Nigeria and the burden of empirical evidence

My taxi driver is a teacher. I ended up in his car because the car I was in previously broke down.

We were in a remote area, all I could see was jungle. He suggested to call his friend so to get a mechanic from Ado Ekiti to help.

Nothing my driver said makes any sense – only good enough to highlight desperation of Nigerians who really wanted to earn their living but are against bigger odds.

Against my best judgement I paid him, just so I would not have to think about him ever – “Go away with your wahala” I told him.

Thankfully, my new taxi driver was going to Efon Alaaye, and agreed to take me all the way to Ife.

“Do you do this often, using your car for commercial passengers?” I asked taxi driver.

Only on occasions for his church programs as he rarely has time.

Taxi driver enjoys teaching Biology, has been working for 5 years and happy. The only problem was when government don’t pay.

“So you guys are owed salaries too?” I asked.

Teachers are owed 2 months salary by the previous administration. Fayose paid a month and a month outstanding.

Fayose refused to pay the outstanding amount as he argues it was not his administration that owed staff.

My taxi driver displayed the typical mindset of Nigerians. Most people do not want trouble, they only would liked to be paid for work done.

So back in Osun. A friend and I met up. She has not been to work for a week. Actually, since the beginning of the year, she goes to office when she feels like it. Her last salary was November last year so was not keen on travelling daily to a job that refused to pay.

“But you will eventually get paid, abi?” I asked. “Every last kobo” My friend says.

My friend was in a good situation because her husband has a job the whole family could fall back on.

She works at the local government central office and can not be fired for not showing up as her father is a politician. So eventually, she will get paid for all the days she neither worked nor showed up.

Not everyone is as lucky, many people must trudge to their offices daily to take register,  since morale is low, little or no tasks get done – all blaming it on unpaid salaries.

A lady from Ogun state government I chatted with online says “But there is no money to pay staff.”

I responded that was the most insane excuse ever. Why would you keep people at work if there was no money to pay? How do you suppose they’ll survive?

Owing workers salaries will make absolutely no sense, not in the least but to Nigerians, this has always been a big issue.

It is the same story from medical staff, teachers to civil servants all over the country.

The same government has enough money for the most elaborate elections campaign ever with all parties turning out on campaign trail Owambe style. The same government borrowed obsene amount of money for private jets and accessories that many Western politicians could never afford to own.

Statistics will help us a great deal to get the sense of how deep corruption has been running in this country for the last 20 years, however, how about first of all making all public offices from all parties provide financial statements showing clearly revenues and expenditures. If you can’t, then you are corrupt until proving innocence.

That will be a good start.