Today I am going to start with a simple question, Why are Nigerians and Nigerian institutions in general obsessed with certification and diplomas and so on as opposed to a person’s competency? Like honestly, it is ridiculous. I remember a senator standing up during a session and saying, “when we went to Harvard…”, Home boy attended a certificate course which means he went to 4 classes! But alas the rest of senators paid attention to the buffoon. I am not saying going to a certificate course in the most recognizable institution in the world doesn’t qualify you as someone to be paid attention to but it does irk me that our people value people’s qualifications as opposed to what the people can do.
It is a serious problem when a country that is trying to march towards development doesn’t venture to test the competency of people before putting them in positions of power. We hear that so and so is good for this position because they went to Oxford, that person should get the job because he/she got a first class. I am not questioning the capability of these people and their IQ, I am sure they are brilliant people. I am questioning the thinking of our people. It is the frame of mind that I need a piece of paper to make it in life and the perpetuation of this system that has led some desperate people to result to forging certification or undertaking courses that have no use to their plans for the future all for the sake of having as much qualification as the next man. I mean some people will venture as taking a certificate course in Shit Packing if they offered it at Yale even though they really just want to be bankers. Maybe those two are related, bankers do take a lot of shit from their bosses I guess.
It is this frame of mind that is the main driving force behind the push by so many Nigerians to obtain an advanced degree. That and the high rate of employment making it necessary for each candidate to try and one up the next person. That being said, you have people who have no idea why they want to get an advanced degree getting it just for the sake of getting it. It is simply amazing and you know the funny thing, it has become the default thing to do if you have the means or are able to gain a scholarship. Go and do your masters, it has become a norm right next to getting married and having kids.
I am sure if Jesus came back today to Nigeria and was trying to prove to people he was the son of God sans faith, I think the typical Nigerian bureaucrat will ask the messiah for certificate from the University of Heaven, with a recommendation from Angel Gabriel and God before they believe in him. They will ignore the fact that homeboy can walk on water, turns water into wine and raises the dead. Come on people, just because a piece of paper I have with me says I am certified in awesomeness does not mean I am that awesome. In truth, sometimes I am not awesome I am just cool.
One of the key things we need to do as a people to move our country forward is to start thinking like a meritocracy. This starts in our homes, schools and what not. Reward excellence, put the right people in the right place. We need to look beyond what a piece of paper or people say a person can do to what they can actually do because to be realistic sometimes it is not the most qualified people on paper that get the job done. Sometimes the most qualified people on paper are the ones who are aloof and out of touch with the masses, these are the people who think every Nigerian spent summer vacations in London, these are people that have romanticized Nigeria and have an ideal and not too realistic idea of how to move us forward.
I am really curious about this issue, Is it some kind of colonial residue or the by-product of a failed system, fraudulence and cynicism that has led people to become obsessed with what a paper says a man can do as opposed to what he can really do?