By Donu Kogbara
EKITI State Governor Kayode Fayemi, said, during a lecture he gave at the Pan African University on Tuesday, that although the post-colonial era is being run by Nigerians, the system of governance at the centre is still “alien and predatory” like the colonial system.
Fayemi added that the quality, vision, patriotism and competence of Nigeria’s political leadership was critical to the transformation of the African state and the sustenance of good governance.
According to a report in The Nation newspaper, Fayemi said that politics has been reduced to a clash of one exclusive claim of power against another and that operators of the Nigerian state often decide to select a “selectorate” against the wishes and aspirations of the people.
Citing the struggle to regain his mandate as an example, Fayemi said only a determined people and impartial judiciary can save the day when the “selectorates” confront the electorate.
He concluded with the following comments: “The Nigerian state has become disdainful of its citizens and the citizens disdainful of the state. Government is no longer treated as a synonym of governance. What is needed is not a customer-based service, but the consultation of the people who are supposed to take decisions as to how things should be done…
“…You will all recall a famous exchange between two of our founding fathers. One asked that we should forget our differences and build a strong and united country. The other insisted that we cannot build a strong and united country without recognising our differences…
“…The truth about how to save Nigeria and create a new paradigm for public governance lies between the two statements. Whether Nigerians will continue in perpetuity to recognise their differences or forget them forever must be left to the collective decision of Nigerians”.
I couldn’t have put it better myself! Fayemi – a rare gem and deep-thinking principled brainbox – has always been my kind of government official because he totally understands his responsibilities and knows that he is a public servant, not a monarch. More grease to his elbow. I feel sure that Ekiti State will benefit massively from his stewardship.
Please put us out of our misery!
Having been abroad for a while, I returned home last week and have been alarmed by the tense, pessimistic atmosphere.
A few individuals I’ve encountered – mostly lucky beneficiaries of government largesse! – are happy enough. But most folks say that their existences have never been tougher; and several have gloomily informed me that they would leave for happier shores if they could.
No cause for celebration!
HERE is a letter I’ve just received from Ifeka Okonkwo, a regular reader of this page who writes to me often.
DONU, it is really a tragedy that 52 years after our independence, we do not have cause to roll out the drums to celebrate it, due to the glaring fact that we have been subjected to unprecedented suffering from the non-provision of the basic necessities of life by the politicians. This is caused by greed of a ruthless ruling class, their business partners and unscrupulous civil servants who are hell-bent on milking our richly blessed country to death and in the process becoming richer than her!
Are they not buying up our assets in the name of privatization to add to the wealth they have already accumulated for their generations yet unborn? Have they not failed woefully to fix our roads, give us constant supply of electricity and water, provide jobs for our youths, adequate security of lives and property and not to talk of strengthening the purchasing power of the naira? Shame on them!
On Channels News at 10 on September 30, President Jonathan called for one year of prayers for our country. So we shall pray for our politicians to continue enjoying our common patrimony all by themselves to the exclusion of the rest of us without their making our lives comfortable with the huge resources at their disposal. I wish them all dead. Period!
I’ve noticed that Mr Okonkwo’s comments about our nation’s collective woes have become increasingly rancourous and strongly-worded as his frustrations about various injustices mount. And he is not alone.
Expression of similar opinions
Many other Nigerians – Vanguard readers who contact me as well as people I meet socially or relate to professionally – are expressing similar opinions.
Most critics of government do not use the kind of feisty – some might say extreme! – language that Mr Okonkwo favours. But the bottom line is the same: They feel as if they are in bondage and trapped in a huge messy rut. They hate (with a burning passion!) those they blame for their multiple discomforts; and they yearn to be liberated.
They want all of the things on Mr Okonkwo’s wish-list. They want the chronic corruption and scary security problems to be tackled aggressively. They want wide-ranging infrastructural improvements. They want decent hospitals, schools, airports, etc. They want more employment opportunities. They want dignity.
They want, in a nutshell, caring and effective leaders who will lift their hearts and put them out of their misery…and a velvet revolution that will make Nigeria a REAL Giant of Africa and provide their children with a better quality of life.
Dear Mr President, are we asking for too much?