IYKE Ibeh [SLEDGEHAMMER] 07030605544
I am a scholar of accountability and transparency. Therefore, I am at home with the diction and syntax associated with the difficult tasks of both. That is, accountability with transparency. As well, I frown at a perilous habit of crediting public officials with great accomplishments – not based on certifiable work, but ahead of it. The art of gushing praises and garlanding our leaders with pompous titles that most of all and most a times do not fit them. I come against that.
But that does not mean we cannot decipher a Moses, much more a Biblical one, a skillful, visionary and enterprising leader, with a sense of history and depth of humanity. By a standard yardstick and with the aid of a barometer, His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha has no choice than spending his energy on the challenge of providing stellar service to the people of Imo State. He understands that rebuilding of Imo State was a reason the people of Imo came out in droves to support his candidacy. There was a reason they rejected Mr. Okorocha’s imposition of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu and had the idea somersaulted. Imo voters not only propelled His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha to the Governor’s House, they also seemed prepared to do whatever it took to defend their choice. He might not add years to our life but will certainly add life to our years.
Wonder why the new governor is working his fingers to the bones, hard enough with the selected technocrats as to earn the faith and confidence of the people of Imo State. His Excellency, Ihedioha must shun effusive anticipatory celebration. It cannot but lend him a terribly false and low sense of the people’s expectation. It’s akin to declaring a football player as the most valuable player even before he has played a second in a crucial match. Excessive generosity with praise is also ultimately, dangerous for the polity. Some of us collaborated in the ruse when we baptize our public officials as geniuses and patriots. Recall the encomia heaped on Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha then by a parade of “traditional” rulers who called on him. Each delegation sought to surpass its predecessor in their invention and inflation of Okorocha’s achievements and attributes. Each group of courtesy callers at the shrine of power committed ever-graver assault on language in categorizing their host as “patriotic”, “dynamic”, and “visionary”.
As soon as the forces of time, events and happenings gave Okorocha a marching order out of the panoply of power, his praise singers disappeared with the lucre he dispensed to them into the shadows that loomed larger than the firma terra. None of them had the spine to interject their words of adulation; rather the bashing of Okorocha is now a frenzied national sport. An education on the foibles of human nature. Let the green leaf learn from the dried fallen one.
I return to His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha. Where he is going is squarely different from where he has been. He understands the enemy called time. He distances himself from the very syndrome of sameness quite unlike President Buhari. Ihedioha is hitting the ground, running to die empty. Dying empty means accomplishing one’s set goal with nothing left to achieve and regret. He is directly Buhari’s opposite, so far. He has relatively fresh technocrats across parties. We salute him for that. Buhari and Ihedioha are of different symptoms of the same operatives.
President Muhammed Buhari’s administration have fallen prey to the political syndrome of sameness. During his first tenure, it took Mr. Buhari six months after his electoral victory and four months after his inauguration, to disclose the names of those he wished to invite as ministers in his presidency. On his second and final year in office, but for the kia-kia shouting of both the high and lowly, he should have again allowed the past to address the present. After all, he has just submitted the ministerial nominees list to the National Assembly almost close to two months after he took his oath of office. He appears being at home, asking us if we can hurry the sunrise. If we can’t then why raising a finger of protest, his body language both literally and figuratively portends.
Not for Baba- Go-slow could the Kia-Kia operatives hold sway. He must have inherited the slow coach syndrome from our former President, his fellow Katsina man, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua. It is said speed kills but slow and steady wins the race. But Buharia’s snail pacing is out of this world. Not for him is Kia-kia cliché. Yet he was a military man, a general at that, who should be upholding and propagating the famous phrase “with immediate effect”. No way. Ageing process? Wrong? Right.
He should not hide under democracy, for he is no convert to democracy and the attendant dispensations. I had wondered both in his first and second tenures if he had wanted to surprise us with the moral equivalent of ministers from Jupiter. On the other hand, I obtained a feeling it would be a fairly conventional, even predictable, cast of prospective ministers. The latter conjecture, I’m afraid, turned out to be true.
If President Buhari was going to resort to such widely speculated names as Festus Kayamo, Lai Mohammed, Godwin Akpabio, Babatunde Fashola, Chris Ngige, Rotimi Amechi, Emeka Nwajiuba, then what took him so long, close to two months? Yet, he offered a wholly confusing and confused answer. He calls the anxiety and impatience on the submission of ministerial nominees list as an apparent delay.
Apparent Ke? Mr. President, the delay was real. He entreated there was no cause to be anxious because his government once again, sets out to do things methodically and properly. Cocksure, it makes sense to do things in a methodical and proper manner. It is inexcusable for a parent to spend two hours preparing indomie as breakfast for his or her school children. We thought this time around, he would go across political parties and fill his cabinet without much delay with the not too young, digital age professionals between the ages of 20 and 35. Whosai. Perish the thought. Buhari is a recycler. No difference between six and half a dozen.
He contends impatience is not a virtue and that order is more vital than speed, Agreed. Some questions Mr. President: were almost your 43 ministerial nominees not with you throughout the months of your electioneering campaign and at party meetings? Better still, couldn’t you have taken measure of the nominees from others who knew them, in some capacity or another?. What took so long to prepare a list with few, if any, surprises?. Or shall we run away with the impression that President Buhari doesn’t really care to divulge the real reason for his inordinate delay? He never fathomed ministers as a big deal in the scheme of things. Did he not once assert before a French TV interviewer that Civil Servants did most of the work, while ministers make “a lot of noise”.
He is merely dressing up his lumbering pace in the ill-fitting attire of methodological rigour. At 70 plus years, he is bound to encounter physical limitations that must tamper with his energy level. A humane proposal for the president: spare a thought on handing in your resignation letter. Resign Sir. Funny enough, some Nigerians still consider prospect of rebirth. To these, a suggestion that the man ought to quit office must sound heretical – indeed seem like a prescription with a dollop of ghastly mischief, Piteous. Fair- weather bootlickers!!!
But such people are grandly deluded. Concrete ideas, not the cult of any particular personality, are best for a polity in need of ethical rejuvenation. Mr. President is at a cross road because he suffers from paucity of ideas. In place of robust and organic ideas for transforming Nigeria, he has merely offered us the pabulum that his reputation and goodwill are enough. His transformative power of moral gravitas, is hollow. What significant transformation have Nigerians witnessed, in any sector of their life since Buhari got saddled with presidency? I am all ears. He has not made a noticeable dent in the war against corruption via prosecutorial means. To date, he has not been able to prosecute Mr. Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser to ex-president Jonathan and wouldn’t let him go.
Mr. Buhari’s best calling card – war on corruption has neither dampened nor discouraged the appetite for corruption in Nigeria. Police and customs officers, the Military inclusive, still farm out on the road and extort bribes in broad daylight from hapless and hopeless commuters and traders. Under Mr. President Buhari’s watch, the Central Bank of Nigeria and other agencies corruptly handed out jobs to children and wards of the most privileged. Boko Haram unleashes holocaust on Nigerians almost daily.
Elections are still fraught with fraud, with the police and army rolled out to serve the ruling party’s partisan interests. Judicial processes operate at snail-pace; Lawyers and judges collude in using incessant adjournments to derail justice. Mr. Buhari has done little more than yawn when political appointees close to him have been accused of corrupt acts. If the Buhari brand ever represented antipathy to corruption, that image is now profoundly tarnished. We are woebegone, bereft of hope. Mr. President, we thank you for nothing.
Let’s be fair: President Buhari is no sole author of the mess that is Nigeria. But let’s be honest: He has contributed, quite a richly, to the creation of that mess. He has been a player as a military and civilian ruler. There is no evidence in his public career that he paid attention to bringing about a sound health care system for Nigerians. Nigeria, with its broken educational system, non-existent security network, terrible roads that lead to hell, shameful power supply, etc, can ill afford spent forces as ministers. I hate with palpable skewness the ‘bow and go’ screening policy that the senate adopted since 2003 as a privilege strictly for nominees who had served in the senate but now extended to all with legislative experience at Federal and State levels. Why? Apart from whittling the quality of confirmation process, it as well compromises standard, messing up the system with the never-do-wells. The old brigades.
Hon. Greg Egu in my informal interactive session with him, joined the well informed Nigerians in seeing Nigeria as a failed state in the light of upholding and propagating the labours of our heroes past. He lacerated the controversial ‘bow and go’ privilege as an art of throwing competence to the wind. He canvassed that we are down and out, hands made limped and buffeted by agony of hunger, insecurity, corruption, prostrate economy and election frauds at the behest of the tampered conscience of professors of INEC that made the last election a charade. Nigeria is sick. He said.
Yet the ministerial nominees list is a sheer recycle and a lackluster, a reward list of a sort for the very corrupt Nigerians who see APC as a temple of protection. Telling the truth is not a weakness, he posited. “Why would anybody force himself on a people who refuse he should rule them? He rhetorically and periodically interrogated. He prays that as the sea toss and the waves roar, breaking forth on Nigeria, may they not herald the last of Nigeria.
Pulling up to self, he quipped: “it is disheartening, this seeming relapse into political timidity, moral compromise and the syndrome of sameness”. Yet he has a sneaking feeling that it serves us right, a welcome price for our national habit of believing that it is up to God or some vaunted strong man to solve all our problems, while we quaff, gorge on Nkwobi and obsess ourselves with irrelevances. Finally, he charges us to stand up and be counted in the latent war of current morass whereby Nigerians see Nigeria as hopeless location where they are condemned to suffer and die needlessly. Hon. Greg Egu, once represented Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala in the Federal House of Representatives, A political activist and a dependable reality in the politics of Nigeria, nay Owerri Zone. He hails from Umuohiagu in Ngor Okpala L.G.A, Imo State.