Two years ago, December 2014, i finished my vocational training course in sewing and fashion design. I trained in a centre owned by the women’s Alleviation of Poverty, WAPA. we had one very good tutor and one terrible, morally delinquent one. One was male, one was female. Asides from being terrible at sewing and designing, she was the head tutor for the fashion department. Almost certainly got the job without been qualified for it. Because she wasn’t. She couldn’t even use the machine. At least, if you want to give someone a job by connection, let the person be qualified!
The only times she was active was in group assignments. For These ones she would state exactly what she wanted, expecting the very best materials to be used at women’s alleviation of POVERTY. These group assignments were meant to be kept by the school for exhibitions at events they were invited to; She sold them and lined her pockets with the money. She also tried to push a couple of us to sleeping with a tutor in another department, and later on, one of us to a mam she wanted to win a contract to sewing a security team’s uniform, commenting that we were not sharp when we refused. She is married with kids. I don’t think it will be out of way to suggest the husband do a full body sweep for STDs. Once, the school was invited to a fashion week at the Oriental hotel. The government released forty thousand naira, that we might attend two days. So, twenty for each… To cover transit to and fro, lunch hand a little pocket money. Mrs. STDs decided to pick only sixteen people, eight for each day rather than everyone.
She then hired a cab, hagglinv with him for an hour to take three thousand, after they had agreed on four thousand five hundred the day before. She then had the few of us she could squeeze into the cab in it, then begged one of the students with cars to help her carry the rest of the students. On the way back she got four 50 naira chips for them to share. The rest of the “change” in her pocket.
Sometime, this month, we were invited for our graduation. By word of mouth and whatsapp. The government had released fifty thousand naira to each department of each centre to get in touch with each student. Mrs. STDs messaged one person and told her to tell as many as she can. You can guess where the rest went to. They released money for buses to be hired to transport us to the venue and back. Didn’t happen.
A week to the programme, I got happy news. Sewing machines were been packaged and a little start up money, at least twenty thousand each amongst others things, were been set aside for us. I was excited. A couple of days later, i heard the packing had stopped. Apparently, the government had approved payments for these machines and then, the ministry of women’s alleviation of poverty had realised in each centre in Lagos (70 in all) there were machines stowed away. There were at least 300 that i had seen in a warehouse there. The ministry had “ordered” the release of these machines and the centres had lied that they didn’t have any. Probably because they were selling them underground. So, the ministry had decided to shut down the packaging.
The academy gowns were also released to each center, already paid for by the government. Centres, owned by Womens ALLEVIATION OF P-O-V-E-R-T-Y then charged students to get the gowns. That had already been paid for. They even went so far as to tell people that didn’t train the year we trained. Those ones bribed them to get their names “included” in hopes of also getting certificates.
So we all arrived that day in the free gowns that we had paid for, two years after we had last left training. To hear bullshit “inspiring” speeches about persevering and how we would get certificates at our centres. And then what? Would this magic certificate defeacate a sewing machine and threads? And give these people that trained under women’s ALLEVIATION of POVERTY the tiny support they need to get ahead… To start something.
The most saddening thing is that it wasn’t the government that disappointed, it wasn’t students that were lazy, it wasn’t politicians making big promises, it was our own fellow people that did this. Our own tutor. People we spoke to and laughed with. People that couldn’t think outside of their own needs for once. It wasn’t a statistics in the newspaper… It was people that knew us by name that couldn’t be bothered about another person’s future.
A me-me-me society.
A candle never gets weaker from lighting another candle. But it is candles that refused to light other candles that have us where we are today. It isn’t President Jonathan or Buhari or Abacha… Okay maybe a little Abacha. It was people that wanted to fill their pots of gold in nairas, dollars and pounds without thinking about anyone else. A society that runs on people only looking out for themselves will NEVER EVER prosper.