By Roundoffnews

Prophet James Omitade of the Holy Trinity Authority Prophetic Church, Ikere Road Ado Ekiti writes from Ado Ekiti


     I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal, and honest. To serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity, and uphold her honour and glory. So help me God.
     Going through the country’s national pledge word for word and underlining the main crux of this covenanted prayer, one is confused if truly the ethos of the pledge bear any relevance to the citizens. Needless here to begin to define the core words with their dictionary meanings. However, it will be necessary to relate our past with contemporary realities. A famous writer and thespian described Nigerians as a wasted generation about three and a half decades ago. The nobel Laurette, Wole Soyinka was castigated on all sides. The then government released several rebuttals through public lectures, seminars, conferences and quick fitted interviews to counter this assertion. Really, he saw through time!.

     A friend once told me how happy he was outside the country the day someone addressed him as a NIGERIAN. He said he looked around him to ascertain if the speaker was addressing someone else. I asked him why he was gleefully elated. His reply was that he was never even for once made to feel he is a Nigerian at home. Ironically, this fellow has mouthed the National pledge tens of time and can sing the national anthem’s two stanzas by hand if you wake him from sleep. Who is to blame? Nobody should call himself a good farmer while tilling and harrowing his estate. He could not even be so addressed while planting or gleaning. He becomes a good and proud farmer only when he begins to reap bumper harvest.
     Today marks yet another milestone in the Global labour calendar. However, experts world over have complained about high rate of unemployment. This bug is not only developing countries’ headache as it is equally worrisome in the developed world where underemployment is almost soaring at par with employment. In the developing countries for example Nigeria, the labour chart is topped by mainly by very few people in the labour market with several “over qualified” graduates as appendages or underemployment. The average unemployment rate is more than thirty five (35%) percent of the employable population. As worrisome as it is in the twenty first (21st) century, brain drain has taken over perhaps to reduce the burden of survival on the sole bread winner who is likely to be a widow, pensioner, tired but yet to retire artisan, etc.
     My main concern at the moment is the attitude of the lucky few Nigerians who are gainfully employed. Think about a man, who after university goes for a second degree and on his return, finds that the labour market has even become more saturated than when he graduated. He jumped on a vocation but ended up having no capital to set up his business. Someone finally advised him to meet the Youth chairman in the church who helped him to secure one KEKE NAPEP at least to eke out a living. This is the story of millions of graduates (male and female) in Nigeria. If you asked how fulfilled they are on a scale of 10, I doubt if anyone will reach 5!. The case will not be the same with a gainfully employed colleague in the civil service, banking sector, oil sector, military and para – military, etc.
     The reason I have gone this far before assessing the National pledge vis a vis Nigerian workers is to see to what extent the ‘lucky few’ have lived up to the spirit of the covenant. Several years which we have spent in the past are mainly for agitation for better working conditions, wage increase, and other demands government may deem unrealistic. To what extent do workers keep faith with the country? How loyal, dutiful and honest are they in service? There was a time we heard about SERVICOM. Recent experience shows that it went away with the government that started it. Several lives have been ruined by the slothfulness of civil servants just because they are in haste to close by 3:30pm instead of 4:00pm. Espirit de corps is not only in the military or paramilitary service. It is also in the civil service. Everybody knows Fridays are optional days for work! Whereas Muslims come to work diligently on this day before going for Jumat prayers. Anybody who loves you will advise you not to come to government offices on Friday it’s either you don’t meet the officer in charge on seat or they can only attend to such matters between Mondays and Wednesdays.
     Talk about graft, greed and avarice, it is a stock in trade in the work places. Dishonesty of different strands. Public officers and civli servant corner the best scholarships for their children. It is understood that the best employment opportunities are reserved for the children of the top officers in the labour market ( Interview may not be necessary). They pledged to serve Nigeria with all their strength, it is an empty vow full of ‘sounds and fury signifying nothing’. They all have two or three businesses they run simultaneously with paid public/civil service work. Medical doctors have their private hospitals where they ‘divert clients – no, patients to, from government hospitals. Most seminars home and abroad attended by Agricultural officers are not for the purpose of government non existent plantations but their own fish ponds, poultries, farm estates, etc. Government officials are never represented on oversea trips except local seminars by subordinates. Why?. They need to garner estacodes at all costs. When they come back and their wives ( for some it’s mistresses) greet them, they reply by saying ” I hope Nigeria will not kill me”.
     Ask yourself wherever you are, is there diligence resilience, dedication and devotion in the civil service?. In the corporate world, the rules of the game remain strict and tough. It is believed slackness on one end can spell a doom for the whole organisation. Hail an average Nigerian for his fortune at clinching such a good job. His reply will shock you. Instead of appreciating you or thanking you or thanking God, he will tell you there’s nothing in that place (his place of work). It is you people outside that think big about the place. Ask him further about his resentment to the organisation. He will tell you there’s no way one can do business (side ways pilfering) in the place despite the fact that he spends 12hours daily and 24/7. The plain language is that no room for stealing the way others can do elsewhere! Yet he wants to “uphold her honour and glory”.
     It is high time Nigerian workers realised that whenever you are opportuned to secure gainful employment is your own part of Nigeria where your pledge goes. Just look at the ants, a little here and there, the whole work is done. They run an empire no other creature can intrude except man yet, they are the tiniest of all “God’s creatures. My Bible in Ecclesiastes 9:10 says “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there’s no work nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest”. For once let the labour union demand for probity amongst their ranks and file. Let them charge them for better performance in their services to Nigerians. Let’s have a May Day that instead of government officials and other employers asking for more cooperation and devotion from the workforce, it is the workers that are charging their members to live up to expectations. Away with bigotry and mediocrity.
     Let me advise Nigerian workers wherever you are in both formal and informal sectors, for every table and chair each of you occupies, wherever the office may be, we have more than three hundred and fifty (350) eligible applicants roaming the streets, sleeping at home, driving a cab, Keke Napep, Okada or interstate bus shuttle who can do the job better. Your job protects you, you too should protect your job and keep devilish vulnerability at bay. By the time you finish your years, you will have full satisfaction that you have really done your best without any regret and your children will prosper because of your stewardship to God, others, Nigeria and the entirety of mankind.
     Let the lords spiritual who mentor people in the churches and mosques preach messages that demand for good accountability, devotion, dedication, honestly, loyalty and diligence to their congregation. Never mind those who will leave. Little drops of water make the ocean. It shows you are mending Nigeria in your own part of the world just to make the National pledge meaningful and realistic.God bless all the workforce in our dear country Nigeria with more wisdom, new innovative ideas and sound mind,in Jesus Christ name, Amen, happy workers Day,Shalom!!!