By Gambo Dori
IN the last many years, we have all been buffeted by the bad and unwholesome news about us. The air waves, the pages of newspapers and the dark alleys of the social media are all replete with the famed sharp practices of the average Nigerian. Probably because the story of the sharp Nigerian has been repeated over and over, we have all been in danger of being painted in those murky colours. This sordid image affects us collectively as it is reflected on how foreigners view us. When we seek for visas to get into their countries we experience difficulties. And when we want foreigners to come and invest in this country we experience reluctance due to the bad news that spread about the average Nigerian.
However, there has been a gale of good, bright, news in the last one week about heroic activities of Nigerians in different spheres of life that is putting us all in a new light and infusing a new confidence in the nation. The first of the good news arrived in my WhatsApp site and surprisingly it is about the police, an institution whose name has been dragged in the mud a lot. To back up the story, the account came complete with pictures of the policemen doing this yeoman’s job. It is one story that you don’t hear about the police nowadays and I felt uplifted when I read it, and decided to share it with you:
“I was driving on Third Mainland bridge and had a flat tyre just before the Yaba turning. As I pulled off the road to change the tyre, a police man approached me asking what the problem was. Before long he had called his colleagues and they were helping me change my car tyre. I must confess, I was a bit uncomfortable seeing the officers getting down to change the tyre while I assisted. After changing the tyre, they gave me a pack of sachet water to wash my hands, then I was wanting for their next move…
To my surprise they simply wished me well as I continued my journey, absolutely no request or demand for anything. So I want to say a very big thank you to officers Zakari, Adeyemi and Augustine for really demonstrating that the police can really be your friend. Just about the same time, another driver pulled over who had missed his way, they were equally as helpful with such gracious attitude. Sometimes, we look for the spirit of the New Nigeria in the wrong places, but that Saturday I was excited to see that the spirit of the New Nigeria is already at work all around us, modelled by simple everyday people.
With all the negative things that come out of the Nigerian Police Force, it was so amazing seeing these men of the Nigerian Police demonstrate such selflessness at no cost. To officers Zakari, Adeyemi and Augustine, I salute and honour you for your conduct. I pray you will see and enjoy the reward of the good investment you are making in this country. I hope this can somehow get to the Force authorities. God bless you!”
The second story is as heart-warming as the one I have just related. This one had even the fortune of being recognised by the Presidency itself. It was an episode that unfolded at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos. From what I have picked from a Daily Trust report in the issue of 23rd August 2018 and other sources the story relates to two security men who returned a handbag filled with valuables that was forgotten at the airport by an American returnee. The report continued:
“A Lagos-based medical doctor, Banji Oyegbami, had gone to the airport to welcome a friend who was returning to the country from America with his family on August 18, 2018. In the process of loading their luggage into the car of their host, the handbag of the returnee’s wife fell, unknown to anyone. It was not till 90 minutes later that an officer of the Halogen Securities, on duty at the airport, called the couple, to come for the received bag. When the bag was eventually collected, the contents, including a handsome amount of American dollars, phone, wristwatch, and other valuables were intact. The grateful couple offered a generous gift but Messrs Francis Emepueaku, and Achi Daniel declined saying they were merely doing their duties.”
This act of the security men was celebrated nation-wide. Their company, the Halogen Securities Ltd held a party in their honour where they were showered with scholarship for their children and a sum of N250,000 each. Daniel Achi who actually found the bag was reported to have told journalists at the reception that, “It never crossed my mind to steal the money and I wouldn’t have done that because it wasn’t my first time of finding such and returning to the owner. No amount of money would make me to take what doesn’t belong to me. I believe my own time will come and at the right time. Achi’s firm belief in the righteousness of his action is already been acknowledged. President Muhammadu Buhari has noted the honest disposition of the two security men. In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, the President said such conduct reflects “the new Nigeria we all desire”. You can be sure that more kudos are on their way to celebrate these worthy sons of the nation.
The third event occurred in far-away Saudi Arabia where a Nigerian pilgrim currently performing the Hajj has returned the equivalent of over N4 million said to be lost by another pilgrim in Mecca. Musa Mohammed Edotsu, a Niger State indigene was reported to have found the money in one of the conveniences in the Niger State Pilgrims village in Mecca. A journalist, Abdul Isa reported from the Holy Land in his WhatsApp page that the Nigerian pilgrim returned the money which included dollars, Saudi riyals and dirhams to Niger State Pilgrims officials who in turn gave the money to the owner. According to the reporter the money belongs to the Chairman of the Enugu State Pilgrims Board, Zukalraini Sa’eed. The honest pilgrim Musa Mohammed Edotsu has already received official recognition in Mecca where the Niger State Amirul Hajj, Abubakar Magaji commended the act and even rewarded him with $200.
These acts of honesty and selflessness among the ordinary Nigerians is an indication that all is not lost. There is an abundant capacity in the country to turn the tides and put the shine once more on all of us. There had been a glut of bad news ranging from suicide bombings, outright banditry, brazen kidnappings and official corruption. We are probably one of the few countries in the world where large sums of monies (equivalent to a state or ministry’s budget) are routinely discovered in warehouses and private dwellings.
The wide reportage of these good deeds now is a signal that there is optimism in the air and we are ready for the good news.
Who succeeds the governors?
FOR the Governors ending their tenure, it is becoming nightmarish finding a successor who would continue the good works and not upset the apple cart. It is more nightmarish for the two Governors that have lived through the insurgency, Yobe State’s Ibrahim Geidam and Borno State’s Kashim Shettima, and have a peculiar situation at hand. They would definitely want someone with the capacity to handle the difficulties of governance that have arisen from the destructions caused by the insurgents.
In that case, it is understandable if they are ruffled by suggestions as to who succeeds them. The body language of the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima implied so when he hosted members of his cabinet and party officials to a Sallah lunch at the Maiduguri Government House. He was quoted in a Premium Times report of 22/08/2018 as saying that, “whether one likes it or not, Allah has destined who the next governor of Borno will be”.
We shall return to the subject next week as we examine what is needed to govern a post-insurgency state? Keep a date with this page.