(An open letter to the Administrator General- Part I)
‘After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy;there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!
My father is 54 and I don’t know what to give him as a birthday gift! The emotion and euphoria that swept across the country in 1961 was infectious and extraordinary, although we had no doubt where we were going, we were going to be the leaders of our country, and freedom was what mattered. Great Independence Hall! The nationalist leaders who helped gain independence for our dear nation, were hailed as heroes and swept into office with huge votes, criticizing them became sacrilegious and, very quickly, the freedom and development promised by this nationalist transformed into a melodramatic nightmare.
Without any apology, the last administration led by Ugo left the hall in a putrid, malodourous and vitiated state. All efforts of the cunning Speaker to ensure that the huge sum of money siphoned is recovered proved abortive. In fact, neither a single physical project nor community service was done. The remaining large numbers of thehall package were not just distributed among friends but also with Idia and Awo ladies. Manifesto promises ended in words at the manifesto night. Before anything of such will repeat itself, all eyes must be watchful.
By the beginning of your administration, it was clear something had gone terribly wrong in hall; the hall was in a state of anomy. In addition, hearts of men were failing, the hall was politically unyielding, economically self-centered and administratively fraudulent also censorship, persecution, arbitrary seizures of property, corruption, worst toilets. Infrastructure had decayed and crumbled.
Beyond every reasonable doubt, this administration started very well. All members of the executive were not just committed to their constitutional duties; efforts were made to ensure the fulfillment of the electioneering promises. The Defence, Internal, Sport, Health, Social and Buttery commissioners were earnestly working to reposition the hall. They were sensitive to the needs of Katangites. However, I want you to note that no one is a performer.
54 years after inauguration, our dear hall is now a place of wounded cruelly citizens, one can feel the tears and pains of his neighbours, the hall is now full of contradictions, consistent becomes inconsistent, bad becomes good, it is a hall where those who stole the blind man walking stick in the morning and were given uncomplimentary names, have become decision makers, 54 years after, food is small, mind is depressed, what a tragic reality, I tell you brother times are indeed hard, our hall is seriously sick.
A major cause of our backwardness is the inability of our leaders to distinguish between leadership and politics. Leadership is more of the management of people and resources. It is about the ability of a leader to build something out of nothing and not about nothing out of something; or about finding excuses for failure. On the other hand politics is about finding ideological platforms to attract voters and win votes in the hope that the best Leader would emerge. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Leaders are often born while politics is more of a mirage. It is a job for magicians who can turn day into night. And most politicians often follow what Francis Bacon called the idols of the market place. They lack independence of opinion and character and usually follow the trends. This is why you won’t find one Nigerian politician who has protested the way our resources are being wasted while majority of our citizens are living below poverty level. Until we address the issue of principle and ideology, we are heading nowhere.
A good leader knows that his score-card is based on performance and the legacy he’s able to bequeath on leaving office. But a politician knows his record is based on nothing but the ability to manipulate the system to personal advantage. To a politician, legacy means nothing while survival is everything. All he has to do is master the nuances of his godfathers. He knows their love for dullards and the dregs of the society, and the more he looks like one the better his chances. It is important he assures his sponsors of his readiness to maintain the status quo and do nothing to ruffle the feathers.
The only solution to the cases of corruption across all levels of leadership is transparency. If all what Katangites could see was the crude income and expenditure or balance sheet, then where is the bank statement of account? The House has requested for this important document but you haven’t produced it. Hope something out of sight is not going on. We are yet to receive our package.
A good leader understands that there is life outside power but a politician does not think so. The politician can’t ever picture himself out of the corridor of power and privilege. It is the reason most politicians are always recycled. There seems to be a database where godfathers pick the worst candidates from. They know those who are too desperate for power and would do anything and everything in this world to grab it and keep themselves perpetually in office no matter how useless the position. Katangites still await the Nescafe standsooo!
A goodleader sets a target as well as a deadline for himself and his team but a politician believes he has all the time in the world to mess about until death comes and he joins his ilk in the grave of history. A good leader must possess a track record of success and accomplishment but a politician need not possess anything other than records of failure and rascality. He has no knowledge of anything other than how to make and blow money and turn resources into ashes. A good leader would appreciate the value of money and know what a million naira can buy in the market place. But a politician has no value for money and can’t even understand what one billion naira can do on the global scene. That is the reason we now have a new vocabulary for money in Nigeria because a millionaire is now a pauper while wealth begins from being a billionaire.
The way forward is for the leader to arm him with knowledge and courage, the knowledge to know right from wrong and the courage to say No to evil. He must never be desperate for anything in life. Most of our Leaders didn’t have to do much to attain power and should learn not to worry too much about losing it. Truth is, the easiest way to keep power and favour is through over-performance.
However despite these ills, time has now come for all of us as a people united in hope for a better tomorrow to avoid the disgust of the past and advance our nationhood on the principles of equality, liberty and rule of law, we all need every inspiration arising from self-healing, self-regeneration and self-pride–I Believe there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel, the future and dreams of our fore fathers shall and will never be in vain, I believe in your dream. God bless Great Independence Hall.