Between the connected and the nobodies
Sir: In our society today, one can hardly get anything without knowing anybody in position. A person’s circle of influence determines what he or she gets in certain places. The place of merit has been relegated. Whereas a person’s connection to people of influence and authority determines what they get in several institutions. .
Unfortunately, going through highly placed individuals to get favours has become a practice that has been normalised in most institutions, in the public and private sectors. Connections are needed to gain admission into the university, get a job, a contract or even an appointment in public offices. These have far-reaching implication on the destiny of Nigeria.
In politics, without the anointing of a god father, a novel politician can hardly occupy any public position. As long as such politician reigns in office, they become tied to the apron strings of their god fathers who other than the citizens become the benefactor of that office.
So many graduates have emerged from various academic institutions with good grades yet have remained at home for so many years. Most public offices receive application from graduates in their thousands, subjecting them to payment of application fees, meanwhile, the job vacancies exist for just few persons. Despite the fact, those who are eventually given the jobs do not sit for the exams or, possess the necessary qualification for the job.
In the award of government contracts, it is a tough war for a person without connection to get a contract by merit. Despite the existence of the Public Procurement Act (2007) which makes provision for openness, competition and public participation in the procurement process and award of government contracts. Those in charge of procurement in the ministries, departments and agencies manipulate the principle of openness and fairness in the procurement process by tipping the mark up prices and evaluation criteria to their preferred company.
A lot of genuine bidders who have none of such connections in the ministries have been denied the opportunity of growing as entrepreneurs.
The shoddy performances of contracts and supplies of goods and commodities are as a result of the conflicts of interest which still exist in the award of contracts.As earlier mentioned, this act occurs in the academic institutions too. There is a vice chancellors’ list and the list of the highly connected in the society. In some other cases, prospective students pay more than what is required to gain admission, despite meeting the required qualification. This act of manipulating students, continues in the class room, where lecturer demands sexual gratifications or unusual payments for handouts before students pass exams.
It is our collective responsibility to secure the destiny of Nigeria and its upcoming generation, by upholding high standards of ethics and values. It is the lack of these values that have translated into societal decadence, corruption and in-equality.
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