This past week I have learnt a few new lessons.
Earlier on in the week, I saw a clip online about a public figure who really wanted to see first hand how rural Nigerians live. She didn’t have to travel far away from the city.
At the pond-like stream, she was shocked to learn anyone could be drinking from such a dirty open water that villagers had to step inside before collecting it in their buckets – alum is used to clear up the discolouration before drinking.
The lady turned sideways to confirm once again from a man from the crowd:
“Are you sure this is where you all fetch drinking water from” The man nodded several times to confirm.
The lady politician was physically sick, not sure what she was thinking but I can see she was profoundly affected at the thought.
Is she going to do all in her power to get everyone in her office to make occasional site visits to people they claim to represent?
I wasn’t too sure what to make of the lady’s attitude but it definitely revealed another side of Nigerian leaders to me.
This lady, born to a high-profile Nigerian politician, at 10 years old left the country to a UK boarding school and from there to Oxford university. After her graduation, she returned to take a political office.
She has lived most of her live in Nigeria but yet had ‘no idea’ that less than 20 miles from the comfort of her home, there are many people deprived of basic need such as safe drinking water Or did she know all along but chose to ignore?
The other eye opener this week was when Senator Ben Murray-Bruce tweeted about the importance of government setting minimum wage:
And again this is one area in Nigeria that has left room for employees abuse especially in the private sector.
So I shared my experience of a family member who had a BA in Economics. After her service year, she applied for various jobs mainly in public offices. I remember that was the time Osun was accepting applications for all sorts of jobs from teaching to administrative roles. Some, if not all of the jobs required application fees. She did went to a couple of interviews in Osogbo including oral and written ones. In the end, nothing came out of it. Her impression was that there were too many people for the advertised roles – just like immigration job death trap saga.
Anyways, in the end, she took a teaching job at a private primary school close to her home in Ibadan for ₦6k/month. The decision to take on this job despite the low salary was because it was still better than staying at home.
Here after reading Senator Ben Murray-Bruce tweet, I imagined a future in Nigeria whereby there is a minimum wage acts to protect the masses.
Currently, there is no such employees protective law, so every employer sets their own wage structure and because of the shortage of job in public sectors, and limited financial help for small business, people are at the mercy of their employers even if they only break even.
Two different issues here but I can’t stop thinking the of disconnection between the public and the leaders is unbelievable. I think of a possible future whereby leaders make occasional visits to local people to see first hand the reality on ground rather than relying on sugar-coated news reports that bear little resemblance to the reality of people’s lifestyle – this I believe will help address our social issues in a more humane manner.