Dear Nigeria,

I want to start by congratulating you on how lucky you have been in all Spheres. All what has led to war in various countries, have always been walk over for you. It has not been a smooth ride though, but it has been eventful. We keep remembering your deeds per time and we either extol your virtue or we wished we never had anything to do with you. Your democracy in the last eleven years has been full of sorts while your independence of fifty years have got it own share of heroic acts and display of cowardice. There is none of your citizen that does not have a fair share of all.

I am forced to ask you, Nigeria, who your pensioners are? I found out that pensioners are those who served in their youthful age, with all their strength and might, I also know that they have a space in your heart by a verse in the national anthem;

the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain.

All these implies that some people really served and their past efforts is what the coming generation is going to build on.

Some people served for more than thirty years and they rot at old age, they contributed their share to the nation building. They were so religious about their job roles and responsibilities and now they are so relinquish into poverty when they can’t feed at all. Those who should even help them out of this situation are still on their “payroll” after graduating with no job.

In this critical state that our nation demands resurgence, your people in the hallowed chambers are debating whether or not to become pensioners. It is a regular occurrence to see old people working down the streets of making regional offices of the Federal parastatals, queuing endlessly for the money they are supposed to be enjoying. The adverts have not stopped for once, that’s why they can’t afford to toy with national mass media where a date of screening, venue and time is communicated.

It was early morning rain, and this old man who has lost his strength in serving the nation, had to wade his feet through the flood in front of TBS on his way to the Federal Civil Service Club, Ikoyi for verification and his own “national announcement” that he is still alive, he fell on the road and eventually had all this documents soaked. The punishment continues after retirement.

It is another frequent occurrence that labour strikes come up from time to time in your territory. When people have gone unpaid for months while in service then the syndrome of not being paid at retirement should not be far-fetched? The unpaid pensions keep accumulating until most of these people die. Fortunately enough, we hardly have old peoples home around you that can cater for people.

Elected people to represent various constituencies and zones now clamour for pension. What job have they done for that four years that worth pensions? With all the amount of money that they amass within that short period they still want to be pensionable. What will be the scale of measuring the job done to merit payment?

When bills of giving stipend to unemployed graduates are being thrown out of these chambers, why should pensions be debated? When increment of salaries is not looked into, why should increment in allowances be considered for those in these houses?

Nigeria, kindly speak to those few Representatives and Senators that the nation needs not pay any extra on them until they have structured the society they are representing and not depreciating the values and standard of humanity. Let’s not remain on this same spot of debates and bills that lead nowhere.

11.01am, 20th July, 2010

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
  1. Tayo, this is a brilliant piece, thought provoking. That is the kind of country we find ourself. So annoying for somebody to spend four years as a lawmaker and then equate that with somebody who spend substantial part of his life serving the nation (35 years no be small thing men) and more annoying is the whooping sum that will be earmarked for their pension through out their life spans not in any way commensurate with the purported service they claim to render to our dear nation Nigeria. Much more annoying is the fact that most of them don't even attend the sittings, if u happen to go there, u'll see empty seats all around and those who do attend some are a-yes lawmaker.Yet they collect fat salary. Well,Tayo, can u get this published in national dailies? I believe it will definitely conscientize some Nigerians. Bravo!!!!

  2. It is good you are using your writing skill to point out certain odds in the Nigerian polity. Let's remain hopefully that the Nigerian story will change for good, sooner than later.
    Best regards,

  3. Beautiful piece Tayo, never knew you could write such beautiful piece highlighting the problems in the country and putting it in a subtle manner, love it keep it up.

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