It is not uncommon or extraordinary to see someone don the T-shirt captioned ‘my oga at the top’ today. The unfortunate incident which happened between a top NSCDC commandant, Mr. Shem, and the presenters of Sunrise Daily, a channels Television breakfast show, has been given diverse interpretations by Nigerians. To some, it is a ‘national insult’ for a top level commandant not to know the website of his organization. To others, it is a brazen attempt to avoid honesty. Yet to others, it is a parody on the state of the Nigerian defence sector.
I cannot but be predisposedly inclined towards the latter and rather rational school of thought on the issue. A proper appreciation of the issue will reveal that the commandant is in his middle age, and does not appear to be one who is at home in this era of technology. The fact that he could not or at least to a reasonable extent enlighten Nigerians about the website of his organization may not in entirety be his fault. It is a trite and accepted principle in Nigerian politics that most politicians are lackadaisical towards their manifestoes. Those who hold the clutches and those who distribute the income of the nation’s budget are to be held responsible. It is possible that Mr. Shem has never recoursed to the internet in the course of executing his job. The Nigerian cabals have not put in place an efficient and organized system of administration, which calls for the technological wizardry of government parastatals. The NSCDC commandant in the course of his orientation was probably not tutored on the importance of internet services. It is possible that his station is totally devoid of the elements of technology.
Therefore, Nigerians should stop laughing at the misfortune that has befallen the commandant. Rather, we should recognize our own ignorance and rectify it. The very fact that Mr. Shem made such statement need not generate such sustained old chestnut slogan ‘oga at the top’. The great unwashed I surmise, tends to follow the latter words of Dr Mike Murdock when he said “You will be remembered for two things; the problems you solve and the ones you created.” That aside, let it be known this day too that most people who deride this unfortunate victim of circumstance via social networks, colloquial meetings etc have not succeeded either in solving any problem. In Nigeria we focus more on things that are subservient. However, if the ‘whole kit and caboodle’ would focus less on trivialities and toe the line of thought of Evanson who said: “the man that will be remembered is that man who turned a forest into a country and not a country into a forest” then the world becomes our oyster.
Unfortunately, we are living like citizens, if I may lend colour from the words of late Chinua Achebe …”where the falcon can no longer hear the falconer.” I cannot but recant a line from Niyi Osundare’s poem that “the railway tracks of this country are putrid marshlands in my soul tended by no magic fertilizers.”
The Faculty of Law prospectus expressly stated that there is an e-centre within the premises of the faculty, which offers web services to students. I am not categorically saying that there is actually no such e-centre, but the fact remains that I have not seen any such.
Therefore, I would like us to give blame to whom blame is due, because they have consistently been in ‘mouths and trousers’. The time has come for Nigerians to tell our ‘ogas at the top’ that we are ready to hold them accountable. In our faculty here, any one intending to be an ‘oga at the top’ should see the red card that the pen is mightier than the sword. For we judge men by their actions and not by their words.