If you’re very accustomed to the individual of Onyema Ugochukwu, one among Nigeria’s most revered journalists who additionally served as pioneer Chairman of the Niger Delta Improvement Fee, (NDDC), you’ll know he’s a gentleman to the core. For the littlest factor you do for him, Ugochukwu tells you “thanks.” It is also “I respect.” You’ll suppose he’s an “oyinbo” man. And this isn’t minding the truth that he’s striding steadily to the ranks of Nigeria’s octogenarians. Certainly, this unassuming, urbane, cerebral and versatile persona sometimes sees off his company to their automobiles, regardless of whether or not they’re older, as previous, or youthful than him.
When he served as Govt Director in-charge of Manpower Improvement, (ED, MD) and later Publications (ED, P) of the Each day Occasions of Nigeria Plc, Ugochukwu, had a really busy schedule. Along with his official transient which concerned personnel administration and capability constructing, he was additionally a Member of the Nigerian Inventory Change, (NSE) and the Nigerian Council for Administration Improvement, (CMD), respectively. He additionally led the Lagos chapter of the alumni affiliation of his alma mater, the College of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN). There was subsequently, very comprehensible human site visitors out and in of his workplace. And he was by no means uninterested in taking part in the great host.
A kind of days on the Kakawa, Lagos multi-floor headquarters of the Each day Occasions, Ugochukwu acquired a “huge man” visitor from the elevator. Not too lengthy after, he needed to see off one other VIP, on the disembarkation level of the elevator. On these twin visits inside the span of some minutes, Ugochukwu observed that he ran right into a colleague of his, moving into, and popping out of the elevator, all by himself, every time he had enterprise across the place. A curious Ugochukwu requested him, out of concern: “I hope every thing is okay. I’ve seen you going into and popping out of the elevator so shortly inside minutes this afternoon.” Ugochukwu was shocked by the reply he obtained from his colleague, who stated: “I needed to shortly test one thing with the ladies promoting drinks exterior our premises. I believe my messenger has been dishonest me for someday now. Each time he’s not at work, a bottle of Cocacola prices lower than when he’s on obligation. I’ve caught him by the wrist at present!”
An exasperated Ugochukwu replied: “Jesus! You’ve been going up and down the carry all due to that, due to the value of Coke? However you might be losing govt time. That is exceptional.” Ugochukwu’s colleague was mute, brow-beaten like a schoolboy who had simply been spanked for misconduct by his trainer as each males walked the hall of the manager ground, quietly, every of them making a detour on the wing of his workplace. For Ugochukwu, the time spent by his colleague, hopping out and in of the elevator like an excited youngster, might have been productively deployed in doing different extra tangible issues.
This incident, significantly the kernel of Ugochukwu’s admonition to his colleague throughout that memorable incident, has been taking part in round my thoughts, since I noticed the pictures and movies of the latest go to of Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun State, and a workforce of elders who paid a go to to President Muhammadu Buhari, final week. Additionally on that delegation was our venerable, octogenarian Olusegun Osoba, a most extremely regarded journalist, administrator and former governor of Ogun State; Chairman of the Ogun State council of conventional rulers, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; Salimot Badru, a former deputy governor and Suleiman Adegunwa, a foremost industrialist. The delegation was in Aso Villa, to convey the gratitude of the folks of Ogun State, to the President, for visiting the state on Thursday January 13, 2022.
On the event of Buhari’s go to, Abiodun’s colleagues significantly from the south west, rallied spherical him, to obtain the president. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo State deputy governor), joined in solidarity. Within the title of becoming a member of their colleague to host the president that day, subsequently, a digital public vacation was declared within the states of jurisdiction of those governors. For a truth, virtually nothing will get performed in most Nigerian states, when the governor is away.
Former Ogun State governors led by Osoba, Gbenga Daniel and Ibikunle Amosun, in addition to the caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) and Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, had been additionally on the welcome social gathering. Within the final two years, Buni by the way in which, has been floating throughout the nation on his advert hoc project, virtually abdicating his core tasks in Damaturu, because the state drifts in autopilot. Buni is in good firm although, as a result of a few of his colleagues have lengthy relocated their vitafoam mattresses to Abuja, appropriating meaty chunks of the federation allocation accounts as a result of their states at supply, some dreaming and posturing as Buhari’s anointed successor.
I’m instructed the thought of post-visit “appreciation” excursions by governors to the president, has change into gold commonplace, particularly for the reason that creation of the incumbent authorities. To this impact, Abiodun is definitely a blaze-trailer on this circumstance, and never particularly, a trail-blazer. By the way in which, I served within the State Home for eight full years, my workplace architecturally and formally contiguous to the President’s. I ought to bear in mind a factor or two concerning the extant customs and traditions of Aso Rock. I’m unsure I keep in mind that such a apply was the vogue beneath the hands-on Commander-in-Chief, I labored with. He was for a truth, a cellular secretariat himself. A phone name from his quick host, would have sufficed, in his personal case. Each Abiodun, and his host on the Abuja mission, the president, are culpable, for my part. The perpetuation of official inanities in any guise, doesn’t in any manner legitimise such idiocy. I think about the Abiodun go to to Buhari, a complete waste of govt time, the kind Ugochukwu upbraided his colleague about, three a long time in the past.
Abiodun’s thanks go to to Buhari, might not have been his first journey, within the run as much as the actualisation of that presidential go to to Ogun State. From my little data of governmental forms, Abiodun will need to have toured Abuja not less than twice earlier than the Abeokuta go to of the president. Between handing within the correspondence inviting the president, likely by the Chief of Employees to the President, (COS), and cross-checking with the presidency, the accessible date for the president to undertake the go to, some forwards and backwards will need to have occurred. There can be consideration for the invitee’s pre-scheduled engagements, and fairly some work goes into the entire course of. The workplaces of the COS; the State Chief of Protocol, (SCOP); the Nationwide Safety Adviser, (NSA); the Division of State Companies, (DSS) and the State Home Safety workforce, amongst others, are variously concerned within the planning. That is sufficiently time-wasting by itself.
With the way of “guided democracy” we’re training in our clime, one can solely think about the way of mounds and mountains of recordsdata and correspondences, awaiting govt directives and approvals, from the pink ink of the governor, when Abiodun left Abeokuta for Abuja. There are choices and directives which might solely come from him, beneath our inchoate and diseased structure. There can be visits and courtesy calls by particular people and organisations, who need to do enterprise with Ogun State. Many official and political conferences can be saved in abeyance till his return. This isn’t forgetting visits to undertaking websites and probably consideration to sundry emergencies. Democracy Nigerian-style, compels sure elected officers, to have their arms in just about each pie.
Buhari ought to have turned Abiodun and his entourage again residence, spontaneously, and admonished them to go get busy and severe. That may most likely have enabled the president himself to spare a couple of minutes from his measured appearances on his desk, to deal with a doc or two.
Trying carefully at pictures of that go to once more, I’m seeing the scientific crutches in use by elder statesman Osoba, peeping from beneath his agbada. Our revered octogenarian, Akinrogun, didn’t must inflict that Abuja look on himself, for a photograph alternative with the president, whereas nonetheless recuperating from his latest knee substitute surgical procedure.
Nigerians elected a president to serve them throughout the 1000’s of wards, making up the 774 native authorities areas; 360 federal constituencies; 109 senatorial zones, 36 states and the federal territory. He swore to the oaths of workplace and allegiance, respectively, to be accountable to this politico-structural pyramid, throughout its size and breadth, in phrase and in deed. Nigerians didn’t vote in a monarch to whom they need to pay obeisance, or a god to whom propitiation needs to be provided, again and again. Certainly one of my charismatic literature professors of blessed reminiscence, Tayo Peter Olafioye, would have described Abiodun’s overkill as “genuflecting “babaism.” This could have been his summation of a scenario the place folks must cringe, cower and kotow, to ingratiate themselves to human monoliths, effigies and statuettes.
Nigeria stays infamously entrenched on the backside of the worldwide poverty index, adorned with the gleaming bracelet of the “poverty capital of the world.” Bismarck Rewane, chief govt of Monetary Derivatives Firm (FDC) Restricted, who’s on the presidential Financial Advisory Council, (EAC), reaffirmed this distressing actuality, simply earlier than the tip of 2021. The Nationwide Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), reminds us that 40% or almost 90 million Nigerians, stay in poverty. In line with the bureau, “if the World Financial institution earnings poverty threshold of $3.20 per day is utilized, Nigeria’s poverty fee is 71%.” We want not depress ourselves any additional, by alluding to the latest 2021 replace from the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), of Transparency Worldwide, (TI), which ranks Nigeria at 154, out of 180 international locations. The nation dropped 5 locations from 149 in 2020. This is similar nation, whose financial epicentre, Lagos, ranks on the apex of the least habitable cities on this planet.
Nigeria needs to be racing, even flying in opposition to time to recuperate a few of the grounds it has misplaced in its gross home product, (GDP), which plummeted from over 500 billion USD in 2015, to about 445 billion USD, in 2021. Our debt profile is approximating the N40 trillion mark, whilst we proceed to build up loans from sundry lenders. Our leaders can not proceed to faux that each one is effectively and good. Their royal frolicking and junketing internationally, just like the latest lavish party staged for (or by?) senate president Ahmed Lawan on his 63rd birthday, or the Kingston, Jamaica-hosted diamond birthday gig for the governor of the Central Financial institution of Nigeria, (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, final 12 months, are subsidised at the price of our collective discomfort and mass pauperisation. This should not and can’t persist.
Dr,Olusunle, poet, journalist, scholar and creator, is a Member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors