By Josef Omorotionmwan
JUBRIL Mummad Aminu is one man with very tall credentials and still growing: a renowned Professor of Cardiology, a Diplomat, a Politician extra ordinaire.
Aminu has made waves the world over. A few of the qualities that stand him out: A solid background of MBBS from the University of Ibadan, PhD in Medicine from Royal Post-Graduate Medical School, London, Fellow of the following: Nigerian Academy of Science, Royal College of Physicians, London, West African College of Physicians and a Distinguished Fellow of the Nigerian Postgraduate Medical College.
He was a Consultant in Medicine, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Studies at the University of Ibadan Medical School, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Universities Commission, Visiting Professor to various Universities, Vice-Chancellor, University of Maiduguri.
He served as Federal Minister of Education as well as Petroleum and Mineral Resources and President of the OPEC Conference before being elected to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from Adamawa Central Senatorial District.
Wherever he goes, he leaves a mark, something to be remembered by. He has something for everybody. For me, the legacy he left as Federal Minister of Education was the establishment of the Federal Government Academy for gifted children, from which I have benefitted vicariously.
His idea was to catch the Nigerian children of high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) young, put them together in a world of their own, give them whatever is required to develop them into men and women who would eventually drive this country to excellence.
His original idea was that the Academy should grow into a University of its own and a centre of excellence. While still alive, it must be lamentable to see how his noble ideas have been killed, no thanks to his own kinsmen!
The more you speak of Aminu, the more you see the goodness in him. This makes the problem at hand rather daunting: how do you remind such a man that the law of diminishing utility is beginning to set in on him and that he should step aside from politics’ mucky waters?
Not many can be as lucky as General Yakubu Gowon who had an ample opportunity to be humiliated by a lesser mortal at the time, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida at one of those delegates’ congresses, when grassroots approach to elective offices was new.
Aminu has just deposited in the public place, an incomplete message about the Governors’ forum: “The forum is strange and an instrument of oppressing the Federal Government and the people.
I don’t know how the forum came about. And if it is not checked, it will put the country in serious trouble as the State Chief Executives unite to challenge the Federal Government. I have worked in many parts of the world and have not seen anything like such a forum”
Our first worry is that a more vibrant Aminu who had no half measures in his dictionary would have gone one vital step further to say what he wants done to the forum. As a teacher, we wonder how many times he gave pass marks to students who submitted their term papers with problems fully stated and no attempt at proffering a solution.
And as a Senator, how many motions he moved without a prayer – a solution to the problem.
As it were, Prof has now reached the point where he wants us to do his thinking for him. Does he want the Governor’s forum abolished? But these are citizens first and governors after that.
How does Prof intend to reconcile the proscription of the body with the provision of Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees every Nigerian the freedom of association?
In a world that is over-unionised, Aminu cannot be too right that he has never seen a forum like the governors’. For every organisation, there is a forum – from tomatoes sellers to okada riders, from prostitutes to straight women.
Has Prof not heard of the Conference of Speakers of Nigerian Legislatures? What of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON)? Until recently, this writer was the Chairman of the forum of Board Chairmen in Edo State.
When the Boards were dissolved, of course, the Forum melted away. But while it lasted, the Forum provided a veritable opportunity to adopt common positions on issues of mutual interest to members and the government.
We wonder if Prof has heard of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Summit of the Heads of State and Government, etc., etc., and the League of US Mayors when he was Nigeria’s Ambassador to the USA. What of the Diplomatic Corps in virtually all counties of the world?
We think Chester Irving Barnard (1886-1961) was essentially right, when he said: “When the individual has become associated with a cooperative enterprise, he has accepted a position of contact with others similarly associated. From the contact, there must arise interactions between these persons individually, and these interactions are social.
It may be, and often is, true that these interactions are not a purpose or object either of the cooperative systems or of the individuals participating in them. They nevertheless cannot be avoided.”
We keep talking of peer review mechanism and that’s the type of cooperation that emanates from the Governors’ Forum.
How else do we encourage inter party and intergovernmental relations? Banard speaks further: “Cooperation compels changes in the motives of individuals which otherwise would not take place. So far as these changes are in the direction favourable to the cooperative system, they are resources to it. So far as they are in the direction unfavourable to cooperation, they are detrimental to it or limitations of it”
This explains why rather than seek to abolish the Governors’ Forum, which we cannot do anyway, we should seek to encourage its members to lift the forum above the narrow confines of their self-interest to the level of development in the interest of their individual States and the national interest at large