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Thank God for Fashola and Okorocha

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‘’It was just a brainwave of a man who thinks being orator is proof one is a genius.’’

By Jimanze Ego-Alowes

TUE, MAY 07 2019-theG&BJournal- Whenever I read or sight Babatunde Fashola, the Triple Minister, I thank God that my prayers over his head were answered. It is also the same with the outgoing governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha. The two are one of a kind.

And by Jove, what has been the prayer? It is that it should please God that neither of the two ever enlisted in the Nigerian Army. And why? It is that one can swear, even before the most dreaded deity and survive, that if any of these two men was commissioned into any army, he would have ended up a coup maker and possibly plunged this country into chaos, even civil war.

And the signs are all over. Give it to the two, together and separately, they have an over abundance of self, even if unearned, confidence. And perhaps, ignorance to match. Like with all such men trapped in their self-satisfying manners, their tragic play begins innocuously. In fact, often times their opening scenes make it look like their acts are for the greatest good of the greatest numbers.

First, Okorocha. Many may have forgotten that just about the first week of resuming as governor of Imo State, Okorocha declared himself a socio-political theoretician, floating an imperious idea. It was the schema that there should be a fourth tier of government and that it shall begin with Imo State.

The difficulty was that nobody, including Okorocha himself, understood exactly what a fourth tier of government meant. Finally, it turned out that the idea of the fourth tier of government was just a brainwave. The brainwave of a man who thinks being orator, even of the affected kind, is proof one is a genius. Expectedly, as is with such impetuous men, Okorocha didn’t wait to reflect, before he went for the rooftops and announced things. Today Okorocha is finished with Imo and the report card is? It is that Imo is a wreck, worse than Afghanistan after her civil war. Anyway, as we write, nobody knows what has happened to the Okorocha theories of four tier governances.

If Okorocha is now gone to the dust, politically, Fashola the failed poster boy of governance, has chosen to toe the Okorocha path, step for step. According to a report:

”The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has called for the elongation of appointment of the Minister of Works and critical directors in the ministry, saying a four-year term is too short to design roads, undertake procurement and building the roads.” 

Fashola Seeks Elongation of Works Minister’s Tenure

It looks innocent enough. But look in and the iberiberisms, apologies to Okorocha, begin to show. First, this story. As Nigeria passes through unending security challenges, Channels Television, in her morning show, interviewed one retired police commissioner. His name is Nwagwu, I can’t be sure, but he once served as a Benue State Commissioner of Police.

Nwagwu came up with one insight. It is that all the structures that the Nigeria Police inherited from the British were excellent and bespoke. They were uncommonly effective in preventing and tackling crimes. And he went further to remind us that a country like Ghana had left those structures as they inherited it. Of course Ghana he says has a better working policing system profile than Nigeria. The difference is that the Ghanaian policing was built on and around the excellent structures the British carefully thought out and instituted.

But Nigerians decided they were wiser than the civilized. The result as it pertains to the police is that all kinds of innovations, poorly articulated innovations and reforms, have been visited on the Nigerian police. Today, the Nigerian police has neither head nor tail to it. And he gave the example of SARS. According to him, there were imbedded within the then Criminal Investigation Department, CID, a SARS-like body. But it was kept under control of a court of senior police officers. Today, he rued, even Divisional Police Officers, have their own micro or local SARS. And today the result is that the police hired to protect, may be killing more Nigerians than armed robbers.

But that is not all to the storyline. According to Bishop Hassan Kukah, Nigeria is the only commonwealth country that re-configured her political delineations, after the British left. And this was done essentially by coup makers. And these coup makers, in the guise of the Fashola-Okorocha proclivity believed that oratory is genius. And to pepper up their delusion they had guns. And they began to ”alter all alterables.”

In consequence, the coup makers began to reorder Nigeria in their tattered khaki images. That is why Nigeria is so ungovernable today. The structure of governance and the polity has been so mindlessly shredded that it will be easier to bind humpty dumpty together, than to have Nigeria work again as a civilized entity.

To understand how we came to this bend the following is indicated. The point, which looks pointless after the fact, is that the British system which we inherited is a studied design. It came out of a civilization of the highest order. And its provenance runs back to the great imperium, Rome, Rome the Model Empire. That is the British system we inherited is not a produce of the restlessness of mindless operatives whose only genius is that they have office and audience, aka power, whether stolen or otherwise.

Of course, the case of the iberiberism governor is clear. Already APC as a party has made it clear, it prefers utility bills as the best certificates one can possess for office. Even as we write, it is known that the APC chairman magically graduated from a school before it was established. So he showed his utility bills in lieu. Or perhaps hired lawyers.

Anyway, nobody really asks whether Okorocha has ever written a paper or defended a thesis on tiers of government or even sat for exams in his life? It is not impossible that it is blokes like him that El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, has in mind when he spoke of the absence of Ivy Leaguers running the states, etc.

But Fashola is a different kettle of fish. Fashola runs around the streets of governance in guise of a scholar, with an orator’s voice to match. But he is actually an artisan, or better a big name artisan, aka professional, here a lawyer, a SAN. The point needs to be underlined, being a scholar and being a brilliant professional are not one and the same thing.

So where and when and how, has Fashola written and defended a paper on tenures of officers in government? And how much does he really know of governance structures? Or is he confusing his oratorical skills for genius, so much that he is behaving like coup maker colonels? It is these coup makers, who in their blissful, but armed ignorance, decided to give up the British Civilization we inherited for our current barbarism. It never occurred to them that development is court-like, a web of attachments, that cannot exist without each other. That is you can’t thoughtlessly retouch one strand, say tenure of work ministers, without bringing the whole court into peril.

It is the fact of not appreciating the interwoven nature of governance that mislead Generals Murtala Mohammed and Ibrahim Babangida. Even if you granted them their claim to good intentions, the fact is now clear that it was the Babangida interventions with Professor Olukoye Ransome-Kuti to re-cast doctor’s remunerations that threw the entire health sector into perennial chaos since. And Muritala sacked, according to him, unproductive civil servants, over the airwaves. Today, the civil service is an engine of pure corruption. But that was in part a righteous reaction against the possibility of another precipitous Muritala, armed with a coup.

Now, the difference between the impetuous Murtala-Babangida and Fashola is that one, Murtala-Babangida, has a coup and guns to kill, but poor Fashola has only an office, is a minion. However,  behind this difference they have the same kneejerk manners.

So, we beg of this nation to remark the following. First, that Fashola is a lawyer. Second, that Fashola is an orator. Third, that Fashola is not a scholar of public administration. Fourth, that Fashola if he wants to theorize should be humble enough to quit power, go to any faculties and defend his theorizing on tenures of works’ ministers. Fifth, let Fashola not abused the public office we have appointed him, to suggest any improvements therein. Sixth, any such suggestions, in decent societies, is done as a memoir not as a thesis. It is only coup makers who mix up the two. Thank God, neither Fashola nor Okorocha ever made it to the military.

Latest: On The Book Reading at Quintessence!

Yours truly will, we did like to remind you, be on a book reading show at Quintessence, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi. I will read from my latest book: The University-Media Complex as Nigeria’s Foremost Amusement Center. DATE: 18th May, 2019. VENUE: Quintessence. TIME: 2:30 PM sharp. There will be audience participations, autographs and prizes. A reading nation is a prosperous nation. Come one, come all. 

Jimanze Ego-Alowes (PhD) is Author and public commentator

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