It would probably require a thorough going social research to establish how and why the simplest things elsewhere turn impossible in Nigeria. Does it happen like that because the system is run by a rule-of-the-thumb oriented people or because Nigerians are just undisciplined and rowdy? It should be an interesting research without which off-handed answers would not do.
Nigerians were asked to obtain their National Identity Card numbers so as to link their phone number and avoid getting cut off. That seems a straight forward or routine civil operation though with barometric/surveillance implications in the hands of a degenerate state. But that is not the problem yet. The problem that has now emerged on the first day of the exercise is that it ran into a hitch across the country.
Information from some observant participants in the Abuja area this morning and in media outlets so far shows that people had been queuing since about 3 am. There were like 200-300 people inside already. So these people outside in the above cover picture have no chance of getting inside to be attended on the first day. They might only be able to do that on the second day or next.
That was the response when one of those on the line called an official at NIMC.
That is to say that anyone desirous of obtaining his or her National Identity Card has to leave every other thing for two days to get it if not more.
The more serious problem is the way people have lined up so tightly that brings up the risk of Covid-19 transmission, especially the newer version said to be more easily transmitted.
Yet, there is a two-week deadline to beat. How was two-weeks estimated to be adequate for the exercise and by whom?
Though not a matter for blaming anyone yet unless some kind of immediate action is not taken but the reality raises a question mark on calculability in Nigeria’s national processes. The question bears repeating as to how a very routine exercise as this or updating voters’ register and so on become complicated when that is not the case in many other countries? Is it the demographic profile of Nigeria or the nature of the Nigerians or a crisis of a perfunctory bureaucracy? Could also be that the Nigerian State is always guilty of ill-timing in handling these sort of exercises?