Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, erstwhile spokesman of the House of Representatives, renowned for his sterling role as the Dean of the Initiatives, the intellectual driving force of the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011, has had opportunity of putting his philosophical ideas into practise as Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM).
Eyiboh, who had for years been on the wrong side of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in his native Akwa Ibom State, formally crossed over to the All Progressives Congress, APC last year.
In this question and answer session, he evokes the deeper implications of the change mantra of the APC administration saying that if carried out to the letter, it could stir up an ethical reorientation of the populace in a way that could lead to national rebirth reminiscent of the War Against Indiscipline, WAI campaign during Muhammadu Buhari’s first advent 30 years ago.
By Chioma Onuegbu
What are your thoughts on the changes in the polity being advanced by the APC administration?
Our democracy has thrown up the emergence of quasi ethnic sentiments, unbridled cultivation of poor national consciousness, weak institutions, poor public perception of government, deteriorating national values and insecurity.
The contextual implications of the present government’s change mantra is intended to jumpstart a rebirth process with new thinking driven by the recruitment of vital crop of men and women with new lens to ignite our strength in diversity and trigger new opportunities founded on national consciousness and ethical value.
Corruption, insecurity and poor ethical value are speedsters requiring a national narrative to provide the speed breakers to minimise or check the acceleration of these tendencies.
Our prevalent national rebirth process to the main, through institutional capacity, must take deliberate steps to travel the road less taken, the road that requires vision, creativity and courage to forge our strength in diversity to enhance salient answers to our many inherent weaknesses and threats.
How can the government achieve this salutary objective?
As a government, the public perception of its performance and action depends on the competencies of the ability of its agencies to galvanise public feedback loops, to collaborate and encourage honest behaviour of citizens and create a nexus between government and the governed in its public information and communication initiatives.
How will this translate into tangibles for the population?
Expectedly, democracy must bring about national development and general improvement in the standard of living of the people devoid of threats to public safety and the state, in accordance with the constitutional provision thus “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government …”.
What ingredients would be required for this change?
The intended and unintended consequences of this rebirth process (CHANGE) require reform mindsets, leading edge characters, design thinking and feedback loops. Understanding the necessity of the change provides the basis for defining the best approach to manage this rebirth.
There must be deliberate narratives to facilitate adaptation of people’s mindsets, culture and attitude to the change mantra. Any perceived imposition of the change mantra may generate opposition towards this reform initiative.
Non-deliberate public information and communication strategies may increase uncertainty and distrust, occasioning misinformation and disruption of the vision of the rebirth and resistance to its creation.
I will not be surprised that some critical Nigerians will see the ensuing modification of the national psyche as a rejuvenation of the War Against Indiscipline that was first marshalled by the same person many years ago. While that may hold to some extent, I will proffer that the latest development is even more far reaching in content, capacity and consequence. This is essentially based on the fact that whereas WAI was truncated by his removal from power, a national rebirth as I articulated cannot be easily truncated, being that once something or someone is reborn, the old is gone and the new has come and I know Nigerians will appreciate the new offerings on the table.