by Tahir Sherriff
A Nigerian simply needs to learn a few tricks to ensure a sustainable career as an ideal Nigerian civil servant. Captured in three words, this simply means he has to be Docile, Obedient, and Treacherous.
The ideal civil servant is one who takes no pleasure in works of charity or national development, who must see the immediate gain in every action, who isn’t sitting on his seat wearing a crown adorned by abstract values of God, Nationality or Conscience.
The ideal Nigerian civil servant is one who is quick to transfer blame, skilful at deflecting responsibility and graceful at parading his woes with embellishments. The ideal civil servant is not corrupt, since corruption is the order; the ideal civil servant is simply morally insane.
For beyond moral insanity, what else would better describe a man who works for the people five days a week, four weeks a month, and fifty-two weeks a year at achieves nothing for the people? What else would describe an organization charged with the same duty as five others and reach no results? What other conclusion may be reached in describing such machinery which sucks up the lifeblood of Nigeria and Nigerians and produces not a shred of action. How does one describe a Ministry of Technology without a single problem solving technology charged to its name? Or a Ministry of Education whose functional arms are currently rendered helpless by union activities like a child wrought with epilepsy.
In truth, no other individual can be charged with the magnificence of creating such vile machinery except the genius that is the ‘Nigerian Civil Servant’. Only Nigerians can claim such a feat. Only in a country such as this can these towers of Babel exist. Ministry with dozens of parasitic arms who do nothing but take their share of the annual cake, directors who merely shuffle papers and spend the rest of their time in foreign countries, and staffs who spend half of their work hour watching soap operas, yet lying to themselves about the importance of their work.
In self-denial as to the crucial nature of their contributions and wearing an aura of those charged with the aim of ensuring sustainable development. The ideal Nigerian civil servant is one who is simply lacking in creativity and lives as an ally to an endless network of self-interest seeking individuals denying their contribution to the nation’s woes.
Men, and women, and children who lie to themselves each day, about their efforts, about their contributions, about the state of the economy, about development. While they drive home through the endless hordes and thickened mass of hopeless people.
What more could describe the lot who each day reduce the number of natural resources in the country and improve none? Who ensure the death of entrepreneurs, who refuse to consider alternative solutions to their problems? Who train themselves to only function in Nigeria and Nigeria alone? I see no other explanation beyond moral insanity.
Worse still, the desire to join this vile machinery grows thicker each day. Thousands of people now envy the ‘pay-without-work’ life of civil servants nation-wide. Youths have begun to abandon dreams of enterprise, of contribution, as well as relevance, and replaced them with plush living, with official cars and the limitless chain of fringe benefits which follow.
Like a recurring theme in some demonic symphony, the Nigerian civil servant is an ideal which has become greatly sought after. A lifestyle of rest and relaxation, with health benefits, financial allowances, shorter work hours and 13th year benefits. With pension guarantees, chop-i-chop arrangements, family succession, loans and self-awarded contracts.
The ideal Nigerian civil servant is the ideal Nigerian problem, the sum total of all her woes, the cancer that slowly but surely eats her up each and every day. The civil service is in dire need of a restructuring. A reshaping of its ideals, a transition, or more importantly re-birth. That is of course, if the civil servant even allows it.