It has often been severally whined about, how irresponsible some of the civil servants in Nigerian institutions can be, nothing could have however prepared one for the distasteful interface that characterizes my engagement with core NYSC staffs in the past few weeks. It is no news that the rudeness and high handedness of civil servants is almost past taming, one would however have hoped that sooner than later, what it means to be human and humane would find its way into the consciousness of the civil service, with “service” as attached to their identity nothing short of a laughable appendage considering the events that surrounds their operations.
As a corper serving in Abuja, Nigeria, I have come to the conclusion that most NYSC staffs are only getting paid to come late to work, use hours to eat upon arriving late, gist about makeup and shoes while hundreds of corpers line up for hours (most times on empty bowels) and later settle down to the business of the day which is to treat corpers like they are not humans. I am more than certain that, all else they do are not part of their job description. Or how best do we describe a situation where a corp member (reporting for the first time) having acted ignorantly of a process that should originally not have been as vigorous as it was, was brutally insulted and questioned on the legitimacy of a degree earned. Going to the zonal office at Arts and Culture at Garki, Abuja, has been that much of a dreadful experience. If not you, it is someone else; being polite and welcoming has never been a noticeable scenario, it is a luxury most of the staffs can’t seem to afford. Everyone is always angry.
In another related development, one must establish that the culture of feedback and responsibility as an eroding value in civil service is best witnessed in the NYSC administration. The NYSC program having been built on a culture of exposure, interface with new horizons and service to the nation would suggest that worthy candidates for this once in a lifetime feat be taken adequate care of, but no; reverse is not just the case but the norm. For a very large chunk of corpers, receiving their grossly inadequate allowances very late has become something quite sad and tortuous. In a state like Abuja that is second to none on the scale of high cost of living, monstrous rent sums for even the most inadequate of spaces and high cost of transportation, the paltry sum of #19,800 has since not been paid to some corpers for two months running and one wonders how the leadership of NYSC expects corpers to cope. Note however, that, apart from the compulsory duty of daily service hanging on the corpers’ neck, they do have to report to yet another weekly community development service, where often times they pay a token week in, week out. If all these are put into commensurate consideration, one would think donning the colors of the NYSC uniform is a sure recipe for free transportation, feeding and accommodation, because that is the only logical explanation acceptable for drawing anyone out of their various homes and subsequently treat them as less important. Without being adequately and promptly paid, it is becoming increasingly hard to identify with our supposed realities as “government property” seeing as a destitute is almost having it better. Complaints upon complaints have since been lodged to authorities with nothing done about it and to add salt to injury, the FCT leadership of NYSC if called on phone will only advise that you show up at the headquarters not minding the fact that you have been there over and over again. It has been their most convenient means of giving life to irresponsibility and dismissing complaints and this does not exclude anyone up the ladder of leadership of NYSC Abuja, shying away from the job description they earn from is everything they know how to do best. In saner climes, by now text messages would have circulated around detailing what is wrong and what is being done about it, but seeing as that will require them being remotely proximal to what it means to be as responsible as they detest, they do nothing nor give an explanation.
For most corpers that have experienced this eyesore, arrears are usually never paid till several months after passing out, which brings one into curiously asking if making a refund of arrears is as hard as it has been made the norm, or someone is tinkering with funds for selfish interests. And in the spirit of hoping like we do when action on a notable cankerworm eating deep into our social fabric is out of sight, we hope that men of timber and caliber can add voice to put an end to the further dehumanization of corps members nationwide.
ADEDOJA TOSIN ADEWALE
CEO, TROL CLOTHIERS
address: 15A, KINGS COURT ESTATE, JABI, ABUJA