Nigeria’s legion of ghost workers | Dailytrust

Nigeria’s legion of ghost workers

At the core of every content citizenry is the relative ease of finding profitable work or doing business which all go into providing the engagement that translates into employment and counts among its unique powers the ability to keep some of man`s most twisted tormentors and most vicious vices away.

As the statistics of unemployment continue to hit double figures in Nigeria, it has become ever more imperative, in fact a matter of life and death, for many to have their names listed in the `book of life’ somewhere, so that at the end of every month, they are able to count their account numbers as being among those that would line up to be counted to receive bank alerts.

This usually means stability, necessarily less anxiety to induce sleepless nights. So, there are those who have their names in the payrolls in different state governments and those who have theirs in the payrolls of the federal government.

As a country, Nigeria`s struggle to collect reliable data is as historic as it is annoying. Dependable data is often lacking and the effect of this on the Giant of Africa is that many Nigerians are left uncounted and unaccounted for in a world where everyone should count.

So, in Nigeria`s civil service, there are those who exist only on government payrolls, come alive only when the month ends and salary is due, and generally clog wage bills. They are many and they pose considerable challenges to everything that dignified and responsible work represents.

There are those who do not exactly have any axe to grind with Nigeria but absolutely and gleefully take any opportunity to grind down the country with both hands. When people like these find themselves in public office, they soon subject whatever is placed under their watch to unprecedented heists.

It is through people like these that ghost workers sneak into the payrolls of government at different levels. In fact, once they get into office and have some access to determine who gets in and who stays, they act ruthlessly. Sensing the opportunity to reward their cronies, they staff government payrolls with names of the living, the dead and the flagrantly fictitious.

Corruption in Nigeria does not only exist at the highest levels. It trickles down. Of course, it begins from the head. But like water poured on the head, it trickles down until every part of the body is soaked. So, what obtains in Nigeria is simply that the higher the office, the more toxic the tendency to be corrupt.

Thus, the one who has her name on the payroll of a local government in Delta State but never as much as visits the local government in a year is as guilty as the one who as director in any of the MDAs doles out contracts that will never be executed to their cronies.

There are also wage bills that are laden with ghosts – real dead people. When payday comes around, the living live off the property of the dead.

While the country continues to pay ghosts, work ethic remains painfully poor. It is little wonder that nothing really works. To do that effectively and comprehensively would mean that all those who reap where they did not sow in the country necessarily have to be shown the way out.

Kene Obiezu can be reached via keneobiezu@gmail.com

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