“So, we need to award XYZ contract to a capable contractor. If you have any potential candidates, please have them send in their portfolios to — ”
“Oga Chairman, leave that thing. For this project I have just the man. He’s my brother. You will really like his work”.
I imagine this scenario happens in some form or the other ad nauseam at various levels of our society. From government agencies, private firms and even houses of worship, there’s always someone getting recommended for a job on a sentimental basis.
In fact, some people have even said that this is why our dear old Nigeria isn’t “moving forward”. Things should be done based on merit and the fact that we put in “brotherly sentiment” into almost everything, is why we are where we are.
This brotherly sentiment, coupled with our extremely heterogeneous society can sometimes make for a rather explosive mix. To cite a fairly recurring example, all the times a sitting President of the country has been accused of showing favouritism to a particular region in terms of appointments.
Well, today, I’m going to play devil’s advocate a little. How possible exactly, is a true meritocracy. In fact is such a thing even possible at all? I, personally don’t think so.
Meritocracy basically means that the selection process for something, anything, be based on the who is most qualified rather than on any other external factors such as who they know or what car they drove to the interview. In other words, based on merit.
My view is that having something on merit is a little difficult in real life because, as humans we are almost always biased. We can’t really make truly objective decisions because we are almost always tampered by previous experience or something someone has told us, etcetera.
In my opinion, the problem we have isn’t so much that people suggest their brother (or sister, go feminism!) for a job. The problem, rather, is that there are absolutely no consequences to the “brother bringer” when said brother fails to deliver on the job. After all, “no be do am” the bringer will retort when asked about his incompetent brother. This is actually a symptom of a greater problem we have as a society.
Collectively, we seem to have very short memories. People who do terrible and heinous things are ostracized for a brief while and then all of a sudden we’re back to singing their praises. Or people who said certain things or made certain promises aren’t held to their word in any way, shape or form. Not even greeted with mild distrust.
We’re in a society where a reputation seems to mean absolutely nothing. I think it’s high time we made sure that people’s reputation precedes them and affects our judgements. That way, we’ll all make sure that the “brother” we’re bringing can actually perform.
Image Credits: Google