarian he is back with the accountancy he loved.
Nigeria, no doubt has promise and potential, but many of us also got our fingers burnt trying to speak up for probity, prudence and forthrightness.
Charred fingers and frustrated times
I participated in student union politics in the 80's and had to contend with demigod lecturers who wasted our years there.
I went into consultancy, each time I presented a bill; someone wanted a cut to the extent that I had to tell he that my bill was not negotiable, if he was desirous of payback he had to resolve that without my input.
This is apart from the fact that he had nothing to do with my securing the opportunity, nor did he contribute in anyway to help get the work done.
A bale of money to bail out
Once also, I had to sign a bail form for my employees stating I had not paid anything for their release, having paid a hefty sum under the counter to the police.
This again after my business partner corralled all everyone in the holding company into detention on the suspicion that some other employee from a different company has been stealing company property.
He did not even have the courtesy to inform me of that situation.
Nigeria – a dream I once had
The catalogue of experiences of almost 20 years of sojourn in Nigeria would mark anyone, I had my share.
Nigeria is probably a radically changed place from my own experiences and things are probably better, but it would take some convincing to prise me out of the comfort of Europe to prospect in Nigeria for anything.
Meanwhile, you will have my support advisory and international as hopefully the vision I had of Nigeria in the 70s.
In my way, I died for Nigeria once; I would not hurt one single hair of my bald head again.

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