Nigeria and the burden of empirical evidence

My taxi driver is a teacher. I ended up in his car because the car I was in previously broke down.

We were in a remote area, all I could see was jungle. He suggested to call his friend so to get a mechanic from Ado Ekiti to help.

Nothing my driver said makes any sense – only good enough to highlight desperation of Nigerians who really wanted to earn their living but are against bigger odds.

Against my best judgement I paid him, just so I would not have to think about him ever – “Go away with your wahala” I told him.

Thankfully, my new taxi driver was going to Efon Alaaye, and agreed to take me all the way to Ife.

“Do you do this often, using your car for commercial passengers?” I asked taxi driver.

Only on occasions for his church programs as he rarely has time.

Taxi driver enjoys teaching Biology, has been working for 5 years and happy. The only problem was when government don’t pay.

“So you guys are owed salaries too?” I asked.

Teachers are owed 2 months salary by the previous administration. Fayose paid a month and a month outstanding.

Fayose refused to pay the outstanding amount as he argues it was not his administration that owed staff.

My taxi driver displayed the typical mindset of Nigerians. Most people do not want trouble, they only would liked to be paid for work done.

So back in Osun. A friend and I met up. She has not been to work for a week. Actually, since the beginning of the year, she goes to office when she feels like it. Her last salary was November last year so was not keen on travelling daily to a job that refused to pay.

“But you will eventually get paid, abi?” I asked. “Every last kobo” My friend says.

My friend was in a good situation because her husband has a job the whole family could fall back on.

She works at the local government central office and can not be fired for not showing up as her father is a politician. So eventually, she will get paid for all the days she neither worked nor showed up.

Not everyone is as lucky, many people must trudge to their offices daily to take register,  since morale is low, little or no tasks get done – all blaming it on unpaid salaries.

A lady from Ogun state government I chatted with online says “But there is no money to pay staff.”

I responded that was the most insane excuse ever. Why would you keep people at work if there was no money to pay? How do you suppose they’ll survive?

Owing workers salaries will make absolutely no sense, not in the least but to Nigerians, this has always been a big issue.

It is the same story from medical staff, teachers to civil servants all over the country.

The same government has enough money for the most elaborate elections campaign ever with all parties turning out on campaign trail Owambe style. The same government borrowed obsene amount of money for private jets and accessories that many Western politicians could never afford to own.

Statistics will help us a great deal to get the sense of how deep corruption has been running in this country for the last 20 years, however, how about first of all making all public offices from all parties provide financial statements showing clearly revenues and expenditures. If you can’t, then you are corrupt until proving innocence.

That will be a good start.

Categories: Nigeria

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13 replies

  1. My dear, the thing tire me o!
    How can you not pay someone for work they’ve done? That is just sheer wickedness!!! And this has been going on in our country for so long…it’s become entrenched in the system. It’s absolutely disgusting! And then we wonder why the country is so corrupt.
    If you go into a government office and the staff haven’t been paid for months, why would they feel inclined to help? No wonder they demand money, from the gate-man to the head clerk!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, it is tiring! Sometimes I wish I could just stop noticing this but the truth is our problems can not be wished away without tackling the roots of it all.

      It just makes absolute no sense not to pay workers – how do you justify not paying your staff when the same country pays $Ms yearly on international scholarships for example?


  2. It is such a shame when you hear some Nigerians complain about the corrupt practices of our leaders, when they are worse and only spoiling for an opportunity to have their turn at looting the nation’s treasury

    Liked by 1 person

    • But we can’t be too suspicious of everyone looking for a chance to loot, I suppose one way of seeing this is that we all have to be agents of change.

      So while public officials are being scrutinised for corruption, at the same time civil servants who didn’t show up to do their job get laid off or non pay – that will perhaps give desired results over time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes o, every public servant should be probed if corruption is to be stamped out. If the government is freely owing salaries, who will coerce the private ones to pay? That us why output is low, no salary, no work done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greetings FK
    Didn’t Obasanjo do something like that, the Government published the monies allocated to the states and how much money they received in total from oil revenues? Once it got down to state level, it effectively disappeared. Still people are apathetic when it comes to local elections. Rather than mobilising to vote out the administration that failed to pay it’s employees, they didn’t vote and so the situation persists.

    I think if such a situation occurs in future, there should be some mechanism from central government ie Abuja can by-pass paying the state governments and pay the civil servants directly and deduct that money from the state concerned. The problem with statistics, is that they can be shown to prove any point anyone wants, and people can often get lost and hence ‘switch off’. When the state governments are confronted with their under-performance they deflect blame to Abuja, and everyone is happy to ‘hate’ the federal government, which is very lazy and unproductive and are happy to talk about dividing the country, as if everything will suddenly become ‘rosey’.

    There should be checks and balances to keep federal and state governments in-line, I think the term is ‘service level agreements’ which should be taken seriously. Some sort of independent monitoring body (staffed by credible people), whose ruling is binding would be suitable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • E kaasan.

      Yea, I saw a report such as that, I think it was for Ekiti state and the reason for it was to proof Fayose was an ITT. Remember he lied to Obasanjo about some poultry related establishment, that was the genesis of their wahala. The guy is a lot ‘wiser’ now.

      Actually owing staff salary is very common, it is a battle for many of our states presently.

      Agree that the blame game sometimes is nonsensical, as it is only a ploy to shift blame when in fact all could see where salaries are diverted to.

      I like the idea of Abuja stepping in and pay people directly, then pull the state concerned for questioning.


  5. Hello FK. Well said “Why would you keep people at work if there was no money to pay? How do you suppose they’ll survive?” When you get an answer, please share. How have you been? HUGS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I throway salute o! Got more questions than answers my Queen 🙂

      People who work deserved to be paid – no excuse is good enough, not in a country like Nigeria that the difference between haves and haves not is unreasonably wide.

      If the government sincerely has no money to pay staff, then close all public offices and declare bankruptcy – then the government will have to explain where all the borrowed monies waka go 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m still voting for you you know because when I read well-written and thought out plans for improved living and a call to be accountable like this I throwey my salute too! I’m so in argeement with you on this.I just wish they would listen but like you always say. It will help if we keep talking about it in our different spheres.

        Liked by 1 person

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