by bimbo amole
I remember vividly the news that we always heard of embassies in Nigeria and how many of our fellow citizens spent hours, sometimes days, queuing and trying to get access for appointments for visas. I also remember the accusation that Nigerians made of some embassies in the country for their shabby treatment of Nigerian citizens. Such experiences were relayed on news sometimes and it was sure embarrassing to see what dear fellow citizens go through in the name of wanting out. I had always thought this undesirable level of service-quality from such embassies must have had to do with the ever-increasing pressure for visa request. This thought was also reinforced when one saw some embassies here in Italy where there were not so many people to attend to, and all was orderly, neat and perfect.
However, it was rather a shock when I visited our own embassy in Rome. This is Nigerian embassy itself, it is not for another country. But I tell you, any Nigerian citizen with a sense of shame and national honour will lower his head at such panorama at our very embassy. A situation of chaos, people crowded into a hall, standing about , mere screws remaining where chairs were meant to be, noise more than that found in the market, clamour for attention and general rush. In such a developed country as Italy where ways of doing things better are not wanton, it surely left an impression of disorder and backwardness. It was quite embarrassing and called for the anguish-rendering question “is disorderliness and maladministration a symptom of our nation?”
I mean, this is not just about the embassy here but about the general way we handle things in spite of huge resources, human and material, at our disposal. Many of our leaders are very exposed and knowledgeable. They travel far and wide and they know the ought and the correct. Most of them even have investments abroad! Yet back home they do almost the very opposite of these. Meanwhile while abroad they enjoy all these facilities and comport themselves as required. But back home and in Nigerian establishment like the one in discuss, it seems such should never be replicated. It should always be a situation of disorder. Nothing should work right. It would be something out of place, for instance, to have constant supply of electricity. A working trans-city transport system would be a luxury. A simple, orderly and conscientious manner of handling things must be limited to other nations! Even simple seats, clean environment and orderly administration is an impossibility!!
This is what I felt in witnessing such a rowdy situation in the embassy of my country. An European gentleman who probably came for a visa or another business simply stood somewhere aside, looking on. I am sure he must have wondered what the chaos was about and if this was a society of people. It would surely give some wrong peep into the country for which he probably was seeking a visa. Or maybe a right peep!
I do believe we can do better and call on the authorities to effect a change of this scenario and similar ones within and outside the country. We deserve to be able to lift up our faces in some consolation of the fact that the wrong is not necessarily Nigerian. We may have the exceptive situation of an externally- radicalized Muttalab which shames all of us, but at least our common National image should not be soiled with the mud of mediocrity.