Growing up, I saw parents and elders become so grateful and appreciative of a public servant who performed his/her duty.
As I got to the stage where I could get a grasp of the activities around me, I realized that the joy and appreciation weren’t all worth it. Now, don’t get me wrong. Let me explain this.
What I later got to understand is that our parents have accepted irresponsibility and lack of accountability as a norm. That is why when someone is responsible enough to as much as perform his duty, they start singing his praises like he did anything extra.
Recently, I encountered a public servant who has been taught and groomed with this mentality. This public servant was in charge of a public fund (not entirely in charge of it though). It was in his jurisdiction to verify the persons to who the fund should go.
Now this young man failed to do what was necessary after verifying me. The funds never came for months. Until one day, I decided to drop him a message. He responded with a phone call and we spoke. He was required to cross-examine some documents, which I sent to him.
After all, was said and done, the fund was released to me. I dropped another message thanking him. But instead of apologizing for the mistake he made all those months. He said I should appreciate him with some money. I was completely speechless. In his defence, “one good turn deserves another”.
It is now that I understand the full extent of the lack of accountability and irresponsibility in this country. Parents need to teach their children the virtue of accountability.
Accountability is accepting responsibility and owning up to mistakes while working to correct them. Accountability is placing value on your integrity as a person and as a citizen of Nigeria.
The lack of accountability is why we get excited and happy because a government is providing good roads, clean water, electricity, etc. Which is what the government should ordinarily do. There’s nothing extra being done other than what they’ve been elected to do.
The lack of accountability is why we keep complaining every year. We are all guilty! Because in one way or another other, we have aided it. Giving a bank attendant some money so she can skip the line and attend to you.
Boycotting the normal process of the interview before giving a job just so you can fix in your brother.
These things seem like it’s perfectly normal but it isn’t. It is slowly swallowing up our sense of worth as a nation.
We are dignified people, created the same way as everybody else, and as such should demand that the people in charge of public affairs be held accountable. Not just public affairs. In every field of life.
Doctors should be held accountable. Lawyers should be held accountable. Politicians, public servants, teachers, bankers, and mechanics. The list goes on and on. We should all understand that there are consequences to our actions.
Some of those consequences can be very disastrous and shouldn’t be treated lightly. Nigeria will only get better when we get better.