Buying votes to hiring rackets: A country in illusion Written by Zainab Suleiman Okino

Aug 31, 2023 | Politics | 0 comments

Plateau State Rep. Yusuf Gagdi (Committee chairman, House committee investigating job-racketeering in federal agencies).
Nigeria has always been about influence peddling, nepotism, favouritism, and tokenism, which the authorities use to show merit counts. Throughout the previous eight years of the Buhari administration, even that little tokenism was replaced with money to purchase employment.

So, the highest bidders acquired all MDA posts and crucial political appointments. The secret was out. It was discussed at upscale parties and vacation locations. It was well known that powerful people bought major positions, and middle-class people bought civil service employment.

We now hear ministerial positions are compensated for. A topic that had been debated quietly for years exploded in a stunning way. It shocked the country when the National Assembly investigated it since it is unlawful, illegitimate, and morally repugnant yet widespread.

Unfortunately, several greedy, ignorant people were victimized by appointment salespeople, demonstrating its prevalence. During Buhari’s second administration, I experienced this blatant antic in 2019 when ministry seats and other nominations were evaluated. Someone impersonated former SGF Boss Mustapha and contacted me. Usually, someone calls me and says to hang on and call the SGF. He stated that they saw my Resume and thought joining the administration would boost its credibility.

Just imagine! A poor, non-partisan, non-aligned journalist like myself who did not campaign. I knew he was a crook, but I played along. The conversation proceeded until he suggested money. He went from N5 million to N500,000 for deposits. A full SGF! He saw through my lack of enthusiasm, was angered by my “unseriousness”, and stopped calling. People who are less discriminating than me and have money may have been scammed.

Yet, desperation from unemployment might force individuals to pay for work. Unemployed, despondent, and helpless graduates live in almost every family. For those who can afford it, N1 million or N2 million might solve their joblessness permanently. Hence, I fully understand the young grads who paid for Federal Character Commission positions (FCC).

The FCC chairperson, Muheeba Dankaka, her former assistant, Haruna Kolo, and the victims who are witnesses are divided over the subject. The findings thus far may be the tip of the ice bag, given many Nigerians’ knowledge. Another question is how disadvantaged children would do in a monetized political, appointment, and career environment.

The person marketing employment now got to school nearly for nothing and entered the public service easily. What a contradiction! Nigerian politicians don’t value honesty, but public officials have joined this shameful group. From vote buying and nepotism arose the horrifying issue of paying for employment.

Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, head of the Ad Hoc Committee Investigating Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) on Mismanagement of Personnel Recruitment, IPPIS, and Employment Racketeering, said in this article that MDAs’MDAs’ job markets have made it hard for impoverished children to find work. The misuse of waivers prevents the average man from working in MDAs. If you are given a waiver to hire, examine the unfairness done to other states and address them to balance representation in that agency. We’ll force you to promote those vacancies so the son of nobody can apply. “Maybe you’ll you’ll see him with a first-class, and you’ll you’ll see his interview performance to be fantastic, and then you’ll you’ll hire him to have the best in those agencies,” he advised his committee when the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) debuted. Notwithstanding this advice, the public service regulation requires all such positions to be publicized.

Most of the agencies the Gagdi Ad Hoc Committee called to appear in the bribery inquiry declined. The Committee chair has criticized these agencies’ behaviour but cannot force them to present. We have clarified our views and will communicate via newspapers to ensure these agencies come before the committee. We will give the agencies one final warning. And so forth. How else can you slowly destroy a country when impunity and mediocrity coexist?”

The National Assembly may investigate and issue arrest warrants, as they did for FCC intermediary Haruna Kolo. They may use newspaper ads to force ”indicted” agencies to appear. Protesting anti-graft organizations will achieve nothing. Even if those agencies defend themselves and are found guilty, who will execute the investigative panels’ resolutions? All parties would learn from previous futile attempts and move on with their lives.

Gagdi said, “Most of these agencies are not respectful to established authority,” after 35 agencies resisted his investigative committee. Just four agencies are present despite 40 being expected.” Politicians are impotent because they are dirty and unpopular.

Always unpunished are impunity, corruption, and now job racketeering. On shelves, this investigative report will eventually dust off and die naturally. If this continues, where is the average man’s hope?

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