31 August 2012

The Whys of Nigeria - Part 2

In the 17 February 2010 edition of this blog, I published Part 1 of 'The Whys of Nigeria', here is Part 2: 

7. Why do most organisations charge a fee for application forms – About two years ago, I received a telephone call regarding a course we were about to run, the enquirer wanted to find out the cost of the application form as he already knew the cost of the programme. I told him the forms were free. I later realised that most people charge for application forms – government agencies, the army, private companies. It appears that this is considered a means of making a tidy sum. 

The one that irked me was a recent drive by the Imo State Government to employ 10,000 of its citizens in the Civil Service. This was heavily publicised – typically with a picture of the then Governor, Ikedi Ohakim – as a strategy of the government to reduce unemployment. The only catch is that each ‘unemployed’ applicant must pay 2000 Naira to obtain the form. Apart from the evil of charging poor unemployed people; like everything in Nigeria, this exercise will probably be 20 times oversubscribed.  You do the maths!

8. Why do educated, high-powered adults celebrate birthdays as if they are children – I initially thought that this was an issue common to a few people until I realised that it was a pandemic. Open a newspaper any day, you will probably see staring at you a purposely issued photograph of a politician, industrialist, militant, civil servant, or housewife hosting a week-long bash to celebrate their 54th, 62nd or 44th birthday. What is more hilarious is that the congratulatory adverts are usually placed by ‘committee of friends’, spouse, work subordinates and sometimes banks – who just happen to use the same choice of words - which gets you thinking…. My hypothesis is that the person celebrating sometimes pay for some of these adverts.

9. Why do we think we must throw obscenely large parties – I have no qualms with the way ‘moneyed’ people choose to spend their money including throwing large parties. What I don’t understand is why a person struggling to make ends meet is expected or believes he should put up a wedding, christening or burial event similar to what a wealthy person does.

10. Why aso-ebi for non-family members - Aso-ebi literally means ‘family uniform.’  In the past, only family members wear aso-ebi at funerals, it somehow out-flowed into weddings and now it is worn at birthdays and any other commemorations. No week goes by without an invitation to buy aso-ebi with someone you have no family ties. What is more, the celebrant charges a premium fee on top of the purchase price, and for the privilege, you are rewarded with pitiful, Chinese-made freebies that will almost certainly clog your kitchen, bathroom or the bin. PostcardfromLagos