I attended a town hall meeting this week and the Senate President was amongst the invitees. First the Senate President was late and the programme had to be delayed. A live programme was delayed because the number three citizen that should live by example decided to be late. How do we have leaders that do not realise that punctuality is part of integrity? Beyond that, how do we have citizens who find it okay to be disrespected by those they elected into office?
Coming late to an event simply show you have no regard for the people at the event you are going to. Most especially if you are playing a key role. The Senate President waltzed in late and people were told to stand up to welcome him. He is not deserving of that honour. Trust Nigerians with our eye service. The same people that will grumble behind his back are the ones that will stand up and smile at being disrespected in such a manner.
With the arrival of the Senate President, the event could start! After some speeches the Senate President was called to give the opening speech and he read his lengthy speech after which he left! I just couldn’t believe the affront at our sensibilities. It is supposed to be a Town hall meeting and the Senate President comes in to read his lengthy speech to us and goes away? Who is interested in his speech? Citizens get to listen to him all the time. When does he get to listen to citizens and hear what the people are yearning for? Is it that citizens don’t matter? How did we get to a place where those we elected would come to a meeting that is supposed to be a dialogue with citizens and they just turn it into opportunity to practically read another riot act to us on how we should be grateful to them for the services they are not rendering and also to humorously tell us we should behave ourselves?
The most annoying is being told they have another assignment or they are on a national assignment. Who isn’t on a national assignment? Every citizen is on a National assignment. Being a law abiding citizen and going about your daily business is a national assignment. If we can leave our businesses and workplace to come have a dialogue with those we elected into office, the least they can do is sit down and listen to what we have to say. After all they are not coming cheap. They cost the nation a lot of money for the little or no service they render to the nation.
We must start to demand more from our public servants. We must tax them more than we tax our fellow citizens who owe us nothing. It is funny how citizens who are comfortable with public servants disrespecting them and not taking responsibility for the things they are supposed to be doing are very vocal when it comes to their fellow citizens who owe them nothing. Is it because they feel the public servants are too powerful for them to tackle and they would rather tackle those they have the power to and transfer the aggression? As citizens, we must deliberately find our dignity. We must begin to respect ourselves and ensure that those we elect have no option than to respect us too. Our value system is in shambles and people are ready to throw their values away to get favours or in hope of favours.
As the Senate President was leaving, it was announced that there was going to be pictures and many went after him. Little wonder that those elected do not even realise that what they are doing is wrong. The people show them that they are happy with being disrespected and treated with disdain. Of what value is a picture with the Senate President? Can it be used to pay bills or will it be enough to pay ransom if kidnappers come? Our words must begin to match our actions. We cannot say we are displeased at our leaders who are failing us and we fawn over them whenever we see them. The #NaijaCallOfShame is targeted at public servants who are failing the people. It is a call for citizens to let them know exactly how they feel about their failure. When you see public servants who are not serving as they should, do not stand up when they come to events especially when they are late. Do not give them standing ovations that they do not deserve. Let them know exactly how you feel about them. That way they will have the incentive to serve you well. Right now we give them the enabling environment to keep failing.