President Yar'Adua, Please Stop The Nonsense 

As a matter of principle, we know that nobody is indispensable, hence there has to be continuity on a daily basis in all aspects of human activities. Be that as it may, the way and manner we interpret the right to hire and fire on jobs and the sordid style by which political appointees are relieved of their offices is incongruous. When a Minister is watching 9.00pm news with his family, chances are that he could be dosing-off intermittently. It becomes absurd when his child taps on him and say, daddy, I heard your name in the news. Lo and behold, the man gets to know that he has been removed from office. What a callous and stupid way of doing things. Every human being, including Nigerians deserves to be treated with some respect. Even from management's perception, the present style of removing Nigerians from offices through the media before the recipient is notified is ignominious. If Nigerians would be treated abroad with disrespect, they must be treated at home with respect. 

If corruption is a concern to all Nigerians, then some of the foundations of which uncertainty is one of them must be examined and dealt with. This way, a fraction of the corrupt element would have been taken care of. An example of uncertainty here is when a Minister is relieved of his office and he/she gets this notice for the first time during 9.00pm network news. What an insult to human dignity. Why would the affected person not be properly notified before the media flashes it? This style of management is a cowardly and inane act introduced by the military juntas to intimidate civilians who served under them in order to ensure their absolute loyalty/boot leaking to their massive corruption. This style of administration is repugnant by all standards and is one of the factors that breed venality in Nigerian society. Insecurity in offices, whether political appointees, or career jobs is one reason why productivity nation-wide is low. When a person is not secured, there is the tendency to want to steal because the future on that job is bleak. If a person commits an offence, the offender should be given a chance to defend himself under due process, and cogent reason(s) must be adduce for his removal from office. 

The recent matter concerning Mallam Ribadu, EFCC chairman is a good example. Whereas the media loudly quoted Ribadu as saying that he (Ribadu) was not notified on his study leave, Mike Okiro, Inspector General of Police, (IGP) had organized a press conference on the matter. In other words, Ribadu may have known of his study leave through the media. Decorum dictates that the President excoriates this practice from the Federal level to the local councils. What was wrong with making Ribadu acknowledge receipt of the study leave letter before the IGP's press conference; or this was the management style the IGP was thought in the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru. Though management has evolved over time due to modern materials and technology, it has never been a difficult aspect of human existence. In the early churches and ancient army where human first used management tactics, it was easy because the leaders then applied simple common sense. So it baffles anyone when in this jet age, the henchmen in Nigeria still commit cruel blunders of this nature. There is nothing wrong with cabinet reshuffle which is at Mr. President's beck-and-call. However, this writer opines that proper notice should first be served to those affected before the media announces it. The present uncivilized way of doing things has another nasty side effect. There are evil people all over the world including Nigeria. Out of envy, or for some devilish reason(s), these evil people can fabricate lies against a perfect serving Minister and without verification from the supposedly offender, Presidency can sack him through the media. But if the Minister was notified of his offense, obviously the lies could be unraveled. Mr. President, better believe that, at any point in time, only few of your Ministers would do the right job to uplift Nigeria. Therefore, it would be a disaster to remove any of those few in error. 

Closely related to this human capital in Nigeria is the issue of contract job. Contract job is malevolent to Nigeria's economy and must be annihilated. President Yar'Adua has the prerogative to stop this nonsense immediately after maybe a terse statement to the Federal Executive Council in year 2008. Indeed, it does not really matter if this is called an executive fiat because it has nothing to do with the National Assembly, or the international law, but has everything to do with the dignity of Nigerians. Nigerians are no slaves that should be used and dumped at will by employers of labor. If the union leaders are ignorant of their responsibilities, Mr. President took an oath to protect Nigerians from humiliation. 

Nigerian society is not ripe for contract job. In countries like America and their brothers in Europe from where the terminology, "contract job", was borrowed, their system has welfare services to its citizens. Suffice it to say that until Nigeria develops to that stage, contract jobs should be stopped forthwith. Companies need to be scrupulous with the labor market in Nigeria. It's not a surprise that the military of the later 80s were never solicitous to this nonsense, and so were not oblivious to the damages done to the economy and Nigerians. Nigerians have been relegated to the background because her labor leaders are ignorant of the facts. In America for example, if a permanent position offers $10 per hour, the contract job for that same position pays at least $12 per hour because the contract job person is not entitled to any form of company benefits. In Nigeria, the contract position pays maybe $6 per hour versus the $10 per hour for the permanent position. Be that as it may, this writer is soliciting for President Yar'Adua to please stop this nonsense. 

Mr. President, with your education and exposure, Nigerians should not be treated in this heartless manner under your watch. It is therefore apropos to please take this intrepid step to correct this labor anomaly. Your immediate intervention will buoy Nigerians in the year 2008. Indeed, this is another area of uncertainty Nigerians have been putting up with for decades. Mr. President, kindly see that the implementation to scrap contract job is one of your new year resolutions and put a stop to the nonsense. There is really nothing to make you timorous in doing this before the end of the first quarter in year 2008. 

Happy New Year.

Tosan Okotie lives in Texas, United States

December 31, 2007.