The brouhaha generated by PMB’s yesterday’s appointment is healthy and good for our social and political development, except one thing that I found disturbing. It is that, those who are very educated, well-traveled and exposed also joined the bandwagon that PMB’s move was a bad or ill-advised one. And that’s their right. In these categories are instructors, academia, acclaimed intellectuals and so on. Most of who campaigned vigorously for the President.
Like I have often said in private to my friends, our political activists and commentators are one of our greatest problems. They cannot even claim to be better organised than the politicians. Over the years we cannot find subject matter experts amongst them. Instead they are all-rounder, experts in corruption, experts in lopsided appointments, experts on Tinubu, experts on IBB and generalissimo in bandwagonism.
I expected them to have used this opportunity to elevate this discourse, educate the people and the not so exposed that we developed faster under the colonialists, that PMB has the right to choose who he can work with, that there are still over 3000 appointments yet to be made, that the north is still the least developed part of the country after producing most of the country’s leaders, that ultimately PMB will be remembered for what he did and not who he chooses, that at the end of four years we will access PMB by what he has done and not who he chose, that a reformed and efficient customs service will benefit everyone that deals with that parastatal in respective of their religion, that merit should be across board( a case of the JAMB scores).
Some have argued that these were some of the issues we criticised President Jonathan for. While this may be true it is not the reason he lost the election. He lost the election due to bad governance and poor decisions. For the record I never criticise the last President for his appointments.
The outburst is understood it’s a result and product of where we are coming from. Change is needed and it is obvious the President cannot do it alone. This President will end up being a transformative leader. He is not a transactional leader. He needs followers who are able to make him advance to higher level of morality and motivation.
We have so many examples and reasons to believe that other than pander to the ethnic chauvinism in each of us there is no evidence to show that choosing someone from my ethnic group will benefit my ethnic group. These well-educated, well-travelled, Ivy League, professors should know better. They should take off their ethnic thinking cap. Pan Nigeria does not only mean choosing people of different ethnic background to form a government. It can also mean accepting people of other ethnic group to form a government.
Before the elections we all agreed that corruption has no ethnic group that when it comes to corruption in Nigeria it is them against us. So why then should merit be ‘ethnicised’? Before the elections we agreed that we do not care where GMB comes from as long as we get good governance. Why are we taking a different approach with the appointments?
In my Yoruba culture, they say Esin wa ju ni teyin wo sa re meaning it’s the horse in front that the one behind follows. We are always quick to to site the advanced countries and look up to them. Which ‘Esin” are we looking up to in this case ?
When Mark Carney a fellow Canadian was chosen as the Governor of bank of England, I didn’t hear ‘kpim’ from the English people. It was the first in the country’s history. Carney’s actions as the Bank of Canada’s governor are said to have played a major role in helping Canada avoid the worst impacts of the financial crisis that began in 2007 . This must have improved his chance.
At this critical point of our nationhood, and with the new social media frenzy, we should be very wary of the people we listened to. When you make a comment regarding an issue, depending on the circumstance, I look at your background, what you have done for yourself and your community, what you are doing right now, how many leadership or followership roles you have held, who your mentors are, the business you have built or failed in, your area of expertise, what you do with your time every day and ultimately your previous or historical assertions.
Whether these appointments are ill advised or not remain to be seen. In four years’ time we will assess PMB and it will definitely not be based on his appointments. It will be based on how many roads built, how other modes of transportation have been developed, how many corrupt people have been convicted, how our immigration have been reformed, how our prisons have been reformed, how our customs have been reformed, how easy it has become to do business in Nigeria, how the mortality rate of women giving birth have reduced, how the rate of those dying from malaria and typhoid have reduced, how the rate of those dying by road and air crashes have reduced, how the rate of kids enrolling in schools have increased, how power generation and transmission have increased, how secure the country is, how easy is it for the entrepreneur to secure loans.
Aside these nothing else will matter.