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Pragmatic, reserved and a deep thinker who loves family, sports especially football where am married to two wives: the first, AC Milan who has my loyalty and the second wife, Manchester United who has all my undying love and pampering, lifestyle and society parties. Need I say the law is more than a profession but a lifestyle for me.

Adekanye Adeyinka Olajide.

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You are here: Home / THE CHAMELEON CHANGES FOR A REASON.

THE CHAMELEON CHANGES FOR A REASON.

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Sitting on the merry-go-round in my compound relishing the cool evening breeze, I gently rolled the swing in circles. Just as I was enjoying the fresh air, the breeze must have had other hidden agendas apart from easing me of heat because a newspaper wrapped my feet and I duly picked it up with strange interest. Knowing that I am not a fan of reading newspapers due to their sycophantic dispositions, I was going to squeeze it for a dump in the bin when the date caught my attention – it was a newspaper from 1987 and this spurred my curiosity.

My desire to peruse through its contents was mainly one of contrasting with the modern day Nigerian newspaper. I wanted to know how rich the contents are and then attempt to deduce the functioning temperaments of people of that time; more like feeling the pulse of the past and find out if there were any differences with what obtains today. I was aghast to discover that the phenomenon ‘change is the only constant’ is not an ideology fully entrenched in the Nigerian ethos. Flipping through the two page leaves, I was more than fascinated at the rich and artistic writing that was on show. Thus, I meticulously read each article with rapt attention but one caught my attention; written with such panache and incredible finesse with relatable truths threaded in it.

It was an article depicting the present poor state of telecommunication service provision in Nigeria. Though written decades back when there was no GSM in the country, the writer beautifully lamented on the unreliability of the then Nigerian Telecommunication as it failed to deliver effective service efficiently to its customers. She became plaintive over unsuccessful attempts to reach Nigeria from the United Kingdom where she was resided. She had persistently tried to connect with her home country for weeks to no avail.

What I found disturbing however was the revelation of opinion of the operators she had asked to connect her in one of her frantic efforts. The first one had revealed Nigeria was not accessible at that time. She decided to give it another shot but this time around, using her British accent to feign being a white. Her plan worked and the other operator simply said that country never has its house in order, hardly get anything right, and in a tiring voice stated how fed up she was having to explain to the lots who tried to reach the country. Not being very forlorn, she persisted and finally connected.

Now, let us fast-forward this to today. Exactly 27 years after the publication of this article, the same still plays itself out in our modern Nigeria despite the arrival of a more advanced system of telephoning in the country. Indeed, almost every Nigerian carries beautiful handsets around like a baby with various network service operators preferred as providers. However, is it not a mockery that many of us carry different handsets in a bid to find a balance for our cancerous network problems?

How many times has our service providers failed to deliver the service we pay for? In fact, most times, our phones cost us more than serve us any good. There are countless times when all we need is to put a call through for a business deal, calls will just not connect, and sometimes, it is while we on phone talking on serious matters that calls suddenly end abruptly. Our phones no longer serve as a medium to save our souls when trouble strikes. I am not referring to making international calls here, I am talking about making local calls yet we find it impossible to connect, there are even times when you cannot connect to a different service provider other than ours. It is far worse during festive seasons because this is a time when networks particularly get jammed consequently making it unfeasible to reach out to any one in due time.

In my honest opinion, I think things have nosedived in terms of service provisions of telecommunication in this country. I find it preposterous that to top up our phone is a matter you might delegate as it takes days to recharge if their network is crappy. I am constantly a victim of recharging on the leading network provider and always getting failure notification, whereas if I check my balance, my account balance reflects the attempted recharge I got a failed notification! Hence, now, we cultivate the habit of not discarding our voucher cards until we are sure of the acceptance of the codes.

In fact, many Nigerians have died due to crappy network because they could not reach those who would have saved them. Even on smart phones, network disappears cutting the user from his routine life, which he has depended on to deliver his mails and job connections yet the providers breach their duty to provide reliable service and there is no one to call them to  order.

What I find more alarming is that there is no respect for customers as their customers service providers are fowl in addressing customers, lack all professional ethics, and all the benefits they pose to offer actually accrue from the exorbitant charges levied on us and are purely pseudo. Nigeria is the only country that pays so much to put a call through and get little or no substantial service in return. We pay unbelievable high rates and still do not get the service that commensurate what we pay for. Some customers who are not even conscious of their rights go as far as paying a little extra than the actual price for voucher. This present disagreeable poor state is not just, akin to what obtained then but more woeful than it ever was.

Admittedly, these network providers are conversant with these issues and also have lots of challenges to contend with ranging from poor infrastructure, lack of power supply, security just to mention a few. Nevertheless, efforts that are more conscientiously put in by operators to improve the services offered and have genuine interest to satisfy customers optimally rather than providing alternatives that only skims through the problems without addressing the roots will be appreciated.

I sure hope that someday, we can learn that the chameleon changes for a reason and not only to pretend or show signs of inferiority but also to adapt by learning that change is constant for survival. Truly, it is tormenting to be stagnant and not susceptible to change after all, the straight tree is fell first for refusing to bend to the wind. The matured branch of the palm tree gives way to a fresh one to grow so the tree can stay alive.

ADEKANUE ADEYINKA OLAJIDE.