| 13 December 2016
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SERIES: BUHARISM AND THE FIERCE URGENCY OF NOW
Treatise on Customer-centrism...how to start putting customers first in Nigerian offices, both in the public and the private sectors.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
- Bill Gates
HOW CALLS AND COMPLAINTS ARE GENERALLY HANDLED IN BRITAIN, WHERE THE NIGERIA HIGH COMISSION IS LOCATED
What is more, in a world faced with security threats, these three officials cared less about my identity - introducing myself, in addition to their refusal to give me their names. Also, I did not think I heard a thing like: "....this call may be recorded for quality and training purpose" or "Your call is in the queue and a member of our team will be available to attend to you as soon as possible" or "If you are unable to stay in the queue, you could drop and we will call you on your number in 7, 9 or ten minutes!" Or such other recorded messages as in all offices in advanced societies, where from the Nigeria High Commission operates: "...Your call is important to us and will be answered shortly"..."Sorry your call is not being answered. A member of our team will be available soon", and following with a background soothing music - or "Please continue to hold. A member of our team will be available shortly."
Although the third official appeared much better and showed some level of understanding, explaining some procedures, but it was very much like he was in fact, running after Noah's Ark!
How do you get rid of a person you think does not matter your attention? Give him a wrong number and he will let you be.
But what conversation did I hear at the background? They were in fact, gossiping, which is more important to them at the High Commission than attending to serious matters. He gave me a wrong number and lied that was the direct line to the Immigration Office, even though I told him, I had the Immigration Office number and had rung them too, to no avail!
He promised he would give me a different number, which is: 02079308566 and when I rang the number, embarrassingly, one Emma Clarke picked the phone and told me it was a wrong number, adding the number does not belong to THE NIGERIA IMMIGRATION OFFICE, in London, but a charity she works with called: JOHN ELLERMAN FOUNDATION!
But why was I so fooled by this official of the Nigeria High Commission in London? Why was I taken for a joke? Why were a people meant to be serving their compatriots in a foreign land so bullish, cantankerous, imperious, arrogant, nonchalant, very deceitful, so lax, very unserious, magisterial and thorougly without the needed zeal, enthusiasm and patriotic mindset to serve their fatherland?
But do the officials of the Nigeria High Commission know exactly why they are all here as not a single Nigerian and friends of Nigeria who has ever had dealings with them has anything positive to say about them? The impression their compatriots generally have about them is that they see themselves simply as being here to make money and do all to bring their relatives down to the United Kingdom.
PAYMENT: HOW MR AMINU, HEAD OF PASSPORT SNUBBED MY CALL FOR HELP WHEN EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTY DURING PAYMENT
Payments for transactions online globally speaking, do come with a great degree of difficulty and risk due, majorly to the very serious security precautionary measures often adopted by all businesses - organizations and institutions, hence in all of the institutions in the West, excepting those owned by persons of African ancestry, especially Nigerians, always on hand are specially trained staff who would take a customer through step by step as they are about to make payment to prevent them from getting it wrong and falling prey to online sharks that abound these days.
Apart from being internet/tech savvy, the three cardinal virtues that personnel receiving money online on behalf of their organizations must have are:
In putting staff to take payments or guide customers who want to make payments online, companies, organizations and institutions have at the back of their minds the very fact that not all their customers are internet savvy, and not all of them have access to the internet, so rely on cyber cafes, where the risks of being easily defrauded by fraudsters that had inside collaborations, had cloned the websites of the organizations to which payments are being made.
And the case of Nigeria, especially anything relating to Nigerians, such risks are very, very high, coupled with the fact that even though, being here in the United Kingdom, not many a Nigerian has access to the internet, not many a Nigerian in the UK are internet savvy, hence they mostly rely on cyber cafes - this explains why you will undoubtedly find a preponderance of internet cafes in the so-called black and ethnic minority areas and I know this not as a conjecture, but because I had personally carried out academic researches in these areas - both amongst these income and cultural groups in multicultural, multi-lingual Britain.
This is where hindsight in strategic planning comes in; this is where it requires His Excellency, the Acting High Commissioner to come in; this is why it requires all those arrogant duds at the High Commission, who merely delight in their so-called "Minister" title to come in, but they are just empty and mere dunder heads, destitute of ideas like their President back home including all the nation's economic managers as led by the quack Professor Yemi Oluleke Osinbajo, who were it not for hereditary privilge has no business coming a trillion kilometres close to the corridor of power - and let the word go forth from my Observatory here in the UK again and again, to this our PROFESSOR GUGURU, pioneer of Guguruology, that he's better off doing eye-service and dobaleing (Yoruba for prostrating) for and in the shrine of the so-called Daddy G.O. - where it looks he will be more useful to the gullible Nigerians in low and high places seeking miracles.
At miracle centres you don't need to use your head or put on your thinking cap, but merely verbalise nonsense and get transported to the realm of the mediums to hoodwink your clients, making them part with their hard-earned money, and as for Government officials at all levels, part with their stolen money, with which they think they can bribe God. But the scripture says: BE NOT DECEIVED, GOD IS NOT MOCKED, WHATEVER A PERSON SOWS THAT THEY SHALL REAP!
And because no one at the NIGERIA LOW COMMISSION in London (NLC) cares; because no one gives a damn and like good-for-nothing Jonathan and BABA DAURA, they all never give a damn, hence the rot and evil at the Low Commission, where they treat their fellow Nigerians like lepers, beggars and feces!
Because all at the so-called High Commission and their ilk, the nation's EVIL SERVANTS are merely interested in defrauding their fatherland by way of collecting monthly salaries for doing no work, Nigerians wanting to pay for their passports are left unattended to and as an official of OIS revealed to me: "I don't know why they are there and what they are doing there? Oga, because they are not doing their jobs, people seeking passports/visas have been putting us here under undue pressure. People keep phoning us here because they can't get them and they can't get anyone to help them out when they have problems wanting to pay, including the problems they have been having with their Application ID, which are usually the 8-digits generated by the computer, but refused by the website during payments which requires just 7-digits! Oga, e good as you dey go there for interview, make you help us tell them to sit up because dem dey pass their work to us here - and this is too much for us here to cope. People keep coming to us with various problems and we dey tell them always, here no be Nigeria High Commission...we are just agents."
Again, I ask: who owns the OIS?
I had been told reliably that many people did have problems paying online, yet nothing has ever been done by THE NIGERIA LOW COMMISSION.
Sensing I too might have problems paying online, I decided to reach out to the Nigerians at the Low Commission - the reader must not forget that I should sooner prefer being dragged to the pilory for execution for no offence at all, at all, than wanting in any least way to have anything to do with the 'Church Elders' - Deacons and Deaconesses and their 'imams' - serkis, mullahs, alfas and Hisbahs counterparts including other rubbish that abounds at the Low Commission, but I was forced to again be in touch with them, even though if I'm given the whole yearly budgets of Western nations to just go near the Low Commission 50 million kilometres for the fun of it and collect the mouth-watery sums - in actually, a saner person would choose hell than go to the so-called Nigeria High Commission ordinarily, for it is simply rubbish, and all are simply rubbish there!
But my passport renewal project forced me to be in contact with them against my wish. Had I an option, I would like Socrates go for hemlock!
On the day I phnoned, November the 14th, 2016, as usual, I had to go round including emergency - guess what, the so-called emergency travel number "3" to press just any number and not a soul responded, yet the Nigeria Low Commission has like Lying Lai Mohammed lied to the whole world that the said number is for emergency travel!
After going round and round, round and and round, I mean really meandering round and round and turning all corner-corners as if I were part of the Abuja Brukutu Drinkers Club (ABDC) in full speed swerving from side to side with every passenger on the BABA DAURA EXPRESS demanding their 'change', but without their knowing, the drivers are not only drunk, but completely deaf and it was 'Deaconess' Tina, like Asase Yaa, the Ashanti earth godddess or should I say, the priestess of Agbala - the oracle of the hills and the caves in Igbo land, who came and pushed me into the darkest valley of NO SOLUTIONS!
'Deaconess' Tina gave me the impression each time her brains could not contain more than ABC or 1, 2, 3! All my explanations fell on her deaf ears, even though I had again and again and again told her my filled form had been accepted and I wanted to pay, but having difficulty doing so. She kept saying to me: "If you want to apply for a passport, go online...if you want to apply for passport, go online!" For God's sake, why keep such a robbot on the frontline at international level?
As I no longer was out to put up with her very short span of attention, I pleaded with her: "My sister, could you please call me a senior person?"
Those conversant with the Nigerian mindset, even an office boy thinks he has all the answers and solutions to all the queries that would normally arise in the office he works, even problems of the technical nature - and when you demand to see a senior person, his very warped mindset and fragile ego would tell him, you are trying to bypass him, and to prevent this from happening, he 'mounts' roadblock immediately and tells you: Our Director is not on seat. But as soon as you take the dishonourable path of offering him 'kola', suddenly, his boss would be dropped in the office magically by some invisible prayer warriors from Enoch Adejare's, David Oyedepo's, Tunde Bakare's, Mike Okonkwo's, Ayo OritseJETfor's, Chris Oyakhilome's, Chris Okotie's and, the new juju boy, Apostle Akan Wicked (Weeks), the holy Bishop-Marshall of Akwa Ibom's CHURCHTERPRISES, all of who have now taken over Nigerian offices and competing with one another ferrociously as they announce to their very gullible Nigerian/African customers, both actual and prospective: DON'T GO TO THEIR CHURCHES, COME TO OUR OWN MEGA CHURCH; OUR CHURCH IS BIGGER AND RICHER THAN THEIRS!
'Deaconess' Tina wears this arrogancy, but I just had to let her know politely, both of us are not communicating, and I would indeed, need a senior person to handle my query - only then did her majesty reluctantly went to call one Mr Aminu, she said is the head of Passport, but 'Sultan' Aminu, the 'Sultan' of the Nigeria High Commission in London, would not have anything to do with a talakawa like me, just as emirs in the Northern States of Nigeria, would have nothing to do with the Almajiris and all the talakawas that dot the Northern Nigerian lanscapes, whom their royal Highnesses merely take delight in throwing coins into their begging bowls and asking their Dogaris (Hausa for palace guards) to coordinate the pouring of akamu/ogi (pap) into their dirty-flies-attracting plates, just to assuage their consciences for ill-treating them, sending their own very children including under-aged to expensive schools all over Western nations, whilst they send the children of the talakawas to do jihad - reciting koran, cutting people's heads, killing, maiming, stealing and destroying the properties of the Kafirs and Abeeds in addition to their deflowering of the under-aged girls of the age ranges of 12, 13 and 14, particularly the Christian talakawa under-aged, and the UNICEF just do watch excitedly as these emirs backed by Chindo Yamusa II, mess up with these under-aged!
When 'Deaconess' Tina resurfaced, with the message of 'emir' Aminu, the 'Sultan' of the Nigeria High Commission, she in her characteristic nonchalance announced to me in a manner of someone rushing back to put out a house on fire: "He said you should go ahead to apply."
Before 'Deaconess' Tina dashed off the scene, there was not in her the usual courtesy of: "Is there anything else I can do for you before transferring your call?" "Is there anything I can do for you before dropping?" The type of courtesies common over here in Western offices!
Out of another round of frustration, I returned to the Nigeria Immigration Service and managed to get a fellow who would not give me his name, but asked me to print the application ID or take a snap shot of it using my mobile and bring it to the passport office and pay in person.
I told him I was having difficulty printing it with my printer and he suggested I take a snap shot and bring it to the Immigration office and I replied: "The memory of my camera is full and I cannot add new images to it and he snapped like an alsasian dog: "That's all I can do for you!"
He dropped without a warning, without the slightest courtesy as of a man operating in a maturer economy and polity. On the whole, I spent half-an-hour on this - 15 minutes going round and round offices, without anyone answering my calls on all available options, 0 - 7, plus 4 minutes 'Deaconess Tina' had kept me online unattented to, trying to get His Royal Highness, Lord Aminu, the super emir of the High Commission to speak to me, which he never deigned to 'show face', putting it plainly in a Nigerian expression.
A senior civil servant serving in a foreign land in an international environment such as Great Britain, did not consider it necessary to speak to someone bringing money into the coffers of his employers and spend a few minutes helping him out. Can you now see in action, what I call the NIGERIAN/AFRICAN MINDSET?
Can you now see the reasoning ability of a Nigerian senior official in the face of money coming into the economy of his country and his attitude to it at a time when his country's economy lies prostrate on the ground, needing such drops from all around the world in addition to those coming from home?
Can you now see the priority attention of a senior official of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the National Priority Pyramid (NPP)?
The last option left to me was to turn to my bank, where my readers would now see that the difference between Africans, Nigerians particularly, and the rest of the world is not anthropological in any least way, but simply in the mindset/attitude.
With my bank, the reader again is invited to rate the enthusiasm, attitude (mindset), quality of service (customer service and care), professionalism, quality of training given to frontline staff in the West with EMPATHY as the cornerstone of customer-centrism and if any at all, as it concerns my compatriots with all the ingredients of excellent and great customer service such as empathy, professionalism, listening ears, commitment, dedication, decency, respect for customers, decorum including taking a closer look at the orientaion/battered psyche of all persons of African ancestry in comparison with the rest of the world.
Ms Aga Dul who represented Natwest, my bankers was simply primus inter pares. I did not tell her any story other than letting her know I was having difficulty paying online on another website, not Natwest's. This offers a sure excuse for your Nigerian/African person to immediately dismiss you, and thinks you are about something else, adding SEE ME, SEE TROUBLE-O, if you want to pay on another website, WETIN COME CONCERN BONGA FISH WITH OKPROKO...IF NA TRUE-TRUE, why you no come phone the people wey you want pay money into their account and you dey come disturb person...shooooo?!
Can the whole world now use this very simple matter to judge the paucity of the African mind/wisdom - in short, THE AFRICAN MINDSET. Can we thus, use this simple test case therefore, to conclude that poverty in Africa, is first and foremost, a clear manifestation of the poverty of the African mind, or we should wait until the day of the Lord?
Ms Dul, a staff of Natwest Bank here in the United Kingdom gave me a whole 1 hour/5 minutes, whereas, Nigerians, my compatriots, brothers sisters and friends could not give me a second of their time as they always do, especially whenever you are fortunate/unfortunate to get them on the phone or meet them on-one-on-one, coupled with their crass arrogance and a stupid display of their emptiness, they give you that trademark impression that they are trying to run away from a lion chasing them, so does not have a moment to spare. But what are they always hurrying to do? To gossip, of course!
It was only when the £84.65 had gone out of my account into the account of the agent of the Nigeria High Commission - INNOVATE that I told Ms Dul the whole story about who we are - I mean without apologies, we Africans!
I was frank with Ms Dul, letting it beknown to her the reason why resource-rich Africa is backward and poor is not anthropological cum biological - a matter of their culture and skin, but just their very warped mindset as exemplified in my experiences with the Nigeria Low Commission officials since September 2016, trying to kick-start the process of renewing my passport!
In fact, 'Deaconness' Tina took it upon herself to lecture me on when I ought to have begun the process of renewing my passport.
"If your passport is expiring on November 23, 2016, you ought to have started six months to the time," said she."
*To be continued.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Odey Aduma was formely Executive Secretary, Foundry Association of Nigeria; Southern Coordinator of President Muhammadu Buhari's pastoralists NGO - THE PASTORAL RESOLVE; Chairman, Editorial Board of the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc; member, National Committee for the Nigerian Youth Festival, 1993; member, core Committee of the National Tecnology Summit and was the Summit's chairman for two of its sub-committees - Publicity and Exhibition, 1998; member of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by President Olusegun Obasanjo to investigate the illegal trade in and smuggling of endagered species of wild fauna and flora into and out of Nigeria, 2003.
He was the Chairman, Planning Committee of the General Murtala Muhammed Memorial Lecture for two consecutive years, 2001 and 2002 before it attained a Foundation status in 2002, having first been upgraded to that status in 2001. General Murtala Muhammed was one of Nigeria's former Heads of State killed in the abortive coup led by the then Colonel Buka Suka Dimka on February 13, 1976.
That same capacity saw Mr Aduma delivering huge succcesses during the Daily Times of Nigeria's 75th Anniversary (in which he raked in N6, 000, 000 into the coffers of the Daily Times of Nigeria Plc) and also, playing a similar role in a similar capacity during Dr Isma'il Babatunde Jose's 75th Birth Day. Dr Jose, doyen of Nigerian journalism was Mr Aduma's personal mentor. That relationship was so close and solid such that whilst Aduma was leaving the shores of Nigeria for Britain in 2003, Dr Jose gave him N10, 000.00.
In 1992, Mr Aduma's contributions to journalism was recognised with the awards of the Nigeria Media Merit Award as the Investigative Reporter of the Year and the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence as the Reporter of the Year, and the British Chevening Scholarship, which saw him studying International Journalism at City University of London in 2003-2004, with specialism in Environment.
He is the author of the inspirational best-seller, THE DIAMONDS ARE HERE and the founder of Vigilance, the World's Leading Security Magazine and Scorpion News Corp, in addition to founding the Nationalists Unity Movement of Nigeria (NUMON).
God bless our Nigeria.
The Voice of One Crying from the Diaspora...
*Proudly leading the NATIONALISTS UNITY MOVEMENT OF NIGERIA (NUMON).