The Nigerian Connection and the Connecticut…

It’s such a pity that “Connecticut” is only a State in the USA. Rather than “the giant of Africa”, I’d have proposed it (Connecticut) as the moniker for Nigeria. What is normal is that the “Nigeria” behind the “connection” in the title above gives the rational thought, a blueprint of what this epistle exhibits, unless of course, the reader isn’t a Nigerian or perhaps, an inexperienced child.

Once, I came across a text-on-picture presentation that displayed, “you need connection to get everything in Nigeria, even a plate of rice in parties”. I laughed heartily when I saw this factual comic but ignominy overtook hilariousness when I suddenly became overwhelmed by disdain in being a Nigerian citizen.

Our country, and especially our country, where the affluent continues to become rich and the unprivileged continues to wallow in beggarly penury. Just like properties of inheritance, the rich transfer not only their wealth and resources onto their offsprings, they also transfer the so-called “connections” from generations to generations and the poor, similar applies. The principle of equity has far being buried into the sands of time from a time immemorial, as far as its existence in Nigeria is focally concerned.

As far as not being “connected” to high status personalities, there’s almost no headway for one to become independently successful in social and econofavouritismmic endeavours. Can it be imagined that most times, people even apply for vacancies in organisations as workers in vain? The position has already been taken through connection! Vacancy displays are just hypocritical actions taken by most organisations in order to satisfy formal protocols; the jobs have already been taken!

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I’ve heard countless of cases where people go into organisations, especially public organisations for job interviews but the worst appliers get the jobs. An underground tycoon had communicated to the employers about the people to get the job already. At the end, only one, two or very few slots are available for fair entry.

What about education? State and federal government educational institutions to be specific. Unworthy candidates are admitted into our higher institutions at the expense of the worthy ones because such candidates have guardians with authority or shall I say “influence”, while those who truly merit the admissions have nobody of power to cling onto.

It is apparent without hiding, the stratification that exists in our universities even in the balloting for hostel facilities. When the “children/wards of staffs” of the institution are given a particular day to ballot for hostels, thereby having more chance of acquiring while the more voluminous remnants are striving to get; connection! One cannot act blind to the admission process where academic staffs are given privileges to present a number of candidates to be admitted and therefore, a better candidate will loose the space since he has no “connection” with any staff or authority whatsoever. What is even happening in this country? Let it even be accepted that staffs of our institutions are meant to enjoy some statutory benefits as a result of their positions but, should it be on the bases of partiality and inequality to others?

A wise man always do admonish me… “Alex, there’s nothing in this country! All opportunities in even years to come are already taken by the takers. Do not depend on your certificate to get you a deserving job, it’s hopeless! Just sit and think, create a way for yourself by the abilities you possess for self dependence. That’s how to survive independently in this country”. I hold this advice in high esteem because the iotas of truthfulness in it are beyond acceptance percentage…

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To gain admission , connection
To apply for a job, connection
To get a visa, connection
To clear your imported goods, connection
To rent a house, connection
To apply for scholarship, connection
To get certificates, connection
To work in the government and its parastatals, connection
To join the army, connection
To travel out, connection
To get one’s retirement pension, connection
To get a good venue for events, connection
To invite erudite personalities to occasions, connection
To even rectify academic problems, connection

Soon, if this anomaly doesn’t come to a halt, it will get to the extent of:
To live freely, connection
To be human, connection
To get married, connection
To have a child, connection
To sleep at night, connection
To watch TV, connection
To even eat good food, connection.

All these have their roots embedded in corruption, the pestilence that swindles and dwindles Nigeria! After all, corruption and connection are two congruent concepts juxtaposing each other in susceptibility, as far as they occur in Nigeria.

They would say, ‘all fingers are not equal’, but that’s only when we picture only one hand while ignoring the possibility of the involvement of other hands. Join your hands together and you’ll discover that all small fingers are equal, all ring fingers are the same, all middle fingers aren’t dissimilar, all index digits are identical and all thumbs, matching.

More so, when different hands are combined, someone’s thumb may be equivalent to other person’s middle finger; just as someone’s index may also be same with other’s middle finger and equity and equality could still be guaranteed in all…

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If this unnecessary but deliberate artificial stratification is not urgently halted, our nation runs the risk of maintaining its post independence appellations: “developing” and “under-developed” while other nations are taking off unhindered.

As for my fellow comrades, this are facts we all know. They have been there, they are not leaving and they don’t plan to.

However, the fact remains that life isn’t forever and the rich will soon leave, do or die. Though, they may pass it to their acquaintances who have the connections still, some of us will eventually get there by struggle and fate’s certainty.

Fairness should therefore be our character and justice, our emblem- that we treat people equally without a detrimental effect on others if we are to advance from our crawling state of justice and fairness to all. We are not Nokia, let’s abolish this connection menace of partiality.

By Chiwuzo Alexandre Owolabi aka Dré, a Student of Unilag and member of TRNG Writers Club.

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