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OPINION

Public institutions and public trust, By Jerome-Mario Utomi.

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Talking about the public institution, Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography titled; The Story of My Experiment with Truth, among other things stated that a public institution is an institution conducted with the approval, and from the funds of the public, warning that whenever such an institution ceases to have public support, it forfeits its right to exist.

Institutions maintained on permanent funds, he noted, are often found to ignore public opinion, and are frequently responsible for acts contrary to it. And concluded that India at every step experienced situations where public institutions instead of living like nature, from day to day, abandoned the ideals of public trust.

Indeed, if such worry expressed about a century ago was ugly, what is currently happening here is a crisis. As the same attitude of ignoring public opinions has become a word made flesh, and now dwell among public institutions in Nigeria.

Concretely, developed societies encourage public institutions to get in constant touch with reality and open dialogues with well-informed but quietly influential citizens and organizations in order to benefit from their experience and expertize.

But what we have here is but a direct opposite- as the public institutions are against all known logic  reputed for flagrant disregard of public opinions, advice and requests from well-meaning Nigerians and organizations; that ordinarily ought to be their partners in the business of moving the nation forward.

Telling evidence of such scourge is the Code of Conduct Bureau’s (CCB) recent refusal to grant the Freedom of Information’s (FOI) request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) for the release of copies of the declaration forms of former state governors and Presidents on the grounds that the declaration forms are private documents.

Admittedly, some documents are lawfully tagged classified. However, looking at commentaries, apart from the fact that power to decide whether the private document in a public office remain private or otherwise lies not within CCB but the Court, its refusal  to the request curiously negates provisions by both the ‘UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which clearly articulates important roles for civil society in the fight against corruption further plagued the Bureau’s argument’.

And runs contrary to the provisions of Section 1(1) of the FOI Act which clearly stated thus; notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, law or regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is established.

Working under this condition, one becomes more and more occupied with questions as to how this attitude of public institutions in Nigeria can be corrected particularly as the sole aim of such establishments is service. Who will stop this progressive decay in our public institutions which like an unchained torrent of water is submerging our ‘political and socioeconomic countrysides?  Should we allow it to continue, leaving the nation to enjoy or suffer whatever fruit it bears in future?

Obviously, in my opinion, our principal duty for the moment should be to find out factors fueling public institution inefficiencies and disobedience to public opinion.

And as far back as I can remember a link inevitably exists in practical as well as moral terms, between these frosty behaviours of our public institution and bureaucracy which characterizes public administration in Nigeria.

Specifically, nothing supports this claim more than the position as argued by Robert Kiyosaki, a world acclaimed management consultant, where he among other concerns noted that the problem with the world is that many allow their institutions to be led by bureaucrats. And went ahead to define a bureaucrat as someone who is in the position of authority such as government/public office but who takes no professional and financial risks. And further underlined that a bureaucrat can lose a lot of money but they do not lose any of their own. They get paid whenever they do a job or not.

The above without  doubt explains why many Ministries, Departments and some other Government Agencies in Nigeria is without strategic plans in spite of development practitioners arguments that strategies and policies are fundamental to the progress and development of institutions. Having known that their salaries will be paid with or without doing any work, many of the public institutions don’t bother reviewing their policies.  Even in some extreme cases, the implementation of the existing policies have been characterized by discontinuity, reversals and somersaults’

It is on good the ground that one of the most basic of these realities is that since independence in October 1960, the country has demonstrated that there is no development plan that achieved fully its core objectives- a fault traceable to lack of systematic planning framework that ensures adequate data and research, good information system, monitoring and evaluation.

However, poor service delivery may not be the only consequence or bureaucracy, the only explanation for flagrant disregard of public opinion by public institutions.

The barefaced illusion by these civil servants that they are more nationalistic or patriotic than other citizens is a contributing factor. This baffling disposition in effect prepares the ground for exercising power and responsibility, not as a trust for the public good, but as an opportunity for private gains and promotes nepotism, cronyism and corruption as consequences.

Next to gross poverty of history which roundly prevents these bureaucrats learning from the consequences that befell their predecessor who ignored public opinion, is the excruciating poverty in the land which drives more people into the ranks of beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders insensible to demand quality service from public institutions.

 

Looking ahead, If truly a people- purposed leadership is what we seek if the accelerated economy is our goal, if social and cultural development is our dreams if promoting peace, supporting our industries and improving our energy sector forms our objectives, then, the solution lies  in the government’s  urgent recognition that those structures that created failures in those institutions will also prevent the  implementation of incentives that will improve performance. Also, attempting to engineer prosperity without first confronting the root cause of the problem and the politics that kept them in the place is a mere waste of time.

While calling for the restructuring of  public  institution to deliver service, Mr President should start thinking public-private-partnership for key responsibilities such as infrastructural development-a structural and managerial model globally recognized for curbing bureaucracy and corruption in public institutions and instilling public trust.

Monday 24h  June 2019.

The Editor,

Greetings.

Please, kindly find below/attached an opinion article with the above subject for publication; for the benefits of the reading public.

Again, many thanks.

Jerome-Mario Utomi,

jeromeutomi@yahoo.com

08032725374

Public Institutions and Public Trust

By; Jerome-Mario Utomi.

Talking about the public institution, Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography titled; The Story of My Experiment with Truth, among other things stated that a public institution is an institution conducted with the approval, and from the funds of the public, warning that whenever such an institution ceases to have public support, it forfeits its right to exist.

Institutions maintained on permanent funds, he noted, are often found to ignore public opinion, and are frequently responsible for acts contrary to it. And concluded that India at every step experienced situations where public institutions instead of living like nature, from day to day, abandoned the ideals of public trust.

Indeed, if such worry expressed about a century ago was ugly, what is currently happening here is a crisis. As the same attitude of ignoring public opinions has become a word made flesh, and now dwell among public institutions in Nigeria.

Concretely, developed societies encourage public institutions to get in constant touch with reality and open dialogues with well-informed but quietly influential citizens and organizations in order to benefit from their experience and expertize.

But what we have here is but a direct opposite- as the public institutions are against all known logic  reputed for flagrant disregard of public opinions, advice and requests from well-meaning Nigerians and organizations; that ordinarily ought to be their partners in the business of moving the nation forward.

Telling evidence of such scourge is the Code of Conduct Bureau’s (CCB) recent refusal to grant the Freedom of Information’s (FOI) request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) for the release of copies of the declaration forms of former state governors and Presidents on the grounds that the declaration forms are private documents.

Admittedly, some documents are lawfully tagged classified. However, looking at commentaries, apart from the fact that power to decide whether the private document in a public office remain private or otherwise lies not within CCB but the Court, its refusal  to the request curiously negates provisions by both the ‘UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption which clearly articulates important roles for civil society in the fight against corruption further plagued the Bureau’s argument’.

And runs contrary to the provisions of Section 1(1) of the FOI Act which clearly stated thus; notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, law or regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is established.

Working under this condition, one becomes more and more occupied with questions as to how this attitude of public institutions in Nigeria can be corrected particularly as the sole aim of such establishments is service. Who will stop this progressive decay in our public institutions which like an unchained torrent of water is submerging our ‘political and socioeconomic countrysides?  Should we allow it to continue, leaving the nation to enjoy or suffer whatever fruit it bears in future?

Obviously, in my opinion, our principal duty for the moment should be to find out factors fueling public institution inefficiencies and disobedience to public opinion.

And as far back as I can remember a link inevitably exists in practical as well as moral terms, between these frosty behaviours of our public institution and bureaucracy which characterizes public administration in Nigeria.

Specifically, nothing supports this claim more than the position as argued by Robert Kiyosaki, a world acclaimed management consultant, where he among other concerns noted that the problem with the world is that many allow their institutions to be led by bureaucrats. And went ahead to define a bureaucrat as someone who is in the position of authority such as government/public office but who takes no professional and financial risks. And further underlined that a bureaucrat can lose a lot of money but they do not lose any of their own. They get paid whenever they do a job or not.

The above without  doubt explains why many Ministries, Departments and some other Government Agencies in Nigeria is without strategic plans in spite of development practitioners arguments that strategies and policies are fundamental to the progress and development of institutions. Having known that their salaries will be paid with or without doing any work, many of the public institutions don’t bother reviewing their policies.  Even in some extreme cases, the implementation of the existing policies have been characterized by discontinuity, reversals and somersaults’

It is on good the ground that one of the most basic of these realities is that since independence in October 1960, the country has demonstrated that there is no development plan that achieved fully its core objectives- a fault traceable to lack of systematic planning framework that ensures adequate data and research, good information system, monitoring and evaluation.

However, poor service delivery may not be the only consequence or bureaucracy, the only explanation for flagrant disregard of public opinion by public institutions.

The barefaced illusion by these civil servants that they are more nationalistic or patriotic than other citizens is a contributing factor. This baffling disposition in effect prepares the ground for exercising power and responsibility, not as a trust for the public good, but as an opportunity for private gains and promotes nepotism, cronyism and corruption as consequences.

Next to gross poverty of history which roundly prevents these bureaucrats learning from the consequences that befell their predecessor who ignored public opinion, is the excruciating poverty in the land which drives more people into the ranks of beggars, whose desperate struggle for bread renders insensible to demand quality service from public institutions.

 

Looking ahead, If truly a people- purposed leadership is what we seek if the accelerated economy is our goal, if social and cultural development is our dreams if promoting peace, supporting our industries and improving our energy sector forms our objectives, then, the solution lies  in the government’s  urgent recognition that those structures that created failures in those institutions will also prevent the  implementation of incentives that will improve performance. Also, attempting to engineer prosperity without first confronting the root cause of the problem and the politics that kept them in the place is a mere waste of time.

While calling for the restructuring of  public  institution to deliver service, Mr President should start thinking public-private-partnership for key responsibilities such as infrastructural development-a structural and managerial model globally recognized for curbing bureaucracy and corruption in public institutions and instilling public trust.

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OPINION

Gov. Mai Mala Buni: Stabilizer of Yobe State @ 52 

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Gov. Buni
Yobe state is Lucky to have a leader with  vision  so a  visionary leader should be celebrated for his valuable contribution to humanity.  Hon Mai Mala Buni’s  nickname “the Stabilizer” ,amongst supporters within and outside the  state as he has also been constant, stabilizing factor in the  state. Governor MMB has a big dossier of state outreach that reflects his close touch with his peoples. He has utilized the mended  given to him through projects executed across the state.
The signs of a beautiful Friday will be noticed from the preceding Wednesday clearly exemplifies the actions taken so far by Governor Mai Mala Buni since  took charge of the affairs of Yobe on May 29, 2019. Like a greyhound after a rabbit, Governor Buni came out of the take-off point with some decisive pronouncements and moves that disabused the minds of some doubting Thomas’s that he is actually prepared and ready for the tasks of administering one of the states with serious economic and societal challenge state in Nigeria.
There  is no doubt that many aspects of development by individuals have been fired and propelled by vision which is regarded as an indispensable ingredient and catalyst in the dynamics of human existence. This is why Woodrow Wilson once emphasized that “no one that does not see vision will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise”, a pragmatic statement reinforced by that of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Where there is no vision, a people perish
Truth be told, Governor Mai Mala Buni is an embodiment of a good head, a good heart and of course a foresight in moving Yobeans and the state forward.  The result so far so good has been delivery of democratic dividends and meeting expectations of the teeming population of the State.
 Hon Buni took over the most tasking,  challenging job in the State and one thing that is constant is that his passion, zeal and energy for a greater Yobe remain indubitable.   By the following day by day, month by month Governor made many moves which clearly showed that he was ready to walk the talk.  Another pleasant move by MMB’s government is that of his  developmental  credentials and landmarks speak volumes.  He is truly a people’s leader going by the amount of work he was able to do for the overall benefit of Yobe state .No matter what anyone would say, the amount of dividends of democracy that this people’s leader was able to bring to the door step of the people he is governing is unmatched.
One thing commonly associated with this man is that, he redefines any office he occupies and makes a mark. MMB  is  humanist, a visionary and egalitarian personality, radical, a pragmatist, an exemplary and respected leader in fact He  has not only revolutionised Yobe but turned around the fortunes of the  state  to the extent  that today Yobean in unity have named him ‘ Yobe Stabilizer’
Governor Mai Mala Buni   is doing what he always wanted to do- touch lives positively.  In fact, it worth elucidating    that the Governor was able to touch the lives of the people of whole Yobe state within shortest possible time and prove his devoted serving humanity. So far he has proved to be one of the first termer action governors that have impacted people lives with his ardently active leadership.
 In this piece to marks Governor Buni golden birthday  was not borne out of sheer vain glorious imaginations but I consider this a great opportunity to write about this great achiever of transforming  socioeconomic and infrastructural development of Yobe.
In real sense, it is easy to conclude that some leaders are naturally characterized by ideas, vision and the will to set a pace and to have their name boldly written on the sand of time.
A vivid reference point is the leadership qualities exhibited by this noble man, which qualified him as the political reference of our time. The starting point for this piece naturally fails to align because the achievements would be too numerous to mention.
However, the qualitative leadership acumen and the sense of stewardship which MMB possesses has been established, at least, at the highest level. He goes history lane as a disciplined politician with regard for the rule of law. He is an epitome of discipline, hard work and equity and fairness. His political philosophy has no regard for sentiments. An harbinger of egalitarianism. His affinity with both the high and mighty and the downtrodden is second to none. He leaves no stone unturned in grassroots developments, socio-economic worries and general political affairs.
Toward achieving his socioeconomic blueprints to the state Hon Buni wooing local and international investors toward invest in state deposits natural minerals resources like  the gypsum and limestone deposits. The stabilizer  Yobe governor  recently attended the 4th Istanbul Public Private Partnership [PPP] where the governor and the investor  discussed include the establishment of a cement factory in the state, financing of education and road projects and small business micro finance .He  also Buni met representative Qatari investors from the office of Sheikh Saoud Bin Nasser Bin Khalid al-Thani in Abuja aimed  to exploring an investing partnership to set up a cement company and meat processing factory in Yobe State.
He told the  Qatari representative about the investment opportunities with untapped natural deposits  gypsum and limestone in  Yobe State, as well as the mass availability of small ruminant animals that could support a meat processing factory.  Sheikh al-Hajeri, also  extended an invitation for the governor to visit Qatar so that they could sign an agreement on the proposed partnership, said his investment group is willing and ready to work with Yobe State in the two key areas  and the Qatari  also going to visit the  state so that we can reach a point of agreement about the  partnership and also  to host MMB in Qatar.
The highlights of which were stellar achievements of Buni in the past six months steering the affairs of  the state  of constructing and rehabilitating schools and re-positioning the educational sector in the more definitive ,radically ,progressive and futuristic manner , not to mention the expansive provision of basic welfares amenities for the citizens in water resources ,healthcare. Resettlement, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (R3), for the peoples affected by insurgency to live a life of honor and dignity. Buni’ administration revived mariboud state own   Industries like Yobe Aluminum industry in Potiskum Yobe Flour Mill Industry in Potiskum and  Yobe Polythene and Woven Sack Company Damaturu. Agriculture reforms and the greatly improved living standards for his people in terms of capacity building, empowerment and educational scholarship for his people, all shone brightly for all in respect of party affiliation to access and his monumental achievements continue to ring loud and louder each passed days.
For Governor Mai Mala Buni prevailing interest of the masses should not be sacrificed either on the altar of political expediency or in pursuit of a narrow selfish agenda of those who operate the levers of power.  He has demonstrated his true passion for issues concerning his peoples and state as a whole; he worked passionately to address matters of great concern to the Yobeans and quickly earned a reputation as a true people’s governor, hard-working and brilliant governor.
 Accordingly, his politics, character and vision has been informed and guided by like late Aminu Kano’s this philosophy of emancipation and improving lives of masses.  His many measures as a governor make him not business as usual governor as he had shaking the table by introducing various reforms that will reposition state institutions which will be for the greater good for the people of the state.
The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will that will help others. Described by most people as gentle, generous, humble, trustworthy, extremely loyal and down-to-earth, Mai Mala no doubt, displayed high and esteemed leadership qualities which endeared to the people of the state.
In the lives of many, birthdays are usually periods for sober reflections .The period for stocktaking. Numerous personalities with eyes on the verdict of history use such occasions to reflect on their contributions to the betterment   or otherwise of their societies. Hon MMB is a man of his words and amazingly bold: he means every word he says and goes for it. His statements are never taken for granted as are astonishingly translated into action for the good of the people. He commands a lot of respect from his colleagues and the people of his state largely due to the way he articulates his ideas and thoughts each times he speaks as peoples  listen with rapt attention
The visionary leader should be celebrated by all and sundry as MMB clock 52years of valuable contribution to humanity and He  is a personification of humanity, a selfless leader and an uncommon Nigerian, who thinks more about the other person’s feelings than of his own. wishing  him sound health and wisdom to deliver on the mission #ForAGreaterYobeState.

Dukawa can be reach atabbahydukawa@gmail.com

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OPINION

Isa Ali Pantami, a near perfect fit for 2023 permutations

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Ida Ali Pantami

By Hashim Suleiman

Let me refer you to Uncle Dele Momodu’s Pendulum of Saturday, 26th October 2019 wherein he professed about Tinubu’s destiny over 2019 presidency. He pointed out reasons why he felt Tinubu has a date with destiny regarding becoming the president in 2023. One of the key reasons which I also agree with is Tinubu’s capabilities of identification and management of critical human resource. This happens to be one of the formidable strategies which has eluded a lot of Nigerian politicians who despite their humongous resources cannot command credible followership and loyalty.

We witnessed the examples in how lots of them who hitherto predicted electoral outcomes could not do so in 2019. This therefore makes such suggestion by Dele Momodu a credible one.
Going from the above, every reasonable Nigerian especially politicians, pundits and strategists will understand that the race has begun in earnest and whatever strategies that anyone is willing to employ must have started or should start now.

It is becoming clearer perhaps, that the 2023 presidency for APC will most likely be a South West affair. The only thing that was not detailed in the Pendulum was the ‘How’ of the wishes that Bola Tinubu becomes the president.

Again, while the Pendulum has given us a reason to understand Bola Tinubu has an interest in the 2023 presidency, it is pertinent to note that other eminent people from the APC South West are gearing up to test the waters as it is their rights to do so.

But in all of it, the most important part of the South West strategy must be about how to manage the area of a northern Vice-Presidential Candidate considering that the PDP is sitting at the corner and waiting.

So, me and my friend Jamil Yusuf, were having a conversation over the weekend about the Pendulum, Bola Tinubu, APC, PDP and South West, we both agreed that the choice for a northern Vice President was the critical of the choices any of the candidates had to play if they were to make it through even though the possibilities are pretty high. We mentioned and analyzed a couple of them, but the one that sat most with the analysis was Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

Let me then help summarize why the analysis felt his choice was going to be a back breaker. Firstly, the main and first issue would be Muslim – Muslim ticket and we felt that had been demystified a lot since Buhari has not been able to Islamize Nigeria in 5 years and with no iota of intention to do so. Remember also that Deaconess Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a top member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God which makes Christianity to be a part of Tinubu’s home and life.

The other candidates may even be Christians or Muslims who have spouses in similar situations like Oluremi Tinubu. These issues and more could easily surmount that challenge.

Secondly, we know how young Nigerians have been clamoring for a young and digital person who understand twitter, Facebook and the likes to be in the steering for the management of Nigeria and this man has been the first person who has transformed digital from rhetoric to reality through the transformation of the Ministry of Communications to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. If young Nigerians who constitute over 70% of the voting population are serious, they would quickly latch on to this and even mobilize others to join. He has always and continues to be one of the top people who has acted severally on issues regarding complains on some issues associated with his ministry through the twitter with the latest being the suspension of the planned charges by telecom operators over usage of the USSD service.

Then again, we analyzed the area of capacity and found out that the man had been focused on the digital part of economy which was the most critical tool needed to even be a better Nigeria’s Vice President since it was the primary assignment of the office.

Imagine a digitalized process of economic activity in Nigeria, this would mean increased data and revenues for the utilization of the public good. Analysis of the opinions of the public has showcased him to be the most popular of the Next Level ministers for the most positive reasons related to practical capacity and capability.
Talking about popularity, I am sure even you reading this know about Isa Pantami and especially about his capabilities and ascendances.

Our analysis is usually based on research and you are encouraged to study about the spread in the composition of his allies from time till now. he has grown to command respect amongst people owing to his sociability, integrity, capacity and good PR. Remember that big political names have continued to reduce to matter in the political cycle of Nigeria, sustained strategy and goodwill does lately.

To sum the matter up for now, it is important to write about this in order to emphasize the importance of strategy over our actions and inactions.

The 2023 race has become one that will usher Nigeria into the descent to political maturity and that will mean that every minute from now on matters as far as critical strategy is concerned.

The 2023 presidency will be very difficult to predict up until the day of elections. In view of this, the principals are further reminded about the importance of critical strategy as we edge close and as for my fellow Nigerians, let us brace up for a pretty interesting political game going forward. You will hear from me again.

– Suleiman, wrote from Abuja, Nigeria and can be reached via:  oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

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OPINION

Emir Sanusi’s Lamentation, By Abiodun Komolafe

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Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II

The 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II recently told a moving story of how a mother watched her sick child die while waiting to ask the Emir for financial assistance, because she could not afford to buy prescribed drugs of N3,000.00, which, in context, was less than $10. Since “those who feels it knows it”, the ‘Aristocratic banker’ was overwhelmed, and the croaky, breaking voice of the eminently affable Emir, betrayed his emotions!

Well, Emir Sanusi’s address to the United Nation’s meeting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been appropriately documented for posterity. However, Nigerians ought to salute his courage for identifying with the downtrodden and appreciating the dilemma and the economic-unfreedom of the poor in the society! Furthermore, that the Emir could muster enough courage to apologize to Nigerians for any ‘unintended consequences’ of the classical, free market policies he pushed during his tenure as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reveals the enormous social capital ascribed to his social status, the purity of nobility, and his sincere love for humanity.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the educated, onetime CBN Governor, ruled Nigeria’s economic firmament, believing in the classical, neo-liberal macro-economic philosophy, only to discover later – after the deed has been done – that those theories were designed to keep us perpetually in the valley of socio-economic backwardness. However, Sanusi has blazed the trail by being blunt in expressing his regrets, and firmly calling for a paradigmatic shift in our applied economic theories, and an overhaul of our Public Administration. This is indeed the dawn of a new era in public leadership. It has not always been like this. At least, that is what a synoptic view of past leadership in the country reveals.

Yakubu Gowon ruled Nigeria, not as a College Graduate; but later went abroad to bag a Doctorate degree in Political Science. He came back to the country, well read, but did not see the need to reminisce about his past blunders. Murtala Muhammed’s regime was short-lived. But Olusegun Obasanjo’s first and second stints at the highest office in the land portrayed him as an ‘all-wise’ leader. As such, he has neither admitted, nor apologised for his misrule or the mistakes of his regimes. Though Shehu Shagari was a “reluctant president”, the economic ruination of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) government under his watch was never accounted for by the Grade II Teacher-President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime attempted critical reforms in a highly corrupt, polarised, and sceptical society but the excesses of the regime were never atoned for. Ibrahim Babangida’s 9-year rule was characterised by widespread conscientization towards deceit and corruption in governance. Unfortunately, Babangida never apologised for squandering our collective patrimony. Sani Abacha never had a clue about civilian public administration but he clung to power, until … power left him. He did not live to regret or apologise for his misdeeds. From Abdulsalami Abubakar, to Umaru Yar’Adua; to Goodluck Jonathan; to Buhari’s second coming, the stories have disturbingly remained the same.

That said, it must not be lost on Nigerians that Sanusi’s argument is how we must seek the prosperity of the average Nigerian for peace that is contingent on the prosperity of the citizenry to reign in the land. It is instructive to note that Sanusi is now an Emir, a royal father. So, he has his domain to worry about! As an Emir, he also has multiple roles to play! He is a respected Islamic scholar and a religious priest whose pronouncements are weighty in religion. In the political spheres, he is the father for everybody in Kano and its environs, no matter one’s political affiliations. He is a banker, nobleman and public analyst. He is a father and a husband. He is an uncle to some people; and a cousin to others. So, the man has a lot on his plate; and uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!

Like Karl Marx, Sanusi has spoken about how deep our challenges are. He has also prophesied what is likely to happen to us if certain things are not done. He has challenged the elites of this country who are currently standing aloof or pretending not to see the obvious fact that the country has for some time been haemorrhaging. He has also drawn their attention to the fact that their being rich is also defined by the existence of the country; and that, if the country is no longer there, the definition of who they are will have to be reconfigured.

Basically, the truth about democracy is that, no matter the politics of the government in power, the people must come first. Again, this is where the current actors on the political scene must learn to be faithful to their calling. It is a shame that, every year, the first thing they fight for is their personal budget or those things that will accrue to them. If they are not careful, it will get to a stage where there will be no budget to fight for. This is not a prediction of doom. The truth is: if those who are privileged now don’t begin to attend to the needs of the society, it will get to a stage whereby the dignity and the honour, which their positions attract, will disappear. For example, a senator is supposed to be somebody who is revered in the society. But, by the time poverty makes the people to look at him with suspicion – as somebody who has flashy cars, owns monstrous buildings and runs a life that is flashy, then, the society is in for a big trouble. So, it’s time the political class keyed into Sanusi’s optimism by locating the algorithms that Nigeria needs with a view to understanding the mechanics of governance in a way that will take Sanusi’s worries seriously before things get worse.

Finally, Sanusi has a word for the recalcitrant leaders: “They call you ‘Rankadede’ now. In a couple of years, they will throw stones at you.” The question is: are we going to wait till people start stoning people, which, of course, can be likened to a point of no return? Well, Sierra Leone (1991) and Ivory Coast (2000) have eloquently spoken to the options before us!

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

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