Hyp­o­crit­i­cal crit­i­cism of shady re­cruit­ment

Daily Trust - - OPINIONE-MAIL - Mo­ham­mad Qad­dam Sidq Isa

Over the past few months there have been scan­dalous rev­e­la­tions of shady pub­lic re­cruit­ment ex­er­cises in the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN), the Fed­eral In­land Rev­enue Ser­vice (FIRS), Nige­ria Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vice (NIS) and per­haps a few other gov­ern­ment agen­cies. Though each of the three scan­dals was widely con­demned, the rev­e­la­tions weren’t sur­pris­ing, af­ter all, for they sim­ply re­high­lighted how fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions sys­tem­at­i­cally flout due process in staff re­cruit­ment ex­er­cises, which is equally ram­pant at the state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment lev­els as well.

I, for one, ac­tu­ally found the avalanche of crit­i­cism against the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in­volved more sur­pris­ing in­stead, as it sounded too pas­sion­ate as though the scan­dals had un­folded in Nor­way, for in­stance, not

Nige­ria. In any case, no one de­nies the fact that pub­lic re­cruit­ment ex­er­cise in Nige­ria is most of the time, if not al­ways, shady due to the deep-rooted cul­ture of nepo­tism in the coun­try. This is es­pe­cially in re­cruit­ment ex­er­cises into ma­jor rev­enue gen­er­at­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies, de­part­ments and other ma­jor gov­ern­ment bod­ies e.g. the afore­men­tioned three and, of course, the Nige­rian Na­tional Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC) and its sub­sidiaries, Nige­ria Cus­toms Ser­vice (NCS) and the Nige­rian Ports Au­thor­ity (NPA) and its sub­sidiaries etc.

Be­sides, though this prac­tice is of­ten con­demned by all, the re­al­ity main­tains that so many Nige­ri­ans are di­rect, in­di­rect or po­ten­tial ben­e­fi­cia­ries of its per­sis­tence. For in­stance, there is hardly any civil servant at the fed­eral, state or lo­cal gov­ern­ment level that doesn’t owe ap­point­ment to a bene­fac­tor(s) who had one way or an­other ma­nip­u­lated or in­flu­enced the re­cruit­ment process in his favour at the ex­pense of many more com­pe­tent but un­priv­i­leged hence short­changed Nige­ri­ans out there strug­gling with per­sis­tent un­em­ploy­ment or stuck in grossly less re­ward­ing jobs com­pared to their skills and qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Also, thanks to the pre­vail­ing cul­ture of im­punity in the coun­try, those in­volved in shady pub­lic re­cruit­ment prac­tices who are, of course, largely se­nior civil ser­vants and their ac­com­plices among politi­cians, and the lob­by­ists for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries who are mostly tra­di­tional ti­tle hold­ers, states­men, re­tired politi­cians, re­li­gious cler­ics and other in­flu­en­tial pub­lic fig­ures don’t only get away with it, but do, in fact, gain un­earned fur­ther recog­ni­tion in their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties and con­stituen­cies, which boosts the po­lit­i­cal ad­van­tage of the ac­tive politi­cians among them and im­proves the prospects of the ac­tive civil ser­vants among them nurs­ing the am­bi­tion of join­ing pol­i­tics in the fu­ture.

Af­ter all, peo­ple also have a bad habit of glo­ri­fy­ing or vil­i­fy­ing serv­ing or re­tired se­nior civil ser­vants, politi­cians and other pub­lic fig­ures based on, among other things, their re­spec­tive records in se­cur­ing gov­ern­ment jobs for their re­spec­tive cho­sen can­di­dates through shady pub­lic sec­tor re­cruit­ment ex­er­cises. There­fore, know­ing how peo­ple’s ver­dict on them in this re­gard would al­ways im­prove or jeop­ar­dize their prospects of suc­cess or fail­ure in their re­spec­tive cur­rent or fu­ture en­deav­ours, such gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and politi­cians are al­ways ea­ger to per­pe­trate any il­le­gal­ity as long as it will fetch them un­earned and in­deed grossly mis­placed recog­ni­tion.

Mean­while, as al­most ev­ery job­seeker turns to his bene­fac­tor(s) or looks for one to help him land one of the sought-af­ter jobs in one of such lead­ing rev­enue gen­er­at­ing gov­ern­ment agen­cies, it be­comes in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult even among the well-con­nected can­di­dates them­selves to land one.

Mean­while, as un­priv­i­leged job­seek­ers con­tinue to hugely out­num­ber the avail­able job va­can­cies in the coun­try, thanks to the suc­ces­sive govern­ments’ fail­ure to achieve eco­nomic growth pro­por­tion­ate enough to ac­com­mo­date and keep pace with the grow­ing num­ber of job­seek­ers in the coun­try, even jobs that were rel­a­tively easy to get in the past are now ex­tremely dif­fi­cult for such un­priv­i­leged can­di­dates to se­cure as the re­cruit­ment ex­er­cises into them be­comes in­creas­ingly shady, which makes it

Also, thanks to the pre­vail­ing cul­ture of im­punity in the coun­try, those in­volved in shady pub­lic re­cruit­ment prac­tices who are, of course, largely se­nior civil ser­vants and their ac­com­plices among politi­cians, and the lob­by­ists for the ben­e­fi­cia­ries who are mostly tra­di­tional ti­tle hold­ers, states­men, re­tired politi­cians, re­li­gious cler­ics Worse still, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has ig­nored calls to probe deep into the re­cent three re­cruit­ment scan­dals de­spite the sheer weight of the cred­i­ble allegations of the in­volve­ment of some top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in them

in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult, if not prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble, for them to se­cure jobs.

It’s ab­so­lutely ob­vi­ous there­fore that many, if not most of, Nige­ri­ans who re­acted to the re­cent pub­lic re­cruit­ment scan­dals couldn’t ac­tu­ally claim any moral high ground in con­demn­ing shady re­cruit­ment prac­tices and crit­i­ciz­ing the gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and other in­di­vid­u­als in­volved. Worse still, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has ig­nored calls to probe deep into the re­cent three re­cruit­ment scan­dals de­spite the sheer weight of the cred­i­ble allegations of the in­volve­ment of some top gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in them.

Need­less to say, this is not only wor­ri­some, but it also gives some cre­dence to the allegations of bias in gov­ern­ment’s an­ti­cor­rup­tion ap­proach, as it also steadily erodes pub­lic con­fi­dence in its com­mit­ment to tackle the cul­ture of nepo­tism in the coun­try.

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