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Chris Okotie Writes about the NIS Recruitment Stampede

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Chris Okotie - December 2013 - BellaNaija 01

Pastor Chris Okotie of Household of God International Ministries posted this an article on his official Facebook page on the tragic stampede at the Nigeria Immigration Service recruitment.

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The big news this week was the inauguration of the National Conference, but the deaths of more than 16 young applicants who died in Abuja and other venues, during the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS recruitment exercise, overshadowed it. This tragedy mirrors the desperate situation of Nigeria.

One only hopes that this unfortunate loss of lives, coupled with the incessant Boko Haram killings and other youth-based violence, would serve as a wake-up call to the summiteers, that this country needs a new governance paradigm. If the conference cannot produce that, then the over N7 billion invested in it would amount to another colossal waste of our scarce national resources.

It is an irony that each delegate would earn a whopping N12 million for the 3-month duration of the conference. By conservative estimates, N12 million is enough to provide self-employment for 12 resourceful graduates, and N7 billion could do likewise for thousands, some of whom perished under chaotic conditions in stadia around the country, while waiting for a poorly organised aptitude test by the NIS. The young graduate job-seekers who turned out for the tests filled up many stadia around the country, as if they came to watch high-profile football matches.

These hapless chaps paid N1,000.00 (One Thousand Naira) processing fee each. So, the Nigerian Immigration Service must have made quite some money, considering that in Lagos and Abuja alone, over 125,000 applicants turned up. We may be looking at millions of Naira that this monetised recruitment exercise generated for the NIS. There was record turnout in each of the 34 states for just 45,000 slots that the NIS advertised. The alarming job application horror is a clear evidence of the inability of our public institutions to manage events, resulting in poor crowd control and avoidable deaths through stampede. This is not an isolated case, it is a regular occurrence.

When things go wrong, our leaders seldom take responsibility. The NIS has tried to duck charges of culpability, by claiming that it outsourced the recruitment exercise to a private firm which actually collected the N1,000.00 levy. As usual, a panel would be setup to investigate this incident, followed by a white paper, and then, the report may end up gathering dust in a cabinet somewhere in Abuja, while government officials focus on the more important 2015 general elections in a country where competition for political power is about resource control, not the promotion of the general good of the people.

The fact that four expectant mothers died in this incident, with about 700 others reportedly injured, is enough reason why those who organised this event should not escape appropriate sanctions. Unfortunately, the Jonathan Administration is not known to punish errant public officials, although the NIS boss and the Internal Affairs Minister have been queried. In other countries where human life is valued, the President should compensate the victims and, more importantly, prevent a future re-occurrence. But the Federal Government has other priorities.

For me, and also for the FRESH Democratic Party, which I lead, nothing else matters in our quest for a functional, self-accounting and representative democracy, than a fundamental change of the prevailing order which is responsible for our national predicament. It should be reasonably assumed that delegates to the conference would know this, but I have my fears.

Many commentators have observed that the composition of the delegates to this National Conference is skewed in favour of the old politicians, and some of those who ran this country aground. How can we expect any meaningful change from this set of people? 20th century ideas cannot solve 21st century problems. If you look critically, the composition of the participants in this conference reflects the geriatric propensity of our polity.

All the progressive nations of the world, especially those who have graduated from under-development to emerging markets, are being governed today by new sets of leaders, whose orientation reflects the new world order, and are thus able to successfully confront the challenges they encounter in their respective nations.

As this NIS recruitment tragedy shows, our meal ticket educational system is not designed to drive industrial development or produce resourceful, self-employed folks who can create opportunities, rather depend on employment. The belated introduction of entrepreneur studies in the newly remoulded college curricula is like putting the cart before the horse. While vocational studies have been introduced, there are no teachers to instruct carpenters, electricians etc.

I have long been advocating a shift in the paradigm of our educational sector, which should be anchored on Human Capital Development. Science subjects are foundation of technology. If I were the President, this would be the mantra that would drive my reform agenda because without a solid, qualitative, continuous stream of local production of graduates in the technical, or science-related courses, our dream of industrial revolution as recently articulated in a widely publicised launch by Mr. President, would be a mirage.

The secret of Asia industrial miracle is that, leaders of that continent sent their students to Europe and America. The returning Asian students, who went to learn the technological wizardry of the West, laid the foundation of the technological revolution that produced the Tigers, who now threaten the scientific dominance of Europe and America. This is a model we could learn from.

6 Comments

  1. farvoured

    March 21, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I concur to this..we cant have leaders with 2o th century minds solve problems of 21st century.This politics of rice and beans is long gone.Wherein during elections .politicians give tee shirts ,rice and money in exchange for votes. Thank God the African youth has a resilience to forge ahead in spite of the many challenges surrounding us.How can young people die ,just for wanting to sit for an exam ,they weren`t sure of passing or even getting the job.How can they become the leaders of tomorrow when they cant even eat today?

    • mrs chidukane

      March 21, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      They are not expected to become the leaders of tomorrow. That is left for our politicians kids who are being groomed abroad to return and takeover. Its already happening in some states. Can’t you see that is why the poor state of our higher institutions don’t bother these people? It’s even a bonus so when their kids , most of which are not very bright anyway ,come back they won’t have much competition. The only way out I see is if Nigerians take to the streets and this will not happen because of the trigger happy nature of the Army and Police.They will just shoot everyone dead forgetting that if Nigeria gets better they too will benefit. Also because they don’t know any other way of keeping peace except killing people

  2. Myne Whitman

    March 21, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Not bad, but it left a sour taste that he castigates the FG of being distracted by election concerns, and then two paragraphs down, he’s pushing his own political agenda. Can we just mourn those that died without some wannabe politician making it about themselves?

  3. MOTHER'S DAUGHTER

    March 22, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I blame the youths and I pity this our generation because our children will blame us for leaving things like this. during them obj youthful age there were jobs, they fought for their generation. that’s why you cant compare our generation to theirs. In tiwan students in the country are protesting due to a law that was implemented and its not favourable to them. they have been sitting in the Government parliament of days. How many young Nigerians can do that? Hope it wont be late before we realise. All these politicians don’t have our time because they are not in our generation.

  4. FA

    March 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    But if it’s democracy and free country, anybody is free to say whatever they like and it’s up to the people to buy into it. We should avoid antagonizing one another on the issues where all should be forging together to move forward in our hell country.

  5. FA

    March 22, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Frankly speaking, you’re almost there on the points and issues bothering in the Nigeria Society. The points is lots of younger generation are so gullible and complacency and looking for dubious way to get to the top, hence lack of focus efforts. Sitting everyday and complaining instead of bound together and started asking question’s and be ready to go to any extent possible to get their sanity back, knowing fully well that we don’t have any other country but Nigeria only…we need to start taking it to those who are continuing perpetuate themselves in the power/system without any positive impact in the society. Gather yourself at the square all over the country and refuse to go home because there is no home to go to anyway..let them shoot at u the world is looking at everything for how many are going to be killed before the whole world rise up in support of the cause. Everybody in the world knows that almost every Nigeria leaders are corrupts but you have to stand up and fight your own fight…if u don’t no one else will do it for you. Nigeria is a great country potentially but some people and the so called leadership are raping the Country everyday. Forget about ethnics tendency, come together as one people with force to face the devilish monster that has been working for generations against our people interest, we don’t need to be running to another Man’s land to realized our destiny it’s right there in the home front. Having so much to dispense but Cheers for now.

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