Over the years I think several other people in the country have come to also accept the fact that my dear country has stronger individuals than institutions. In the beginning it was not so! We used to have very strong institutions that produced people of high integrity. There was no institution of the government that was not working and efficient when we started out. It was the dream of every young man or woman to also get a good job in the government institutions of those days. As a matter of fact, some would rejoice for the rest of their lives to get a job as a Clarke in any government agency. The leaders of those agencies also had visions and we can tell what to expect in the next few years from any government organisations. When we had proper institutions in place, there was nobody diverting the money meant to purchase fertilizers for farmers. Unfortunately things have changed.
Unconsciously but consistently, we began to weaken our institutions and the government systems that were in place because of greed and corruption. Now most of the government agencies or systems are nothing to write home about. I remember a few years ago when my former boss sent me to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to discuss a project with one of the government institutions, we realized that one of the expectations of the people in the system was for us to give them something in order to do what they were supposed to do and were already being paid for. We were supposed to send in some other documents after that meeting with them and guess what happened? We sent them a document by courier which should normally deliver within 24 hours except for weekends. Began to track the progress of the mail and realized that the mail that should arrive in 24 hours did not arrive even in 48 hours. We started calling. We got the name of the person who received the mail and called the organization but the organization denied knowing the recipient who had signed for the mail.
This an unimaginable wickedness going on within the institutions of government and that is mostly because people are now more concerned about what they stand to get rather getting things done for the greater good of the people. Things that can get done in less than one week will now take as long as one year before anyone does anything. When those things eventually get done in one year, someone still expects you to come and thank him or her by giving money because they facilitated the process of getting it in one year. They will also tell you that if not for them it could have taken a year. I remember someone shared the story of how a community leader was approached so that a religious institution can build a school within its terrain and the leader was asking the organization for money. Contracts get awarded by the federal government of the country and some months later the money has gone and the contract has not been done. You travel around and you see some terrible roads but you hear on television that the president or the governor of a state says the contract was awarded and the project has been completed. Sometimes you just seem to get confused and you don’t know what to say because you have people lying on television about things everyone knows have not been fixed.
The government systems or institutions that we have today are the strongest or are the ones that have gone to the deepest part of corruption and they will not allow things to work. When people get into positions or offices they are simply thinking about how they will ultimately become rich rather than how they will make any difference.
Until we have a functional government system in this country we will not achieve much. Having a document that we call our vision is not the problem of this country. Several successive governments have produced different documents but it has not changed much. I only look forward to that time when you can get things done with the government without unnecessary bottle necks. It is possible for us to get things done in this country in lesser time if only people will be efficient. The things that should take one day should not be left for months only if the proper monitoring tools are in place to ensure people are working.
I am really looking forward to that time when the people who work in government will not see the government institutions as a place where you can be paid without doing much. A time will come in this country when you have to work for every dime you earn in the government institutions and no official will be able to ask for bribe. At that time, things will work. A contractor can then walk into the government office, get a contract out and do the job he is expected to do because no one is asking him to pay bribe. It will also be easier for the government agencies at that time to run after defaulting contractors since they have not been bribed. It will be a sanitized system where is you offer bribe, you will be disgraced by the person you offered bribe. People will not have to pay bribes to get jobs. They will get the jobs if they merit it.
The Nigeria of my dream is a Nigeria where we have functional government institutions without corruption and it is run by efficient and diligent people.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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