– I first got the idea of how Nigeria is managed in 1990 when I enlisted as a Cadet ASP in Nigeria Police. On resumption all cadets went through certificate screening and verification. All 202 cadets produced university degrees but 95% of the cadets from Northern Nigeria could not produce WAEC School certificates.
The Commandant, an AIG from the South, was stunned and threatened to send these cadets home only for him to receive an official query. He was informed that he should concentrate on training the cadets not screening of certificates. That the Force Headquarters already screened the cadets and all were certified okay.
The cadets from the north argued that you don’t require a WAEC School Certificate with 5 credits to get into University in the North. All that is required is evidence that you sat for WAEC and you are admitted into a one year remedial studies programme. At the end of the year, an internal examination is conducted and the remedial students are offered admission into various departments in the university. We from the south were informed in clear terms that WAEC and JAMB were southern Nigeria exams.
The cadet Officers training was for 18 months. We had 6 exams to prepare us for passing out. Most of the officers from the north could not pass a single course of these exams. We nick named them the back benchers. 30 were retarded for 3months because they could bearly write in English. Some from the south were always in the first syndicate(first 10) throughout.
Today my set has an AIG and several Command Commissioners. The AIG was one of the retardees. All the Commissioners so far were members of the back benchers. They are holding very sensitive commands including heading federal agencies. All the cadets in the first syndicate during pass out are still Deputy Commissioners including the all round best. This is the irony of Nigeria.
This is the story of Nigeria Police, in all federal institutions the story is the same. Just inquire and you get similar tales. This has led to some of us seeking international appointments where merit is respected or some leaving service and seeking their fortunes else where. We stay away to avoid the pain and humiliation. It is very sad.
As long as we continue with this system and structure of unequal treatment, a progressive Nigeria may be an illusion.