PARABLE OF THE REVOLVING DOOR

On Sunday, Noadavember 17, I visited the recently opened Ikeja Shopping Mall. The first thing I noticed was that the revolving door at the main entrance of the mall was not functioning. There was a sign by the door advising patrons of the mall to use the side doors.

At the time, I thought little of the door as I believed that it must have broken down either on that Sunday morning or on Saturday evening. I also assumed that the door would be repaired within a day or two. My assumption was predicated on the fact that I did not think that a revolving door requiresthe services of an expert with a Ph.D. in Aeronautics to get it fixed.

I was therefore shocked when I visited the mall early on Friday morning to discover that the revolving door was still not revolving.

Now, my issue is not about a revolving door that is not revolving. What triggered this piece is what I believe the door tells about our maintenance culture as a people. Upon enquiries from regular patrons of the mall, I was informed that the door had been in that state of immobility for weeks.

Is it that difficult to repair a revolving door?

The poor door is however not the only victim of our nonchalant attitude to maintenance. In most of public offices and private homes, one notices assets that are either damaged or spoilt and which require minimal ‘effort’ to restore and which we ignore or just simply do not care about.

On my first trip to the Holy Mosque in Mecca, I noticed that some bulbs that were functioning were being removed and replaced with new ones. I was informed that the though the bulbs were not yet burnt out, they had to be replaced because they were approaching their expiry date. Similarly, in the United Arab Emirates, I have seen with my own eyes and I took pictures of hotels being given a bath!

One of the things I learnt from the former Mayor of New York, Giuliani’s book, Leadership, is that infrastructures do not decay or become degraded overnight. Decay is a gradual process. It starts with innocuous things like failure to repair a broken down revolving door, failure to replace a burnt bulb, failure to polish your shoes for N20, failure of a lawyer to buy a new bib for N200, failure of a driver to replace a broken side mirror, failure of the aviation authorities to repair a faulty conveyor-belt and those little things that require minimal effort to replace and restore.

The reason I write about doors, bibs and bulbs is borne out of my fear that the faulty revolving door may signify the beginning of the decay of the very beautiful structure that the mall represents. Decay is like cancerous growth. If cancer is not detected early and treated, it extends its tentacles to other cells.

It is the revolving door today; it may be the restroom tomorrow and the escalator the day after.

I intend to visit Ikeja Mall after on Sunday and I hope and pray that the revolving door would be revolving before then.

 

Olanrewaju Tasleem Akinsola

 

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