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Salute to Margaret Isioma Osogbue


Sir:Following that announcement that Nigerians should meet a February 9, 2021 deadline to register for their NIN, many Nigerians responded nationwide. When we got there though, what we found on ground was a national embarrassment. To attend to the millions who showed up, government provided only what seemed like an analogue computer. Officials said that that one computer cost N1.5 million because it needed to be calibrated and apps for its operations installed.

To effectively deal with that large number of persons who showed up to get registered, a minimum of 10 computers with corresponding support staff should have made things better run. More disconcerting was that instead of letting everyone pass through the hog, several interest groups forced several ‘service points’ while teeming Nigerians stood in the hot sun daily for as much as 7 to 8 hours and endured a most humiliating exercise.


Those in Benin suffered similar fate, until a Margaret Isioma Osogbue showed up to register for her NIN. Sources said that after making inquiries at why so many people were out there in the scorching sun without any cover, she emerged 30 minutes later with a canopy and 70 chairs. Her payment which covered only three days did not accommodate everyone. Our source said that she promised to return to extend payment for the chairs and canopy for as long as the registration exercise would take.

But who is Mrs. Margaret Osogbue? For most of the 30 years wherein she had lived in Benin City as a lawyer, she has cut a niche for herself as an altruistic personage seeking good for others. After providing the chairs and the canopy, Mrs Osogbue refused to part with her phone number, only unwillingly divulging it to a discreet officer at the Air force Medical Centre just so to be held responsible if the chairs and canopy breached the strict military regimen around the facility. Osogbue has been calling friends, acquaintances and family members to help with providing chairs and canopies for the thousands of Nigerians left in the sun at that NIN centre.

In Osogbue’s example, we suddenly come to terms with the tragic realization that there is a huge gap between those at that end and the rest of us. Her effort amplifies the emerging trend in local politics that because we have been serially treated shabbily by those we entrusted our destinies, we don’t need to wait to be very big, rich and powerful before taking the gauntlet on behalf of a traumatized and harassed citizenry.

We salute Mrs. Margaret Isioma Osogbue as a worthy ambassador of the human race. We pray that in the years ahead, Nigeria will find a position of trust for her to hold on behalf of Nigerians.

Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku is deputy executive director of CERLSI.


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