Sunday, August 24, 2008

Insults and the workplace

A good friend of mine recently narrated the most unbelievable story I have ever heard. She told me a female branch manager of one our big banks in Nigeria had asked her members of staff who had been unable to meet their monthly targets to “kneel down” as punishment. Now, that is not the part that is unbelievable because I know many people are capable of wanting to humiliate other human beings in any way they can. The part that is unbelievable is that her staff actually did it! They actually knelt down. Now, may I remind you all that this incident happened recently, in 2008. Of course I refused to believe it, “impossible” I screamed! My friend then informed me that in the world of banking, people were insulted on a daily basis. She told me that one former MD of a bank once asked his staff at MPR (monthly performance rating) if he was a married, the man said yes, asked if he had children, to which the man replied yes, he then asked his staff if when he gets home his children call him daddy or idiot.....because only an idiot can be doing so badly.

Many more horrendous stories such as these were narrated but we shall make do with these two. I doubt my readers need more examples to understand the kind of madness I am talking about. Yet, this is not particular to the banking world in Nigeria. In offices all over the country, people are being called “stupid”, “idiot”, “fool”, “useless” and other derogatory terms. In fact, I remember teachers being part of this madness. Teachers that call their students “mumu”, “olodo”, “stupid”, teachers that should know better are even a part of this social madness. However, I do not blame these human beings that believe it is their right to insult others anywhere and anytime they deem fit. I blame it on this ridiculous system of “respect your elders” that we have been initiated into as children.

As a child, I was taught to respect my elders and basically agree with whatever that “elder” said. Who are the elders? Well, basically, anybody that is older than you. That is why, as a child, you bowed your head down when an adult scolded you and told you what a stupid person you were. As long as this person was “your senior”, it was alright for you to be insulted and degraded. This degrading of yourself continued in boarding house (for those of you that did not go to boarding house, give praise and thanksgiving, your mental health is still intact) where you were basically a slave to everybody that was in a class ahead of you. Here, the insults become natural; it is a part of your life. You are “fool”, “stupid” “idiot”, and you will gladly answer to those names when you are being called. You now await your turn, when you can also enjoy calling juniors “fool”, “idiot” “stupid”. You are part of the system and the system is part of you.

However, as an adult, your “elders” are no longer those people that are older than you, but those people you call “Sir” or “Madam” (and anybody that has money). We have just replaced the “elder” tag with “Sir/Madam”, and allowed the system of insults to continue and why should it not?

I will tell you why it should not. First of all, such behavior is totally unprofessional and does not belong to the office. Anybody in such a professional setting, including the cleaners, drivers and security guards, ought to be respected and treated as a worthy human being. They are working for their money just as you are. They should be respected. In many countries, the cleaners can call the MD of a company by his first name, yes, you heard me right. In my university days, I called all my professors by their first names (it was a shock to my system, but once I got used to it, it was quite liberating) and nobody died. It is because we insist on this “Oga/Madam” nonsense that such people think it is their right to insult their subordinates.

Secondly, we are not kids anymore. Those days of bullying are long gone. We are grown men and women and we will fight for our rights.

P.S:And una mumu people wey dem go dey do like sheep anyhow, una no fit talk? Ehn? I swear, if na me, na rak we for rak that day. Kneel down indeed! Na for her head I for siddon! Nonsense and ingredience!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Letter to the president of Nigeria

Dear Sir,

I hope this letter comes to you in good health, if so, praise be to Allah. I am so sorry for disturbing you as I know you must be so busy working hard for our dear country Nigeria. However, I must bring your attention to a very solemn matter. It has come to my attention that the chairman of the NDDC, Sam Edem, is seriously ill and at this very moment, unable to perform the duties he has been elected to do. He has admitted being under the spell of one Perekabowei Ogah aka Mathew Sonoma, a juju priest (soothsayer, babalawo, marabou, wizard, etc). According to the honorable chairman, he was “hypnotized” and during this “hypnosis”, the juju man did “yahooze” on him and managed to swindle him of 800 million naira. Now, whilst the juju man has denied these allegations, claiming that the chairman had hired him for all sorts of criminal intentions, including murder, that is not my paramount concern. My concern is making sure the NDDC is functioning as it should be. I believe at the moment, this is not so. Below are my reasons:

How can anybody do his job under “hypnosis”? I have never been hypnotized before but I am sure any psychologist would confirm that such a state is not the perfect condition for anybody to be working under. Especially not somebody in charge of such an important commission.

He has already given 800 million naira of the NDDC’S money away (I am assuming this money is from the NDDC as it is impossible to believe that anybody in Nigeria has such a fantastic amount of money at his disposal).

The chairman himself has admitted to being “drained” financially, psychologically and emotionally. Pray, tell me, how is this poor man supposed to carry out his duties?

The chairman has recently been “delivered” from satanic hands. I am sure the poor man needs his rest. If he has been under such a draining spell, then I am sure the exorcism of all the demons in his body must have left him weak.

He must need time to reconcile himself with our heavenly father and hopefully be washed with the Holy Spirit. All this takes an incredible amount of energy, one which our chairman does not have at the moment since he has been so “drained”.

I hope our dear president can understand this delicate situation and hopefully, relieve the chairman of his burden. It is obvious that his present condition is very grave. Leaving the commission in the hands of Sam Edem is not only dangerous, but very careless indeed.

Yours sincerely,
Waffy Waffarian.

P.S: Here’s wishing the chairman a speedy recovery!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Resource control hat

Man to man is so unjust, children
You don't know who to trust
Your worst enemy could be your best friend
And your best friend your worst enemy…..
And who the cap fit…let them wear it…
Hypocrites and parasites
Will come up and take a bite
And if your night should turn to day
A lot of people would run away
And who the cap fit….let them wear it…
-Bob Marley

If there is anybody that is tired of hearing about Niger-Delta in the news every day, please put your hands up! Is there anybody in this country that is not yet sick and fed up with this topic? I mean, I don’t understand why we choose to suffer in this country. I swear I am going to puke the next time I hear “Niger-Delta”. I am so tired of that topic, but even more exhausting, is the topic of resource control. What exactly does that mean? Every time I hear it in the news I begin to think of some “kryptonite like” matter found in space, a really mysterious kind of material that has to be taken care of with great care lest we all turn into aliens. However, correct me if I am wrong, but it’s all about MONEY right? That’s what we are discussing in these meetings and summits? Who gets to spend the MONEY? That’s the mysterious “resource” we are all falling over ourselves to share and divide.

Now that we have made that clear, ie, resource control basically means “how to share the loot”, let’s try and define the next problem at hand. Now, is it only me, or have you all noticed that anytime we talk about “resource control”, everybody on TV is wearing a bowler hat? I am serious, next time you watch TV, count the number of bowler hats (remnants of our colonial past) you see. I have been thinking about this phenomenon, in fact, I have come to the conclusion that there must be something magical about that hat. Perhaps in order to talk about “resource control”, one has to wear it? Whatever the secret is, I must know, na by force. I am going to buy my own bowler hat and the next time there is talk of “resource control” on TV, maybe I will have a better understanding of what it is all about. Make una siddon dey look, meself, I go enter TV small time dey give my own yarns about resource control.

P.S: But if anybody there wan dash me e own hat, I no go shame to collect oh, austerity wan kill man pikin. Thanks in advance.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Overnight farmers

Every day is a blessing in this country, even crossing the street is a mission on its own. By the way, before I launch into my anguish of the week, I‘d like to bind and cast all the demons of electricity in this country. I am sure you will all join in this casting session as many people have lost so much in this country due to “no light” (I just lost an eye….but that is a story for another day). This “no light” business is causing havoc in the lives of ordinary people, but not to worry, I am sure the Chinese will soon deliver enough cheap generators for every man to be able to afford one. God bless them.

Anyway, this article is not about me and my “missing eye” situation, this article is about Nigeria and its perpetual state of outrageous affairs. Recently, the government decided to help us out with the problem of food scarcity. They decided to distribute grains (please take note that these grains are for planting) to local farmers and help solve this alarming problem. Now, some big men in this country also collected tons of grains. Now, except I am totally stupid, I have never seen an agbada wearing man plant a seed. I am sure we all remember that ridiculous picture of our former president trying to plant a tree while his agbada was being held by more than three people. That is not a sight one forgets so easily. I still have nightmares from that picture.

Anyway, my point is, unless these big men, have become farmers overnight, then there is no need for anybody to be hoarding tons of grains in their backyards or garages. Now, as usual, we shall hear all sorts of explanations, all sorts of reasons. I would personally love to hear the reasons, for pure comedy purposes of course. One never tires of the illogical stories we hear in this country. However, the one and only question that should be asked is: “Are you a farmer?”

By the way, there is nothing wrong if these big men have decided to become farmers. In fact, the exercise would do them good. All that sitting around in board meetings eating club sandwich can’t be good for the heart. However, if you are not yet a farmer and you have no wishes to trade your pen for a hoe, then I suggest that these grains should be given to the people that know how to bend their backs in the sun.
Una do well.

P.S: Dem don begin dey kidnap people for our side again oh! Ehen, and I don remind una again say Olympics dey around the corner…if una like, make una disgrace us for opening ceremony with nonsense cloth…I go close eye, wait make una pass!