MANY Nigerians once again demonstrated their usual disdain for deadline in respect of the ongoing Bank Verification Number,(BVN), registration. During its launch on February 14, 2014 by the then Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the apex bank had fixed July 2014 as the commencement date for the BVN registration and December 31, 2014 as the deadline for all bank customers to have their BVNs.
All banks were tasked to ensure that 40 per cent of their customers got registered before the end of the year and 70 per cent on or before March 31, 2015 and all of their customers by Tuesday June 30, 2015. The apex bank had also warned then that failure to comply before the deadline would lead to defaulters not being able to access their accounts from July 1, 2015.This warning was only heeded in the breach. As the July deadline approached, millions of Nigerians had besieged the nearest branches of their banks in a last minute, desperate rush to acquire their BVN’s.
As expected, the banks were overwhelmed by the long queues of BVN seeking customers such that they could not adequately attend to all before the closing date. Although the last minute rush for the BVN ensured that a total of 15 million bank customers got registered before the deadline, over 14 million others, including those living outside the country, could not do so, prompting strident demands that the deadline be extended.
After much pressure, the CBN decided to reverse itself by announcing a new deadline of October 31, 2015.Time has come for Nigerians to discard this attitude of waiting until the very last minute before obeying important instructions, especially when timely compliance will serve the good of all. The BVN is a policy introduced by the CBN to check all manners of fraud in the banking system by ensuring that every bank customer is given a unique identification number that can be verified by all banks in Nigeria. So, there is nothing to lose, but everything to gain by wholeheartedly identifying with it.Waiting only to stampede before deadline is a fault that is deeply etched in the psyche of our people and government as well.
It is complemented by the twin problem of poor attitude to punctuality, a negation of the saying: “Time is money”. Nigeria will never be a great and prosperous nation unless our people are reoriented to understand the importance of time management and do away with the so called “African time” syndrome. No great society jokes with time and deadline. Government must lead the way in addressing this problem. Punctuality is still the soul of business.