I am a frustrated Nigerian and it is worth celebrating.
You are lucky when your portion is only frustration in a country that devours its own and serves them delightfully and gleefully to the birds of the air. Here vultures feed on humans under the delibrate supervision and deft instructions of men and women, who are saddled with the responsibility of preserving their souls. If you call it betrayal of trust, please clap for yourself.
In Nigeria there is neither path nor process to anything worth doing. Even to madness, some people have argued that there must be method. But this land defies any logic of diagnosis in the books of how humans and Institutions should conduct themselves. Principles are dwarfed in our bottomless ocean of anomalies.
Here institutions exist to do contrary to the purpose of their existence and that is the key to their celebration and conferment of accolades.
January, 2021, my wife and I began the journey to obtain our certificates and transcripts from our Alma mater, having attended the same university.
We were blessed with a kind-hearted man to assist us in the process and he threw himself into helping us to achieve the same without collecting a dime from us. With men like him, I find hope in Nigerians, not necessarily Nigeria.
As much as I am a conscious Nigerian, nothing prepared me for the multiple levels of bizarre and shocking conditions to obtaining certificates and transcripts.
There are administrative bottlenecks, which have no respect for justice and fairness stoutly erected on path to lead you to a dead end.
First, we produced our signed and sealed clearance documents which is a proof of the fact that we have performed all of our obligations to the school and produced further evidence like receipts of payment of school fees.
That was not going to be enough. The school does not have record of our payments of fees while we were students and the judgment of the school is that we must suffer the double jeopardy of paying the school fees all over again. We did.
Other fees include a fine for not collecting your certificate in your first five years after graduation, alumni fees and others. Here, innovative is in full gear to officialise and legitimise extortion and they are receipted for.
Payment done early February. By February 5, 2021 The Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had proceeded on a strike action to protest non-payment of arrears of salaries. The entire process was on hold for like four weeks.
Upon the calling off of the strike and our shouting uhuru (not Kenyatta), the electricity of the university was cut off due to non-payment of electricity bills of N29m. Our saga continued and the crisis, which paralysed the entire operations of the university lingered for over 6 weeks.
‘Nepaaa!!!’ we shouted like we did growing up, when the news came that the electricity crisis has been resolved.
I think 3 weeks after or thereabouts, my transcript was ready in June, 2021. My wife’s was ready in early August and the personal copy requested is yet to be delivered till date.
I requested and paid for 2 transcripts and certificates, namely, Diploma in Law and Beachelor of Law. I got one certificate and one transcript. The records of my Diploma in Law, completed in 1992 cannot be found. Like a dove, they have developed wings.
Early August I was informed that our certificates were ready. I live in Magodo GRA Phase 2 and I had to proceed to the other side of town where the university is located. It was not an easy journey, I must say. I was armed with all the documents I was asked to bring to collect my wife’s certificate on her behalf. Letter of authorisation, data page of her passport, wedding certificate, family album, showing us together as husband and wife.
Then, the unexpected, ‘you cannot collect for your wife. You will go to the registrar’s office and apply. The registrar will minute on your application to 2 offices equesting to be advised if your application should be granted. Upon the recommendation of the offices, your application will go back to the registrar’s office, where it will be approved and sent back to us.’
I did not believe what I was hearing, yet it was neither a dream nor a fiction. This is Nigeria wonder. It is the commitment of the Nigerian state to make life not only difficult but miserable for its inhabitants. Here, the best man does not win. He loses all to the primitiveness of the state. What about the foolish? They win by being part of the Nigerian ruining class or by their association with them by way of blood, tribe or selling their conscience and taking an oath of an unalloyed commitment to grovelling sycophancy.
Long story short, I was asked to pay for soft copy to be sent. I was told the payment was for the internet service needed to send the certificate. Upon payment into the university’s account and returning with my receipt, I was told the internet service was not working. I checked if I could oblige them the use of my phone as hotspot, the service was poor. The waiting continued. I would not leave until my wife confirmed the receipt of the soft copy. Finally, a messiah showed up. A person who wanted her certificate sent surendered the use of her modem for use. Certificate sent and I collected mine and left.
I left thoroughly exausted and frustrated, yet, determined that I must continue to contribute my quota to dismantle this unjust contraption called Nigeria.
As I returned to base, I thought to myself that all I have narrated here is still a big man problem. What about millions living in ultra poverty, dehumanised and denied of their humanity as they lack access to basic needs of life like food, healthcare, shelter, education, security? What about the killed and the displaced? What about unemployed and the unemployable?
You see, it seems to me that the contraption, coupled together since 1914 is not working for anybody except the members of the running class and their neocolonial masters and must be renegotiated. Or is Nigeria working for you?
I am ONIWASU Taiwo AKINLAM
Office of the Frustrated Nigerian