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Opinion | Open Letter – Misplaced Access

Nigerians are happy people they say, spending more than an estimated 40billion naira yearly

on champagne and parties. This may be attributed to the fact that the problems are too

much, we make jokes of them daily, or that the problems are so rampant, we just pretend

they are nonexistent. In reality, we have no true reasons to be happy.

It got to our notice that the Access Bank staff prepared a farewell party for their outgoing

MD, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. Modest as it may be, we are infuriated by the series of events

that occurred. The extravagant spending of a company perceived to have sacked 200 top

staff to cut budget, in bringing an out-of-prime American R&B singer to the tune of 200

million naira. That a financial body, trusted and charged with the responsibility of protecting

citizens finance, goes on such an appalling, unsupervised spending spree.

It is the same banking sector that gives loans to the corrupt, and none to those with good

intentions. Nigeria does not invest in ideas, dreams and visions that can yield long-term

benefits; they invest solely in profit. I can only say that Access Bank is committed to

withholding people’s money, and not solving people’s needs. I read the report of the Access

Bank Corporate Social Responsibility of 2011. On page 5, it clearly stated therein that Access

Bank supports “global efforts at addressing extreme poverty through the development of

products and services aimed at financial inclusion. Given that a large number of people are

still either under-banked or unbanked, there is a significantly low level of financial literacy

and poor access to information is apparent.” Going ahead to capitalize on this lack of

information rather than investing in communities only goes to buttress this point. No one

committed to solving problems goes to such wasteful lengths.

How are people expected to find investors to start businesses and solve social problems,

when there is an obvious adamance to social needs? Where financial institutions would

rather give short term loans for immediate benefits rather than long term loans towards

strategic benefits, hoping and expecting to acquire your properties. Where majority of the

staff, were not permitted to attend their “end of the year bash”. From my personal research,

Access Bank has one of the least ratings in employee and customer satisfaction.

We live in a time where all eyes are on our country, and obviously not for any laudable

reasons. Such actions portray the Nigerian business sector, and economy to be nonstrategic

and unserious. This nonchalance is the reason why possible alien investors will remain at

arm’s length. Why we would hardly grow as a nation. The people remain overwhelmed by

such actions; they cannot see what is really happening. That the people are so used to

corruption, they are now blinded to it.

How did we all lose ourselves? It portrays a poverty of ambition, when all you think of is

what goods you can buy, rather than what good you can do.

Some of this blame goes to unproductive use of the Nigerian social media. Those who see

social media as a tool for entertainment only, go around finding incomprehensible positivity

to such atrocities. Where even the US media are unhappy with Mariah Carey for performing

at a country they describe as the “center of the world’s email financial crimes”.

Why won’t Nigerians want to travel out in search of greener pastures when they see the

hopelessness in a system where it is said that the land is green? If any change is to be

effected, it should come from private sector collaborations, and not governments alone.

In the midst of all the negative criticism we already face, we do not need more reasons for

the world to continue to write us off as backward and incompetent.

When you let marketing and sales run a company, rather than those who have the vision for

making change, then there is a loss of foresight and continuity. That said, business leaders

and citizens of this great nation need to reflect and ponder on these questions: WHY do you

do the things you do? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? WHY does your company

exist? And WHY should anyone care?

We believe in Nigeria, and we will strive with true purpose to make our country a better

place.

 

For my team,

Kaycee Kosara Chidi.

Fixer.

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