Nigerians have a penchant for excuses. We manufacture them like it’s going out of fashion. We have excuses for everything. We excuse everything. It is almost an unwritten part of our culture.
It is not surprising therefore that people in government gleefully take advantage of our knack for making excuses. They make promises that they have zero intention of keeping. And they have little cause for worry, because the citizens will gladly make excuses for them. Excuses have become our sorry lot.
One would think that businesses would be an exception, that they would models of efficiency and reliability. Unfortunately, they are not. In Nigeria, businesses make excuses with the best of them. They make excuses about why they can’t provide service and why their product won’t work as advertised. They even make excuses about why they are making excuses.
Someone reading this would have visited a business premises with a sign outside at the carpark that reads: ‘parking at owners’ risk.’ What? Yes! The idea is to have an excuse in case…
It is also to absolve themselves of any… okay, you get the general idea.
In their operations, businesses in Nigeria now shamelessly use any and everything for excuse; people, material and now technology.
Take technology. Across the world, technology is helping businesses operate more efficiently, improve productivity and boost growth. Technology enables businesses to better provide services.
In Nigeria, the contrary is the case. Technology is the biggest reason for lack of service. It’s now an infernal cause and sometimes curse. This is how it is phrased: ’no service’.
How many times have you visited an ATM and seen these words ‘no service’. Or you are trying to fill an online form and there is no service. Or maybe you could not conclude that online transaction because there was ‘no service.’
Businesses cannot be businesses anymore because there is ‘no service.’
It gets worse. The management of these businesses doesn’t appear to see the irony. They talked, sometimes a little too loudly, about how much they are investing in cutting edge technology. Technology that is supposed to make operations smoother, faster and more cost effective is now the very reason why services cannot be provided.
No, it’s not madness. It’s just the way we are. Excuses matter too much. Rather than fix the problem, we make excuses and conveniently blame it on ICT. ‘No service’ so we can’t provide service.
Many of us have spent long hours in the banking hall of a bank because of ‘no service’. Then the manager comes out and almost proudly announces ‘network is down’.
The point is that excuses are not always a good thing. As John L. Mason noted, “When you’re good at making excuses, it’s hard to excel at anything else.”
This is not the way to go.
Let there be a service not excuses. Yes, embrace technology, but ensure it works.
The onus is on businesses to ensure that they deploy extremely reliable and safe systems ab initio. The systems should have multiple layers of redundancy and availability, thus ensuring durability. In addition, they should be designed with inbuilt redundancies, fail over mechanisms and multiple route paths to ensure maximum uptime. And most importantly, the system has to be monitored 24/7 using automated tools and supervised by an experienced network operating centre (NOC) team.
Agreed, there will be times when in spite of every precaution the system fails. But such times should be the exception rather than the rules.
Enough of ‘no service’. Let there be a service!
Elvis Eromosele, Chief Content Officer at De Royale Hall Resources, an Educational, Research and Content development firm.