It has been very funny, and I must commend the Channels TV staff for
controlling themselves and not bursting into laughter like we all did
When Mr. Shem Obafaiye, with all his mannerism and demonstration
pointed his index finger towards the floor and said wwwdotnsdc…
coughs…looks at the interviewers and says " that's all". If you were a
TV personality, would you have laughed or not? Personally, I wouldn't
have controlled my laughter, as I rolled on the floor when I first
watched the video; but I think, the TV personalities who interviewed
him, were able to see beyond the comic elements embedded in the man's
failure, and decided not to laugh. I think, they also saw the
possibility of many of us, even them, the interviewers, committing
almost the same blunder even on a national Television. It's possible.
It can happen; hence, we shouldn't miss the point.
It's unfortunate that Mr. Shem, now "shame", out of his negligence for
common IT knowledge has been made a scape-goat by irate young and old
Nigerians who believe that the civil service and other government
agencies are characteristically defined by square pegs in round holes.
Yes, our action is quite understandable, and I blame Mr. Shem, for
allowing the ill-luck of his name embarrass him in public, yet we must
try not to miss the point completely.
Yes, we must laugh, but with caution. If we laugh too much, we miss
the point and we may never try to put ourselves in Mr. Shem's
position. If you laugh too much, you may never ask yourself this
question " What if I was Mr. Shem, his son, daughter or his wife?"
I'm sure Mr. Shem really never thought that the interview was going to
go in this direction, but unfortunately, he was trapped in the
question of telling the world NSDC's official website, and maybe
because it was probably his first TV interview which was obvious, he
goofed. What if he had told the interviewers that he would provide the
website details in due course? What if one of his aides beside the
camera was intelligent enough to have quickly passed a paper across to
him when the camera palms away? Who knows, the aides too may not have
had the website details with them. We would have had little to talk
about, if Mr. Shem had considered those options. This is to say that
many of us in the civil service may have been confronted with similar
challenges, even though; it may never have been on a national
I'm not a lefty, I don't just take a left turn because many are on the
right turn, but I take a left turn only when I see from a very
objective point of view.
I heard some people are already calling for the sack of the suspended
NSDC commandant and I smile, because they have already missed the
point. Why calling for his sack in the first place? We have all
laughed, we have all cracked our ribs, we have used Mr. Shem's blunder
to prepare ourselves in case of our own time, and we are almost
missing the point.
Which Director in the Civil service today can give his or her web
address without consulting the IT officer he/she works with? This does
not mean that Mr. Shem did not goof though, but the point is that even
while laughing and making all sorts of jokes, sack should not come
close to the joke.
The abstract of that small version of the interview, which has
overshadowed the rest of the interview, says more about who Mr. Shem
is. It simply indicates that Mr. Shem is not a man who can give up
over issues. He couldn't have put it straight to the Channel's staff
of his ignorance, hence he kept shouting "waiteeee" just a way of
telling them " guys overlook this question, so we can proceed with the
interview" but the personalities, like Mr. Shem goofed as well. They
kept insisting. Too bad. To have attempted to give a wrong answer
after they had insisted made him a gallant civil defence officer. He
never gave up. His continuous reference to the "oga at the top", even
with those funny-funny gestures was an obvious sign of loyalty.
Because of his very limited IT knowledge, he might have thought that
only the oga at the top had the right to announce the NSCD website. He
wanted to avoid contradiction and misinformation, yet he was nailed.
There will be no justification if Mr. Shem is relieved of his job. We
will be missing the point if such extreme action is taken. Before we
call for his sack, we should try to publicly ask other people in
similar positions, the same question and see if they will not say " my
oga at the top" too. He happens to have been the first known victim.
Such happens every day. People fail simplest questions, and pass the
difficult ones because they prepare more on what they think would be
likely questions. In the first place, you cannot say exactly why he
was made a Commandant. IT knowledge, or NSDC website may never have
been one of the criteria. He may have been ignoring the website for
bigger and better assignments, leaving that to his media unit to
handle, hence he cannot be sacked as he has not committed any sackable
offence as far as I can see.
We will miss the point if we begin to call for his sack, instead of
calling for the sack of looters and thieves in government agencies. Do
you know how many times even Presidents, Governors, and Managing
Directors committed blunders on national TV? Maybe, you didn't watch,
or maybe, they didn't accompany theirs with some gestures, and they
didn't say "my oga at the top" because they are the ogas themselves.
You can't sack a man because he failed an interview question. There is
a standard in the civil service, which we must all adhere to. We must
stop agitating for his sack, as it maybe you tomorrow, and who knows,
yours may be "oga under, oga behind or oga beside"