Today is the international Workers’ day. As is usually the routine, Nigeria will join her counterparts in other countries to commemorate the day.
The event is marked annually to spare workers the stress and rigour of work by allowing them to catch fun, mingle and socialize among themselves outside the office environment. Beyond the recreation and entertainment, it is a day when the interests of workers are brought forward to the notice of the government for onward action.
Notably, workers, especially those of Nigeria have been instrumental to the growth and productivity of the country’s economy. Without the hands and brains of our teeming workforce, where in the world would Nigeria be? So, all thanks to God for the strength given to our workers to place us at the fore of Africa
However, a number of factors have made the efforts of workers in Nigeria near contemptible, one of which is the attitude to work. A typical civil servant resumes work at 11am but signs 8:30am on the time book.
The entire working day is then characterized by gossips, storytelling and rumour mongering about what one may term irrelevant and incontributive to their work. Once engrossed in these unfocussed group discussions, most of them become oblivious of visitors, clients or customers coming in for one transaction or the other. The fellow is simply ignored and sometimes, turned to a stature while they continue in their giggling and scornful laughter.
After this session, they suddenly become aware of the stranger’s presence and with no courtesy at all, begin an unauthorized interview in a bid to intimidate or confuse the person.
The facial expression on some workers’ faces is nothing to talk about. A lot of them carry faces that spell doom from afar that, first comers would have to make a sign of the cross before venturing to speak to them. Even after daring to speak to them, the manner of their response can make a person feel like a looser or go home feeling depressed.
Many of them readily transfer aggression on clients and are usually not in the mood to answer simple polite questions or offer the smallest form of assistance.
Arrogance, pride and ego have eaten so deep into the fabrics of senior civil servants that, if there were to be other very viable options, many junior workers would not accept the subjugation, suppression and ill-treatment they get from their superiors who receive the praise of their (junior workers) hard work and go about their personal businesses with ease.
The fact that many senior workers in the civil service play the boss with their juniors has become a norm. They go to work later than their juniors, assign duties they should handle and close earlier yet; they take delight in marginalizing, discriminating, querying and disciplining the birds which lay the golden eggs. While some go as far as slashing into two their subordinates’ remuneration, others take delight in withholding promotion when due, refusing leave applications and all forms of unfair practices.
Lackadaisical attitude to work is also a common phenomenon among government workers. In many corridors, backyards, verandas and open offices of the Civil Service, you find people or groups clustered together, discussing during work time.
Those who cannot stand the traditional office setting go the extra mile of sitting out at the Canteen, Staff Children School, Parks and other places where they can have a breath of fresh air. On a second thought, one may wonder if the lack of what to do is responsible for this misdemeanor. Is it possible that some workers are just there for nothing and getting payment at the end of the month? Whether or not this thought is true, the act of chatting away working hours is totally condemnable.
Our workers, especially those in the civil service have in great measures shown zero exemplary strides in secrecy and disclosure of confidential information. Information considered to be confidential has often been divulged to members of the public who care to know, especially as it pertains to delayed payment of salaries. It is not strange to hear a civil servant say “we have not been paid so don’t expect us to work” or “they have not paid us minimum wage yet.” By doing so, they put themselves at the mercy of their clients who readily give them “a token” for the furtherance of their cause as non-compliance could thwart their mission. Teachers and lecturers are the highest perpetrators of this. They let students know at will how bad the government has treated them and how much they are being owed. The next step they take is going on self-declared holidays at the expense of our tomorrow’s leaders. But do they tell these students about the benefits of their job? NO! Are they not tarnishing the image of the government by doing this?
Nigerian workers should know that those hidden things they do are not hidden but glaring. The public sees it and knows better. So when next they want to go on strike, or complain of the government being unfair, they should as well know that they have not tried. It is important to note that our attitude could keep or send us off our work places hence, workers should embrace the Golden Rule. There are a thousand others out there looking for an opportunity to work but have none therefore, workers should apply diligence in all their doings.
Most importantly, workers should know that their dedication and hardwork is the brain behind the government’s revenue and that only their continuous commitment to excellence will lead the country to its envisaged height.