Institutional scaffolding

As a massive building emerges workmen need access to all parts of the building, so usually a scaffolding will be erected.

Oxford defines scaffolding as a temporary structure (emphasis on temporary) on the outside of a building, made of wooden planks and metal poles, used by workmen while building, repairing or cleaning the building.

In this part of the world, by usually not counting the cost before embarking on projects or by not adequately managing resources, we tend to abandon the building leaving that temporary structure (scaffolding) such that whoever uses the route regularly tend to now think the scaffolding is part of the building. Meanwhile a scaffolding is only to help make the job easier by having a mean to support the workmen. It won’t be wrong to see scaffolding as a means to an end…

The problem of Nigeria, starts and stops with its people, their mindset and their leadership. We see this problem in various degree of proportion in our daily life and especially in the life of our industry, the printing industry!

Let’s learn from construction workers and provoke a pattern that will help us institutionalize our dear industry.

Personnel, machinery and supplies has be deployed to site, with roles clearly defined, we surely know the role of the architects, the foreman, bricklayers and even the women who sell food at the site. Saying one is more important means we haven’t grabbed the concept of a human body where neither the pancreas nor the lung is more important than the red blood cells. Nor have we internalized what an eco system means to the world. We must therefore redefine the roles of print academia, printing graduates, printers- those who also came in as apprentice who coincidentally are in the majority, print investors and all who provide support to ensure the printing trade runs gracefully. Try imagining the chaos on that building site if those who should put up the scaffolding are looked down on as unimportant, May God not allow the wickedness in the mind of men make them build a fragile scaffolding that could lead to disaster. Colleagues, our first take away is that the printing industry belongs to all of us! Enough of politics, division along ethnic and tribal lines and such like; this is the problem of the Nigeria project that we find difficult to change till this very moment, at least we can put all efforts to change our industry. This little sphere of influence of ours. Our livelihood, our hope for a better tomorrow and the future of the coming printing generation depends on the decisions we make today as a group.

Everyone is important. End of story!

On the construction site there is hierarchy and a clear chain of command. We all can not lead at the same time else we lose resources and waste time on needless argument and grave confusion. All hands must however be on deck and everyone playing their unique part.

At a certain construction site, Mufu moved from going on an ego drive, he thinks he is more qualified than others, then he switched to intimidation, since it’s not working he recently switched to inciting the younger builders. The entire team knows that the project has a time frame and must be delivered at a certain time so they shunned all distractions, who knows maybe there are loads of figurative Mufu’s as the real cause of many buildings with those scaffolding still in place many years after the deadline. Sad!

Mufu has just been sacked! I heard a voice screaming “all men to their post, I have told the company that erected this scaffolding to come take it off in three weeks time, so in three weeks we must have completed this building, to your position every one” he screamed! I slowly woke up, my goodness it was a dream, a dream calling us to teamwork, a dream calling us to unity, a dream calling us to build for the future… As i wake up from this dream I am also using this opportunity to wake everyone up.

Now that we are all awake, can we plead that;

  1. We stop seeing the scaffolding as part of the building, it is a mere work tool, let’s use it to achieve the perfect finishing that we all desire.
  2. All hands MUST be on deck.
  3. If you are an operator, operate well, if you are collator, collate properly, if you are a printer, your job should be done with professionalism, if you are a lecturer, help us graduate printers with the best of knowledge, also please pioneer researches and lead the industry to follow trends. If you are a technician, repair those printing equipment with dignity, I mean play your part by curing those illnesses that causes pain and discomfort to the print shop owner. If you are a print contractor don’t give prices without consulting your printer. If you are an equipment seller, sell quality equipment. Consumable sellers, you also need to help printers remain competitive in pricing. Industry pressmen and women, become the police of the printing industry, be objective and bring up critical thinking that will lead to solutions. To our industry leaders, honesty, transparency, great accountability and a clear vision will help us as an industry.

It is evident that if we all play our part to the best of our ability, this scaffolding will soon be removed and the printing industry of our dreams will be the result or end product.

Let’s end by saying this short prayer, Heavenly Father, help me to understand my role and grant me the grace to start playing it accurately. So help me God!


  1. I pray that ALL practitioners in the print industry will appreciate this viewpoint and adopt the right attitude; Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like