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Ofilispeaks: As Simple as Conveyor Belts & Spelling Nationally




nigeriasolutionsI had just checked in, cleared customs and got my baggage tagged. All that was left for me to do was to dump my luggage on the conveyor belt and then head to my departure gate.

But as I moved to drop my bag on the belt, I was stopped. As a Nigerian in an International Airport, I was  all too familiar with this scenario;  the random check that happens to check me all the time. I guess nothing scares white people more than a 30-something young male Nigerian travelling alone.

But instead of being greeted by a heavy set customs officer with an aggressive barking dog, I was apprehended by a young man at the conveyor belt. He kept  staring at my bag and I in turn couldn’t stop staring at him until I realized that he wasn’t mesmerized by my luggage but rather by the fact that something was spilling out of my luggage, all over the floor.

The source of the leak? My hair spray (don’t judge me!) So, I hurriedly attempted to solve the problem. While rearranging my luggage, I observe the guy from the conveyor belt diligently inspecting each bag before they are placed on the conveyor belt.

Now a conveyor belt inspector job…to me is not the greatest job in the world. Nobody gets up in kindergarten or nursery school and yells “I want to be a conveyor belt inspector!” I mean who can blame them, all you do is watch people drop bags over and over again…but this guy was different. He was clearly focused on his job. In the 3 minutes that I spent fixing up my bag, I watched as he alerted an old lady about possible damage to her medical illegal drug containers if placed on the conveyor belt and then how he informed a middle aged man that his baggage had no tags, meaning that there was no way to route his bags to their final destination #lostluggage.

In the space of 3 minutes and some seconds, the conveyor belt inspector, prevented my luggage and clothes from arriving over-soaked with hair spray, prevented a lady’s drug package from getting damaged and helped ensure that a man’s luggage did not get lost.

In that time, I learned that all jobs are as important as the person doing it. Other people would have just frowned at how sucky being a conveyor belt inspector was and just let any bag go through. But either from an internal drive or proper explanation of the critical importance of his job, the conveyor belt guy as I would like to call him carried out his job with pride and seriousness.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for our airport workers who for the most part are more interested in finding money in your baggage than finding cocaine or bombs. One can argue that this is a direct result of our poor economic situation, but I beg to differ. It may play a factor, but I believe the main factor is a lack of understanding of the importance of ones job.

I say what I say from a point of experience…I travel more than is healthy enough. I spend more time at the Lagos domestic airport than I spend at home (obvious exaggeration). And from the the moment I enter any of the Murtala Mohammed Airport’s whether domestic or international…the abandonment of worker responsibility begins and the hunt for money dominates.

It starts with the guy weighing your bags, who is not focused on the weight of your bag but rather the weight of your wallet. And then it continues on to the customs officials who act as if they are looking for contraband goods, when all they are looking for are the contrabands of Dollars and Naira. If you manage to survive their onslaught you will still have to face the guys at the security screening post. These are the ones operating the x-ray machines. Half of the time they are looking at you instead of the screen. You can ship a snake in your carry on luggage and they won’t even notice, unless the snake happens to be your snake skin wallet!

Little wonder that after you go through all the security inspection hoop-la for International flights…you are re-screened again at your gate by the Lufthansa’s and KLM’s of the world! Because awon Oyinbo people, just don’t trust that our security people understand the importance of their jobs, and this to me is the most damning. Not the fact that our security can be breached by snakes and bombs, but the fact that there is a prevailing image that Nigerian workers can’t be trusted! And yet management doesn’t see this as a national crisis.

To be honest I doubt they ever will because management just does not get it. What they don’t get is that people judge a country by their first impression, and unless people are entering our country through spaceships or submarines, chances are that they are entering Nigeria through our airports.

So we have to ensure that we deliver a good first impression…but sadly we don’t and we don’t seem to care about the fact that we don’t.

nationallyJust last year when I was entering Nigeria, I was handed an immigration form. Ignoring the fact that the print quality on the immigration paper was not the greatest, I could not but help to notice that the word “NATIONALITY” had been misspelled “NATIONALLY.” That was August of 2012. Fast forward to January of 2013 and I am handed the same form with the words “NATIONALITY” misspelled again and in the exact same manner. Now I am sure people are saying what is the big deal?

It goes back to the conveyor belt mentality. Whoever was in charge of printing those cards and putting it on the plane was not aware of the importance of those cards in defining Nigeria’s image. To a foreigner, it shows that Nigeria as a nation is not focused on getting simple things right, and if a nation can’t get the simple things right such as the spelling on a legal document, how can they get the complex things right?

I am sure that millions of Nigerians (some even reading this article) have passed through that airport and seen the exact same error I am talking about and I am quite sure that a couple of them would have pointed this out to the customs officers. I am also sure that even before being notified of this glaring error that some customs officer had already noticed it and informed their bosses about it. I am also quite sure that when the cards were initially printed somebody saw the error and spoke up, but probably was told to shut up and just put the cards on the plane. 

But yet we all travel to other countries, we see the quality of their immigration cards but we can’t get the same quality on a simple piece of paper!

It all boils down to people not understanding the importance of doing a proper print job…I mean let’s gloss over the fact that the immigration card is an actual legal document similar to a passport, or gloss over the fact that if you or I publish a blog with typos that we would get more comments than a naked Rihanna instagram picture.

Let’s gloss over all that and instead focus on the key issue; you see the issue is not that we cannot fix the error on the paper but rather that we as a nation do not deem the problem important enough to warrant fixing. It is not that we cannot fix our roads or maintain them properly, but rather that we do not deem it important enough to do so. It is not that we cannot fix the entry terminals of our international airport so that it looks beautiful so that foreigners are impressed with our country, but rather that we do not deem it important enough to fix. It is not that our restaurants cannot provide the best in customer service, but rather that they don’t deem customer service important enough to be delivered.

This is and has always been the issue in Nigeria. It’s not our lack of capacity to do things, but that we don’t have people in charge that consider that things are important enough to be fixed. If only we had more people like the conveyor belt boy in power, then maybe, just maybe things will be a little better. 

Nigeria…the solutions are simple, but the excuses are plenty.

NOTE: It has been a year now and that card still exists with the incorrect spelling, let’s see how long it takes before someone realizes the problem is important enough to be fixed.

All pictures courtesy of


Ofili is an award winning minister of aviation motivational speaker, author, success coach and pilot entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on twitter , facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here.

He has written two books, How Laziness Saved My Life and the best-selling How Stupidity Saved My Life, to find out how they both saved his life visit his latest book is titled How Intelligence Kills Us and will be coming out in the first quarter of 2013 (he hopes). To read his books on your blackberry text “laziness” or “stupidity” to 33110 (only works for MTN for now).

Okechukwu Ofili is a trouble maker, the author of 4 books and speaks at organizations that are tired of hearing the same old stuff and want the truth. He is also the founder of and blogs daily at You can follow him on Twitter or stalk him on Instagram You can also read his funny books on konga or okadabooks


  1. Teris

    February 13, 2013 at 10:09 am

    this is the first of ur articles i have ever appreciated.
    in fact, i don’t think u emphasised quite enough how important the “little things” are and how they contribute to the whole. and how flagrantly we ignore these things, shrug it off with “you too oyibo”. well, clearly sthg about being “oyibo” seems to be working for the oyibo.

    value system. corruption. vision. practicality. solutions. kindness.

    see enh, it’s not that the words fail me, but rather the words are too many to condense into a concise paragraph.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Is ok Teris…I feel you. It took me weeks to write this article. Quite frustrating…quite…

  2. tinu

    February 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Well said…plain simple truth

  3. ClaireN

    February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I cannot tell you how much i agree with you. It’s even like you spoke from my heart. We cannot get the big things right if the little things are still messed up! It’s that simple. The corruption and negligence has eaten so deep into Nigeria that it is horrible. When i correct peoples’ spellings, diction etc, in 2013, people still call me “ITK”. Are we not in trouble? When customs officers ask you to pay custom duties on your personal effects and to “hide it in this paper, don’t let anyone see it”…, it’s just appalling. I am tired.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      I feel you so much….the small things will inevitably fix the big things.

  4. Retrochic

    February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Very,insightful, thats our major problem in our country, our poor maintenace culture, even the very recent Brt buses, are now an eyesore, this country needs serious prayers

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Serious prayers and serious action!

  5. nnenne

    February 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

    thought provoking. the truth in this article is so glaring and pathetic. mediocrity and “can’t be bothered attitude’ is really eating Nigeria and Nigerians up. we need to have a proper re-orientation and re-evaluate our value system. we need to start to start inculcating strong values in our homes, schools, churches and work places in order to get the big things right. by the way, i love Ofili already and his sense of humour is second to none. pls i’m single and ready to mingle Ofili if you don’t mind but that is if you are single too. *winks*…….

    • Amara

      February 13, 2013 at 11:40 am

      @nnenne,my dear,i also want him too o!so Okey,it’s up to u,take your pick,that is if you are single of course!*wink*.

    • nnenne

      February 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm


    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Dear Amara and Nnenne, please submit your resume to my address, make sure that you fold some crisp Naira note in your resume and use brown enevelope…the person with the most cash… #okbye

  6. Kanyinulia

    February 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Nigeria is one hell of a country. Apparently the person in charge of those cards would tell himself ”abegi na my papa own?” And what do you expect in a country where the government dont take care of the masses! That person u met at the other end is happy and enjoying his work cos his been taken care off and his country provides a lot to ease off stress. But here, u end up doing such jobs under duress.

    • ngozi

      February 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      This is an out of context reply sorry oh! I just noticed your name ( that’s my one of my many interests) it is so awesome! Do you care to share the story behind it? I know your arrival must have brought joy to a lot of people. God bless you.

  7. Funmi

    February 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Well said but are they going to change no they just can’t be burdened

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Only time will tell…it is a NATIONALLY[sic] crisis…

  8. anonymous

    February 13, 2013 at 11:31 am

    we know u’re thirty something…so why are you hiding your DOB.
    That said, i find ur write-up so apt, and trust me when i say Nigeria is gonna get better. i belong to the school of thought that come 2020, Nigeria is gonna become one of the most sought after countries in the world. My generation is gonna take over leadership soon and i know a few of them with the CAN-DO & positive mentality that will stir the country towards greatness and near perfection, trust me! Let’s keep hope alive…BTW, i’m also thirty something.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      People can steal your identity or open credit cards in your name if they have your date of birth. That’s why it is advisable not to list it on public websites and even private ones sef. And yes…our generation will do it.

    • Abiola

      February 14, 2013 at 9:43 am

      Well said, well said. It’s great that all of us can come here and say these things. Most people in our generation know exactly what the problem is……our attitude, our belief system, and our mentality. I’m tired of hearing people say “that’s the way it’s done” . It’s been almost 2 years since I moved back home, when I came back, I remember I had the can-do attitude, like oh yeah, I can and will change Nigeria. Sad to say, I’m slowly losing my zeal…….it’s going to take a revolution, plenty of sacrifice and sad to say, bloodshed for things to change. I was still telling someone yesterday, our unwillingness to try new ways or methods, is what is killing us.
      I know I have digressed, but I’m a very frustrated Nigerian.
      The question I actually wanted to ask is : What can we do?
      Talk is cheap, we need to start doing something………..

  9. missie

    February 13, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I’m tired… This country… I don’t know…

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      We know o….we know the solutions…we have to make it work.

    • Teris

      February 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      LOL! i feel like that exactly! – with every layer that i uncover in the name “but why, how?”

  10. Omolola

    February 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Sorry I’m being persnickety, but Ofili darl, you sef gbagauned. “It is not that we cannot fix the entry terminals of our international airport so that it looks beautiful so that foreigners are impressed when our country” – I think you wanted to write with our country. So you see, you are just a bloody Nigerian. Lol. I meant that light heartedly. You see, I was reading and I came across a sharp brain block. When our country ke, I had to go back and read that sentence again. Lol. You see the problem is called the Nigerian factor. About the airports, abeg expand your horizon o, you’ve obviously travelled to only major airports abroad. You fly to smaller ones, and you’ll be shocked at what you find. I had the misfortune of missing my flight from Charles de Gaulle. I was way outside Paris, so I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the airport on time. The closest airport to my location was Beauvais. Lord Jesus, I thought I was in Osun State, kilode. Ever landed at an airport where from the terminal to the plane is not up to a minute walk. I swear fear catch me when a plane was taxiing. I thought it was not going to stop, and it would go straight through the terminal. Facilities zero, security minus zero, attitude of the immigration officials, minus 100. They obviously have never seen a Nigerian Passport before, I mean ask Nigerians that travel if they have ever heard of Beauvais airport before outside of Paris. The airport in Adiyaman Turkey, you must pay £10 at the airport. It must be an exact £10 note, not coins, or two £5 notes. I was going for work, and my colleagues warned me, I thought it was a joke. You must place the £10 note inside your passport. No receipt o. It was a kind English man that changed a £20 note for me, and laughed. I asked for what, I was told, everyone who lands at that airport must pay. The secuirty checks on my way back home nko, minus zero. Anyone can walk from the terminal to the plane, no one will stop you. Dont let me start on the smaller airports in Italy and some other parts of Europe. Yes Murtala is a major aiport, but its peculiarities are common even in Europe and the US.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      We would correct the error. Also when we talk about Europe that we want Nigeria to aspire to we are not talking about Bulgaria or Turkey, we are talking about awon Germany and co. So because it happens in those countries is not grounds to accept it in Nigeria.

    • Omolola

      February 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      My comment was to point out that no country is perfect. We compare Nigeria to other countries too much, and that is already setting us up to fail. Imagine being a parent, and you keep telling one child, why can’t you just be like your brother, see your brother, does he have two heads. Please tell me when that method has ever worked. These countries took centuries to get where they are now. France is a 1st world nation, and Beauvais airport is a disgrace, yes disgrace, considering its not even that far out of the capital. Another funny airport is Innsbruck in Austria, yes Austria. Rome Fumicino airport reminds me of Ojuelegba, and that is Rome in Italy. Yes it is not the major Ciampino airport, but come on. I’m bringing examples of airports, because your piece is centered around airports. Yes Germany is a country that works, but after living there for one year, I could not wait to leave. Every nation has it’s good parts and it’s flaws, but unfair comparisons are not the way forward. The conveyor belt guy is most likely appropriately paid for his job. He goes home probably on a functioning public transport system, or he drives, I can bet, it is not as stressful as Lagos. He goes home, there is light, water, food, internet, he can stroll to Walmart, he can go see a movie, please ask the immigration official at Murtala what his living conditions are. I’m back to my comparison argument, see your brother, he got 90% in maths, do you have two heads. A lot of rich and middle class complainants (if that word exist), need to take a glimpse into how these people live, and tell me how you can expect better out of them. Look at the Police College expose. Please, please tell me how you can expect an efficient, morally upright, and dutiful Police officer to come from such surroundings. Before you just criticise the problem, open your eyes, and get to the root cause. I recently found out how much an entry level police officer gets paid in the UK, and I was amazed. We’ve all abused Police officers in one way or another, after that expose, I started seeing them differently, and in fact, I started seeing the things I complain about in Nigeria differently. It is easy to sit down in the comfort of your rich/middle class life and judge and complain. You are even better comparing Nigeria to struggling countries like Turkey or Bulgaria, than to jump the gun, and say Germany. That’s just ridiculous on so many levels.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      @Omolola even the rich in the senate are corrupt so I don’t see the poverty analogy.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      February 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      @ Omolola, that £10 payment in Turkey is pretty well known about and I’ll be shocked if you didnt get a visa stamp after you paid it because that’s what you were paying for – a 90 day visa. It is the mode of issuing entry clearances for that country and everyone pays that sum to get in, whether British, American, Nigerian, etc. It is also clearly stated on their website which clearly points to this being a formal immigration requirement. You should have reviewed the immigration rules before you arrived in the country.

      And I will also add this – it’s always £10 paid once for a service in return. It’s not £10 paid to the first immigration officer (for nothing) and then £50 when you reach their oga (just to get him to release your suitcases). It’s just £10 for a visa, short and simple and nothing goes under newspapers or into brown envelopes. Plus, have you seen the massive difference between their airports and ours? Isn’t that evidence that your tenner is being funnelled in the right direction? I’m not saying there isn’t corruption, etc, etc in any of these other lands far and away. I’m just saying that at least they’re getting things done while we’re still making excuses about how little time we’ve had since our white “massas” freed us in 1960. Keep it moving, Nigeria. It’s about damn time.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 14, 2013 at 6:35 am

      #gbam thank you jare for the clarification. Instead of finding solution some of us would be focusing on excuses. Thanks for the comment.

    • candyjay

      February 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      omotola switheart you are 100% correct! people compare Nigeria to other countries so much and it really infuriates me, you cant compare a 52 year old man to a man of 100 it stewpid! so comparing nigeria to germany or u.s is totally dumb and i know we are getting there soonest

  11. Amara

    February 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Ah,Okey,na so?!abeg,i take back my proposal joor!meanwhile,nnenne,i like the way you sound girl!u sound like someone i would like to be friends with.

    • nnenne

      February 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      awww. we can be friends infact we are friends already. are you in lag? how do we communicate? i don’t want to drop my number or email here.BN oya over to you, how can i get my number or email to Amara without making it public? Okey, thanks but no thanks. brown envelope ni, ghana must go ko!! looool

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

      Wow…see how I was removed from the equation =(

  12. Jiddah

    February 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I totally agree with you Ofili. If we all take our jobs really seriously. If we do the bit we are suppose to do. Just take a look at ants……..

  13. Berry Dakara

    February 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL @ Ofili’s responses to Nnenne and Amara!!!

    @ ClaireN: I agree with you. Left to me, and if someone would pay me, I’d go to every service establishment in Nigeria and correct errors on menus, product listings, forms, etc. Incorrect spellings and grammar irk the living daylights out of me!!!

  14. Okechukwu Ofili

    February 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    lol…na joke o

  15. tomeloma

    February 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    So on point, thumbs up Ofili

  16. bukky

    February 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    @ Omolola,really? Yes, every country has flaws but what has that got to do with Nigeria? Are we suppose to stall our progress and accept mediocrity because other countries are imperfect.If your child is failing in school would you say it is okay because other kids are failing? Nigeria has no business being in the state that it is.I mean, look at Murtala Mohammed Airport… a damn international airport!!!We are a rich country with so much to offer. Se na natural resources or manpower, we have it. Countries with less than a quarter of the resources Nigeria have forged ahead.We are just complacent, and we do not demand accountability.Till we all decide that enough is enough, the status quo will remain.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm


    • Bleed blue

      February 14, 2013 at 11:28 am


    • candyjay

      February 17, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      omotola switheart you are 100% correct! people compare Nigeria to other countries so much and it really infuriates me, you cant compare a 52 year old man to a man of 100 it stewpid! so comparing nigeria to germany or u.s is totally dumb and i know we are getting there soonest

  17. Rk

    February 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I just dnt get why anyone will compare a small regional airport in Europe with LOS or ABV, this are international airports in Nigeria,an airport isnt just for planes n travels its should represent a sense of place. Maybe Omolola should compare with CDG,LHR, DXB or Singapore Changi airport. Yes I am tired and annoyed, each time I go through any airport in 9ja, I have to prove that my law degree isn’t a waste…
    @Ofilispeaks.. This is a very good one from you n yes u followed me on twitter without asking…*smiles*

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks rk…I really do like your point. We need to elevate our thinking and expectations as a nation…not look for excuses all the time. Like I say and always say “Nigeria…the solutions are easy the excuses are plenty”

  18. themmy

    February 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    @ofili: ur writeup is spot on. @omolola: u don’t need to go far to get ur examples. Just compare MMA2 to MMIA; I daresay that the local airport is far better than MMIA or Nmamdi Azikwe Int’l Airport,Abuja. What is it that was implemented at MMA2 that can be adopted at the MMIA? For me, as long as MMA2 can be that neat, conducive and more, what stops us from upgrading the MMIA+staff? We have a long way to go to meet up to the airports elsewhere but that’s no reason to be so lackadaisical the outlook,maintainance and operations there. Methinks, it’s a case of ”abegi, shay na my papa build am ni?”

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Good point o. MMA2 is way better than the International airport. Way better…and the international airport is just too important to be looking like an eyesore.

  19. Tarry17

    February 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    @Ofili your article was just very very on point. How i wish i can put my thoughts into pen like your beautiful write up. Thumbs up guy, am glad you are part of my generation. Together we will use everything we’ve got to shape this nation of ours into the best we want it to be and be proud of her. Thank you bro, we love u

  20. Jo!

    February 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    biko, see connection on BN o, @Amara and Nnenne, on top man sef, hehehe

    Mr Ofili, “Hairspray”? *tsk tsk…* Anyway, I belong to Omolola’s school of thought, she has made a lot of sense. We do have a lot of issues, corruption being of course number one, but we are not the only ones with issues with our airports. I’m sure you’ve been to Dubai, and you must have experienced those turbaned guys in passport control. OMG! Those guys are ridiculously slow, and highly unprofessional, dragging their feet in their palm slippers (slippers at work o) and getting up and leaving their posts without excuse (not so common, but I”ve seen it) and they just have this general air of “I don’t care about you, I will freaking take my time and I WILL not be rushed”. And even though airport officials in other countries (outside Africa o, because they’re the same all over Africa) don’t ask you for money, they don’t always pay attention to the details either, and don’t always do their jobs so well too, like the guys in Munich who let me pass with my long knife-like metal nail file in my bag, I didn’t even realise it was there until I had boarded, what if I meant to stab someone with it? 😐 they didn’t see that, see, they weren’t paying attention.

    I mean I have a few good stories from our airport, like the time I left my phone at the airport and they sent it down to me, oh wait…that was in Accra. Well, how about the time … *sigh* I really can’t think of any good story with MM airport unfortunately. I know I’m trying to defend “us” blindly, but I mean, they can’t be all bad, can they? I’m sure some people have (a few) good stories, anyone…

    I think this sentence is laughable sha”if a nation can’t get the simple things right such as the spelling on a legal document, how can they get the complex things right?”. I’m sorry o, but how on earth does getting the spelling of “Nationality” right an issue, when our image all over the world is one of 419, BH and Govt corruption? biko, spelling is nothing jare

    *sigh*, I think I’m just tired of reading about how things are not working and trying to defend us, or maybe I’m just jobless… because I know it’s a hopeless, pointless discussion since it doesn’t matter how many comments I make, it changes nothing. or does it?

    I’m babbling mehn *yawns* I’m tired o, this day can like to end already…

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks again for your comments. Mucho appreciation…we are not always meant to agree with everything. But your point about the small things not being that important. I am an engineer by training and practice and what they always tell us, is that it is the small things that will kill us. And time and time again from experience it is always the small things that destroy an entire project. Same thing with a country, if you can’t get the local small government right, then you can’t get the state government right and you can’t get the Federal government right. You always have to get the small things right.

  21. Jo!

    February 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Wow! that was long sha :O

  22. Jo!

    February 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    wow! that was long o:o

  23. Jo!

    February 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Also, note that he was talking about the people o, not the airport, so, let’s first leave “dilapidated” out, that one is another discussion for another day.

    And also, I once waited over an hour for my luggage at the “almighty” Frankfurt airport, (I know, I know, it’s everywhere), but as awon almighty Germans, did not get that one right nko? I sha had to mention it :D. I’m still solidly on the other side of the line, blindly or not 😛

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 13, 2013 at 6:28 pm

      I have had to wait 2 days for my luggage in the Canadian airport. Nobody is perfect in execution, but you cannot use one off incidents to justify mediocrity. Also note that most of this airports awon Frankfurt, Amsterdam and George Bush are handling 30 times or more times the number of flights Nigerian international airport handles in a month. They have 20-30 baggage claims and we have 1-2, with such little traffic we should be killing on quality.

  24. Amara

    February 13, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Nnenne,unfortunately,I do not live in Lagos,and it’s a pity we can’t exchange our contact details on this forum.Oh well,at least u’r still my BellaNaija friend,abi?!looool!

  25. dangel

    February 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Sometime last year, it rained heavily in Lagos and on my way to work, I saw bent poles and poles that had fallen. I turned on the radio and there was a report about how a pole had fallen on someone and killed him. I got to lekki roundabout and saw how the NEW signposts had uprooted from the ground(emphasis on the word “uprooted”). Obviously, those signposts weren’t done properly. I was like “For the love of God what is wrong with some Nigerians”. If you are getting paid to do something, is it too much for you to do it right?? What if those sign posts had fallen and killed someone??
    Let’s not even go to customer service , I won’t even compare that with other countries (even as I’m tempted to do so) but no one can deny customer service in this country is an apology.
    I remember a traffic warden who died 2 yrs ago (i think). I’m sure he was paid the same amount his colleagues were paid but he did his job excellently well (he worked on the Island). He wore white gloves, smiled all through and made it look like he was having a blast. He did his job happily and well regardless of whatever his situation in life was.
    I know the country isn’t great and yes, there’s a lot to be angry about but just do your job and do it well. No one put a gun to your head to apply for the position. People not taking their job seriously enough that they miss the simplest things that matter are the ones slowly turning this country into a death trap.
    Even the policeman in the UK that we say is getting enough pay to do his job happily still has issues in his life and is probably not satisfied with their government or their economy yet he knows how important to others his job is.
    You have written well Ofili. I don’t care how many years it took other countries to achieve what they’ve achieved , I just want this country to be better. I’m doing my own bit abeg let others do their own.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 14, 2013 at 6:22 am

      dangel thanks for your comment…this hit the nail on the head for me ” I’m doing my own bit abeg let others do their own.”

  26. Tope

    February 13, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    To a point, I get what Omolola is saying. That Channels report, highlighted more than just the living conditions of the new Police recruits. Look at our government schools, please tell me how anyone expects anything good to come out from such environment. Look at our private schools in Nigeria, that we pay hefty fees for, what is the result. Dangel, the policeman paid well in the UK, has his own problems, but come on, is he going home to sleep in squalor, is he going home to put on I better pass my neighbour. Such things do a lot to your psyche. If your society has failed you, tell me why it should expect stellar services from you. You said they didn’t put a gun to their head, that is just middle class, I live in a bubble insensitivity. Mind you, I am not accepting mediocrity, I am just tired, I mean tired of such articles like this. It just smacks of complain, complain, complain. Ofili, you probably do well at your job, you got a good education, you came from a good home that instilled a lot in you, you work for a company that invested in your training, your home life too is I’m sure waaaaaaay above what the average man that do all these jobs that affect the smooth running of the country. Please compare the lifestyle of the lowly or not so skilled worker western world (airport frontline staff, bus drivers, cleaners, conveyor belt man etc) to the lifestyle of the one in Nigeria. It is not the politicians or the bankers or corporate types that “run” a country, it is those workers you don’t see, those who are not paid much, that do the grunt work, are those who are really the heroes of a functioning society. My father is in his late 70’s and he has good stories of how well things worked in the past, and one thing he always said was, suffering wasn’t this much then. You got a job, you were paid appropriately, and you lived well. You were proud of your civil service job, or whatever you did, there was dignity in labour. He told me how much he bought his first car, housing was affordable, food was affordable, the hospitals were functioning well etc, etc, etc. These people are a product of the environment. You give as good as you get. The phrase enabling environment means something. Before that Channels report, has anyone of us ever wondered why the Police are the way they are, we just hate them, write them off, insult, curse, all sorts. I will also cite the UK. Until recently, I always used the NHS, and gosh the hospitals in my area were disgusting, I mean disgusting, and was run badly. I spent two nights for a procedure, and someone threw up and for a whole day, that vomit was there, don’t let me mention blood spatters and faeces. The woman who came to mop, used the mop bucket FROM THE TOILET. Yes in the UK. I have friends who work in the NHS and they are understaffed, underpaid, overworked, on top how much. The population has expanded beyond what the service can provide for. A lot of NHS staff especially in busy areas are stressed and disillusioned. They just don’t care anymore, but at least they can leave the stress at work, and go home to a haven of basic utilities. You don’t leave work, and you are home facing another wahala. Double trouble. Anyone who lives in the UK, will be aware of the public enquiry going on. If you read some of the reports, you will be shocked, that in the UK such can happen. I switched to private recently, as it was a perk of my new job. Oluwa o, you would think I died and went to heaven. I was on admission and I never wanted to leave. This hospital was only 10mins away from my NHS hospital. In the same UK. Unlike Nigeria, they are now examining the work conditions, that has contributed to such decadence in the NHS. People are condemning all the practices that have led to patients dying in their thousands due to negligence. I can go on and on. So before we just sit in our castles and complain, how can we meet these people at their level, and champion the cause for things to work well. Otherwise, all this your English will not pass the prince and the princesses of the rich and middle class, who cannot effect any change. Abi is it you or me that will take up the jobs at immigration, or be the conveyor belt man or woman at Murtala

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 14, 2013 at 6:33 am

      @Tope and @Omolola, I hear what you guys are saying. But, you are focusing on the secondary side of the article. The primary side was the misspelling of the word “Nationality” how does poverty cause us not to be able to fix this spelling error?

      As I said we like to give plenty excuses, that’s why all the 3 people with excuses are writing long essays. But that’s just my opinion. Let’s stop spending time looking for excuses and look for solutions…Nigeria…the solutions are easy…the excuses are plenty.

  27. Peace

    February 14, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Great article, very well written. Raised a very good point – the lack of quality control at Nigeria’s International airport. I think it is a very big deal that the word Nationality was misspelled and has gone uncorrected for so long. Speaks volumes. I think Ofili’s point is that this is an INTERNATIONAL airport – he (and other travellers) expect International standards, regardless of what goes on other poorly regulated industries in other countries (first world or third world).

    Whilst it might be an indication that the officials are poorly paid, it is also an indication of an even bigger problem – poor or non-existent management.

  28. NNENNE

    February 14, 2013 at 1:49 am

    We see these things in other countries and enjoy them yet we cannot at least begin to fix our system. Even our heads of state will stay in another man’ s country to launch a foundation.Why not? At least they have steady light, clean streets and good roads.
    Yes! Rome was not built in a day, but we can BEGIN from somewhere. The rest rooms in those Airports ? A story for another day! Could they be leased to private people to run,or may be they can use vending machines to sell toilet papers. That would be more decent than what we have now.

    • Okechukwu Ofili

      February 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Abi o…they have started charing N20 to shit in Shoprite in Yaba…the toilets there are clean and there is tissue paper. Maybe we need toilet tax too…but whatever the case we need something.

  29. DC Liquidators

    July 31, 2013 at 11:39 am

    I applaud the conveyor belt guy. It is a simple job but if done properly becomes the most amazing job in the world.

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