There are three tiers of government – Federal, State, and LGA. There are over 40 ministries and there are hundreds of MDAs and Parastatals. We also have the security services, the military, and the paramilitary as well as the foreign service. All these structures of government were specifically created to SERVE us the citizens, diligently.
With utmost respect to all those who read from me and with child-like humility in my mind, I wish to ask this question very frankly from the deepest recess of my heart. Is there anyone amongst these government structures that serve the citizens without extortion? In other words, is it possible to procure the services of any government ministry, department, agency, parastatal, or even the security services and paramilitary without any form of extortion along the way? Do you know of any government department or agency where their services can be duly procured without any form of extortion from their staff or proxies? Can you help a brother with an example?
Maybe I don’t know how to frame the question properly, but the reality of the ordinary person on the streets of Nigeria is that it is impossible. If life has placed you favorably and you have means, fame, and power, just a phone call and even protocols will be broken for you. Your answer will be affirmative. But it is not the reality for the ordinary person. Verily verily, I say unto you, it is not possible.
For over four decades we are still grappling with 3000 megawatts of electricity with billions if not trillions of public money poured into companies to increase the power that has refused to increase. Yet we continue to pay crazy bills to these companies every month for the darkness they supply. We do this year in, year out, even till now that the conduits have been sold out to proxies. That’s a classic example of extortion I mean.
You can’t walk into a police station and report a case and expect them to follow you if you don’t have money. You can’t walk into the immigration office to do anything without being extorted. You can’t go to the road safety corps for anything without extortion. You can’t pass through the airports without extortion. You can’t go to any of the ministries to procure any service without getting extorted. Most persons whom the government has given a uniform, a table, or an identity card are waiting out there, every morning to extort from fellow citizens to fund their extras. That is what runs our system.
Yet the government cannot even protect us to stay alive and be able to go around and find that money they are extorting from us every day. Citizens are slaughtered without let or hinder. This country is very depressing.
Yet, instead of facing the government, we have resorted to begging ourselves to survive and do for ourselves, the things our government is meant to do for us.
What exactly is the government doing for the ordinary Nigerian who does not have access to public money, either directly or indirectly?
We must vote wisely in the next election…
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.