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Apartheid Plague-ridden Workplace: The Agony Of A Casual Worker In Nigeria! by agwu123(m): 8:43am On Mar 07, 2015

While African citizens especially our football stars in Europe complains of been racially abused, a development that is drawing huge criticism from well meaning individuals all over the world. People are coming out to condemn racism as an act against humanity which must be totally abhorred and culprits severely penalized. Ironically back home, our black brothers and sisters who are opportune to be captains of industries are colluding with other foreign nationals to perpetuate and solidify racism and apartheid against their fellow blacks in the workplace. Our Africa brothers/sisters have suddenly turned themselves to our modern colonial masters. They have devised several schemes to hold fellow Africans economically and psychologically bind just to foster their unending thirst for wealth.

Nigeria has introduced a new dimension/concept of racism and apartheid in the world history but this time, ‘workplace apartheid cum racism’ through strategic casualization of employment of polytechnic graduates. Workplace apartheid is a manipulative political strategic scheme to render polytechnic graduate workers perpetual mediocre. It is a destiny killer and talent waster. The Nigeria banks are the major culprit of this devilish and slavish trend. Polytechnic graduates in most banks are treated with untold scorn and demoralized. They are placed under degraded employment condition devoid of improved benefits, promotion and career advancement.

In life, one is supposed to either move horizontally or vertically but most banks have forced their casual staff to remain static and rigmarole in a particular point. There is neither promotion nor increment in their salaries. Casual staff in most cases spends 15 – 20 years in the same employment status/designation. The worst is the disdain treatment they are subjected to by some of their colleagues who are the bank’s so-called full staff. They are treated as inferior beings and dehumanized.

Polytechnic graduates are worst hint sets of casualized labour force in the banking sector. These set of talented workforce, do the dirty and odd jobs while others take the glory. The banks’ management has succeeded in perpetuating this evil by placing this workforce under severe economic hostage. This state of affairs is viewed as a political and artificial dichotomy deliberately created by the capitalist to relegate certain strata of the workforce to unending servitude in order to sustain their modus operandi which is all about maximizing profit at the expense the impoverish workforce. At the end of every financial year, huge profits are declared by these banks, the executives and selected staff share certain aspect of the profit declared in the name of ‘Profit Sharing’ (PS) while the so-called casual staff are sidelined to wallow in abject poverty. Whereas, these casual staff also vehemently contributed to the bottom line of the bank’s performance/profitability.

Casual staff in the banking industry is the grievous of all form of modern slavery. Its an aberration and infradignity for two set of employees one – ‘casual staff’, and the other ‘full staff’ to be performing the same job functions; yet at the end of the day, the so-called ‘full staff’ is paid higher remunerations, promoted, given the opportunities for further trainings and development in order to advance on the job while the other - ‘casual staff’ is totally neglected. Experience abound whereby two individuals who were employed in the same bank, on the same day though in different employment tactics (i.e. full staff and casual staff), within the space of 10 years, the fellow employed as a full staff had risen to become a Branch Manager (i.e. about 8 steps promotions) while the other fellow employed as casual staff still remains at the same entry point/level where he was employed 10 years (a decade) back. Both workers were graduates (i.e. one Degree holder and the other HND holder). The only sin the latter committed was probably because he was a polytechnic graduate and was employed as casual staff.

Casuallization is employers’ psychological and political strategies to short-circuit the economic destiny of the casual staff in their employment. It is political and cost cutting mechanism used by modern employers/Nigerian colonial masters to maximize profit while impoverishing the workers. It’s an instrument of exploitation use by the employers to psychologically and economically colonize the employees under perplexing servitude in order to perpetuate their profit agenda to become richer thereby subjecting the employees to precarious life.

Back in the days, as a young boy in secondary school, I thought education was a means and veritable tool to overcoming poverty. However, recent events in my country Nigeria has vehemently altered my thinking and made me to begin to question my earlier views on education. What would you say of a country where you have several millions army of qualified graduates who are willing to work but are wandering about in the streets because they could not get a place to work; even when they manage to get one, they are subjected to the most degrading employment condition in the world.

In those good old days, parents sold their properties (including houses, land etc) to ensure that their children acquire good and quality education. This is with the hope that after graduation, these children will get befitting jobs and thus be able to acquire more properties as well as take proper care of their aging parents. These lines of thinking is now a mirage in Nigeria as people graduate, spend many years at home without jobs and still remains a huge burden on their aging parents depending on them for their upkeeps thus becoming laughing stock and liability in their communities. Most graduates are now object of mockery in their community because of unemployment. My country today is characterized with high percentage of dependant graduates due to corruption and mismanagement of the nation’s natural resources by our economic and political leaders who have turned themselves to our colonial masters.

Our leaders would always hide under one fallacious premise that ‘Nigeria graduates are not employable’ to justify the ills they have created in our country. This statement is the most grievous false statement from the pit of hell I have ever heard. Nigeria graduates are intelligent, innovative and creative but our government has failed to create the enabling environment for them to express and exhibit their talents. They only need motivation and the right platform to act. Create a palatable atmosphere for an average Nigerian graduate (HND/Degree), he will break world records.

Each day that passes, instead of our government to do the proper thing to create employment opportunities for its avalanche army of unemployed youths, they are busy justifying their failures with their fallacious claims. What have the government done to improve the educational system in this country?

Workplace racism is a new apartheid tactics Nigerian economic colonial masters have adopted to further pauperize the Nigeria workforce specifically using the polytechnic graduates as their pilot test. This tactics has over the years prevailed without been questioned by the Nigerian government and thus they now recently extended the trend to degree holders (I carefully choose to use degree holders because of the abuse and the irrational generalization of university graduates as B Sc holders by Nigeria Organisations without minding that the university awards various categories of first degrees in different fields of human endeavours for instance we have - BA, B Sc, B Ed, B Tech, etc) in the banks. Hence casualization and contract employment is no longer the ills/cross left for polytechnic graduates alone to bear.

At independence on October 1, 1960, we shouted for joy, that the white men who had held us captive for decades have finally set us free. We hoped for a good life, we thought since our black fellow Nigerians have taken over the government, they would provide us with good living standard, better condition of employment etc, but little did we know that we are jumping from frying pan to fire. Little did we know that our black Nigerian brothers would later metamorphous and turn themselves into our new colonial masters. Little did we know that they would later enslave us politically and economically yet again. Little did we know that we were going into another round of severe colonization. Little did we know that they would continue to create atmosphere of disunity, dichotomy, segmentalism, sectionalism, nepotism, tribalism, favourism, superiority and inferiority complex etc in order to further their unending quest for political and economic reign. One of the aftermaths of these ills created by our leaders is the irrational dichotomy between HND certificate & Degree Certificate threatening to render HND holders economically useless.

The Nigeria Government and society have not been fair to the Polytechnics and its products. Polytechnic graduates have been a subject of public ridicule and mockery by big private organizations as regards their employment policies. They have been stagnated, stigmatized and extremely victimized in their own fatherland that it thus looks as if it is now a taboo to have acquired Polytechnic education. HND certificate has been treated with utmost scorn. They are looked upon as ‘academic never do well’ and ‘scholastically inferior cum academic out casts’. Meanwhile, it takes averagely a minimum of 5 years (all things remain constant) with vigorous academic and industrial experience to acquire HND certificate while it takes averagely 4 years (all things remain constant) with academic work and with little or no industrial experience to acquire a degree certificate, yet HND certificate is down played upon and treated as inferior to a degree holder. This to me is an aberration of the highest order.

Stories abounds that majority of our education policy makers who claimed to have schooled abroad only went to some mushroom schools there; School that do not even have standard facilities like a standard Polytechnic in Nigeria. Worst still was that most of them even did part time studies there. They returned home to begin to make discriminatory educational policies which are directly opposite of what is obtainable in the western world. We cowardly accept their proposals because Nigeria is a country suffering from inferiority complex. Hence anything outside Nigeria is superior to what is obtainable within the country. Thus we grade degree certificate acquired from a glorified mushroom secondary school abroad above the degree certificate from the best University in Nigeria. I weep for my country!

My questions are, what taboo/sin has the polytechnic and its products committed against Nigerian government and organizations that can not be forgiven? Where have the polytechnic graduates erred and even if they have erred, can’t they be forgiven, given the fact that Nigeria is renowned by her religious activities? Why is it that employers of labour in this country are so much determined to render polytechnic graduate employees in their system perpetually stagnated? Why are the banks so vigorously at the forefront of rendering polytechnic graduates economically useless? Apartheid they say is a crime against humanity; can’t workplace apartheid be collectively condemned by government/stakeholders and discarded?

I will conclude by leaving Nigerians with this thought of James Allens in his book ‘As a man thinketh so is he’ “here is an employer who adopts crooked measures to avoid paying fair wages, and in the hope of making larger profits, reduces the wages of his workers. Such a man is altogether unfitted for prosperity and when he finds himself bankrupt – both in reputation and riches – he blames circumstance, not knowing that he is the author of his condition”.
E.E. Agwu
Lagos, Nigeria

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Re: Apartheid Plague-ridden Workplace: The Agony Of A Casual Worker In Nigeria! by TI1919(m): 8:48am On Mar 07, 2015
Thank God say na elective sef

Re: Apartheid Plague-ridden Workplace: The Agony Of A Casual Worker In Nigeria! by GboyegaD(m): 8:48am On Mar 07, 2015
The society has condoned this for too long a time. Hopefully, things Wil change for the better suggest.

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