Friday, 10 October 2014

The Day I Decided To Get My Driver's License

My drivers license had expired forever ago. I wasn't keen on renewing because I heard the process was a nightmare. After dodging FRSC for too long; I got tired of the hide and seek. A friend gave me the number of someone who could help me work on it so all I had to do was show up for my 'capture'.

The guy had scheduled and rescheduled my 'capture' appointments more than 5 times before I thought, 'Naomi just do this thing and get it over with'. So we agreed for 7am on a weekday.

I got there shortly before, thinking I might find a handful of people milling about. I was wrong. It could have as well been 12 noon. There were close to 100 people loitering, waiting for the show to begin, literally. 

The 'loiterers' sorry to call them that; were called to a tent with some rickety benches within the compound. See people running and tripping over themselves so they could grab a seat. An FRSC official addressed them using a public address system as they sat.

"If you know you did not receive a text message from us, go and meet that woman sitting there" the official pointed at her colleague sitting a short distance away. And that was how people who had managed to find a place to sit, scramble to be first on the queue, again.

A guy sitting beside me said he had applied for his license since April, he was yet to 'capture' in October. The guy helping me out told me I was going to get a temporary license valid for two months while they process the real one. I asked how long the real one will take. He looked at me and said "My sister, it may take anything between 2 months and a year or even more". I asked why it took that long and he said the data has to be sent to Abuja from where all the licenses will be processed, printed and then dispatched to all the states. FRSC offices outside Abuja were merely administrative hubs.

I looked at the people queuing - Businessmen, mothers, entrepreneurs, elderly people, decent people being treated like primary 5 children in a public secondary school. 

I don't get it. Why are we like this in this country? Why do we make it difficult for people who want to do the right thing? What does it take to 'capture' - to get people to sit down, take their pictures and biometric information and then print their licenses right there and then? Why do we have to print drivers licenses from Abuja ONLY and then waste money dispatching what the FRSC charges 350 naira for? Why should anyone wait, in 2014, for one year to get a valid driver's License? How did the Nigerian Civil Service get so messed up?

Why are we like this in this country?

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