Nigeria: How to Be a
It is quite
possible that before now not many people have taken time
to seriously consider it, but there is no doubt that
governing a state in Nigeria has over the years been
reduced to one of the most unduly simplified jobs, which
does not even require an average intelligence or any
special qualities to perform.
Or, put another
way: the overly simplistic interpretation most of our
governors have given their jobs has so much reduced it
to such a very unchallenging assignment that it no
longer requires any special preparations or endowments
to execute; in fact, any fellow can just walk in there
and encumber the ground for another four years, and that
would be all.
But I am still
hopeful that those who were recently elected governors
in Nigeria will hasten to realize that a growing number
of Nigerians have acquired a high degree of
sophistication and discrimination in taste in their
assessment of governance, and are indeed losing
significant patience for the old, perfunctory and
uncreative way of doing things.
shows that more and more Nigerians are no longer content
to merely watch their ‘rulers’ grope and wallow in
confusion and directionlessness in the face of humongous
problems requiring urgent intervention, and indeed may
go a step further with proactive actions to demand
accountability from them.
ought to motivate our new governors to hasten to excuse
themselves from the post-election bacchanals one has
seen here and there and devote quality time to fully
appreciate the gravity of the very high office they are
now occupying and the high cost this time around of
Now, let’s look at
what it presently means to be a governor in Nigeria.
Indeed, shorn of all the glamour, pomp and noisy
convoys, what can we really say is the difference
between what housewives do for their families and what
State governors do in Nigeria? The answer, if you ask
me, should be obvious, but I am very reluctant, for a
very obvious reason, to answer it with just one word:
Certainly, I do not want to start
this beautiful morning with placard-wielding housewives
thronging the front of my office, protesting the grave
insult of an unfair comparison.
And so, I will be
fair. But, first, let’s look at one clear similarity: A
husband labours, earns some money, invites his wife to
one corner of their room, and gives her the “monthly
allocation” for the family upkeep.
Nigeria also takes
its God-given oil, markets it, and then State governors
are invited to Abuja, to cart away their own “monthly
allocations” for the upkeep of their respective States.
So is there any difference?
Yes, I think there
still is. At least, we now have wives who are no longer
comfortable with being just full-time housewives but now
go out to work hard to help diversify the sources of
revenue for their families, unlike many governors whose
only understanding of governance is, like housewives of
old, to sit still and eagerly await the monthly
allocation from the Federation Account, a fraction of
which they spend to make some impressions here and
there, and then call press conferences and buy spaces in
national newspapers to showcase their “wonderful
They do N1 work and
advertise it with N1000!
It is really a
great tragedy. Now, tell me: why should any Nigerian
governor with any brains in his skull, and the slightest
hint of self-esteem, expect me to clap for him for
renovating (or even, in most cases, merely repainting) a
few school buildings and filling a couple of potholes on
Even if he builds
new roads, new schools and hospitals, has he done
anything extraordinary? Shouldn’t all those form part of
his routine duty? What special intelligence or
endowment is required to do that?
By the way, what is
he supposed to do with the billions he carts away from
Abuja every month? Hide them in his wife’s bedroom, and
then begin to use them to gallivant about town, to
increase the number of his girlfriends and leisure
extraordinary talent is required to pay salaries to
workers (out of the money duly packaged and given to a
full grown adult) or clean up a few streets? Even my
small daughter in Primary School can do better than
that! Please, let’s stop turning ourselves into objects
of derision before sensible and civilized people out
Now, assuming oil
was not flowing beneath us here, and so no monthly
allocations or “excess crude earnings” to share in
Abuja, what then would be the work of a governor in a
Federal State like Nigeria? Or are we to take it that no
one would have agreed to become a governor if such a
situation existed? Whatever happened to great ideas and
insights that inspire well thought-out policies for the
creation of jobs, opportunities and wealth with which
talented administrators are distinguished?
Why has Nigeria
reduced governance to mere routine assignments like
provision of power, potable water, roads and exercise
books for pupils? So, if I pay my children’s school fees
or fuel my car, I should expect any person to applaud my
“great achievements,” even though I sweat out the money,
unlike the governors that merely receive theirs without
labouring for it?
Do our so-called
leaders ever bother to listen to the vision statements
of their colleagues outside Nigeria?
Well, what more can
I say? I was making these points the other day and
somebody just looked me in the face and bellowed: You
should be grateful that there are some governors who are
even willing to spend some bits of the money to fill
potholes and repaint school buildings; what about those
who don’t bother to do anything, though they also
receive the money? What are you going to do about that?
So just praise those who agree to do something.
Can you beat that?
Does anyone see what our country has become? Maybe,
Nigeria would become better if the governors are
immediately replaced with housewives—even the
uneducated, rustic ones. Indeed, most husbands have
little or nothing to complain about how their wives
manage the “monthly allocations” in their homes.
virtually everyday grateful that their homes are in good
hands, and that virtually everything that ought to be
done had been done. The housewives not only buy into
their husbands’ visions and aspirations for the
prosperity of the homes, they also generate their own
ideas which any husband spurns to his own hurt, and
would readily contribute their own lot to ensure the
realisation of those ideas.
But what majority
of our governors do is to just sabotage our hopes and
aspirations with their boundless greed and callousness.
They could be likened to irresponsible housewives who
alienate themselves from their husbands’ good dreams,
and ensure they never come to fruition. Instead of
investing the “monthly allocations” to move the home
forward, irresponsible housewives stash them away to
prosecute their selfish agendas. This is the situation
in many States in Nigeria today.
It is sad that most
Nigerians do not think too highly of their governors but
regularly dismiss them as mostly wayward and
underemployed; fellows that are incapable of thinking
beyond how to secure their personal comforts and
leisure. I am not bothered that some people may laugh at
my position today, but several of our governors have
failed us so much that I keep wondering if Nigeria’s
political class is capable of ever producing more than
very few committed, altruistic, and visionary leaders
with sound, workable ideas.
Some of them appear
so blank and unprepared that one is left wondering
whether they were just woken up one morning and told
they had become governors. One searches in vain for the
slightest hint that many of these governors ever lose
any sleep at all because of the enormous problems
plaguing their States; men without the gravity of mind
to appreciate the enormity and even sacredness of the
high responsibility placed on their shoulders.
All these must
change this time around. Our new governors should see
the building of roads, provision of safe, clean water,
electricity, quality hospitals and schools as mere
routine duties, just like somebody waking up in the
morning and brushing his teeth.
From today, any
Nigeria state governor that purchases some cars and
buses for public transportation or even tractors to
motivate vibrant agriculture and goes on to buy
newspaper pages to advertise them as “great
achievements” must be compelled to pay the advert fees
from his pocket!
bankruptcy and mediocrity that classifies such routine
efforts as “great achievements” to be applauded should
be hastily consigned to our inglorious past.
should be thinking of how to grow the economy of their
respective domains by judiciously husbanding the natural
and human resources available to create wealth and jobs.
They should hasten to identify the mineral deposits in
their domains, create enabling environments and the
right policies, and engage the relevant agencies,
corporations and investors in constructive and
beneficial deliberations to see how the deposits and
opportunities can be exploited to drive the economy of
their states to create prosperity, mass employment, and
better life for the people.
We must do away
with the old retrogressive style and adopt a more
creative approach to governance for the good of all.
posted 12 July 2011
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God is Not a Christian: and Other Provocations
By Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu has become one of the greatest moral voices of our time. In his new book, God is Not A Christian, an essential collection of his most historic speeches and writings, we witness his unique career of provoking the powerful and confronting the world in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and the victims of injustice. Tutu first won renown for his courageous opposition to apartheid in South Africa, but his ministry soon took on international dimensions. Rooted in his faith and in the values embodied in the African spirit of ubuntu, Tutu’s uncompromising vision of a shared humanity has compelled him to speak out, even in the face of violent opposition and virulent criticism, against political injustice and oppression, religious fundamentalism, and the persecution of minorities. Arranged by theme and introduced with insight and historical context by Tutu biographer John Allen, God is Not a Christian: and Other Provocations takes readers from the violent clashes in South Africa over Apartheid to the healing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee; from Trafalgar Square after the fall of the Berlin Wall to a nationally broadcast address commemorating the legacy of Nelson Mandela; from Dublin, Ireland’s Christ Church Cathedral to a basketball stadium in Luanda, Angola. Whether exploring democracy in Africa, the genocide in Rwanda, black theology, the inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church, or the plight of Palestinians, Tutu’s truth is clear and voice unflinching.
In a world of suffering and conflict, where human laws all too often clash with the law of God, Tutu’s hopeful, timeless messages become more needed and powerful with each passing year. The strength of principle found in this collection can inspire younger generations of every stripe to pick up Tutu’s mantle.—HarperOne
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Hegel and the Third World
The Making of Eurocentrism in World
By Teshale Tibebu
"This is a remarkable
book. . . . a powerful cri de coeur that
is based on a serious reading of Hegel.
It may open up the debate because,
unlike so many anti- Eurocentric
presentations, it does not fall prey to
a simple upside down reading of either
modern philosophy or world history.—Immanuel
Wallerstein, Yale University
Hegel, more than any other modern
Western philosopher, produced the most
systematic case for the superiority of
Western white Protestant bourgeois
modernity. He established a racially
structured ladder of gradation of the
peoples of the world, putting Germanic
people at the top of the racial pyramid,
people of Asia in the middle, and
Africans and indigenous peoples of the
Americas and Pacific Islands at the
Hegel and the Third World,
Tibebu guides the reader through Hegel’s
presentation on universalism and argues
that such a classification flows in part
from Hegel’s philosophy of the
development of human consciousness.
Hegel classified Africans as people
arrested at the lowest and most
immediate stage of consciousness, that
of the senses; Asians as people with
divided consciousness, that of the
understanding; and Europeans as people
of reason. Tibebu demonstrates that
Hegel’s views were not his alone but
reflected the fundamental beliefs of
other major figures of Western thought
at the time.—Syracuse
University Press, 2011
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Leadership without a Moral Purpose
A Critical Analysis
of Nigerian Politics and Administration
(with emphasis on the
Obasanjo Administration, 2003-2007)
By Victor E. Dike
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(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
update 13 April 2012