By Chioke Mary Hanum

FOR the returnee ministers, it is welcome back. You are among the chosen men and women from 200million Nigerians to drive the society and prosper it, to manage the nation’s resources and wealth beneficially to create a better life for the population. You are returned for your worthiness, especially the ‘super minister’, Mr. B. R. Fashola. You are all appreciated.

It is the greatest privilege to be called by one’s country to serve at the highest level of duty and responsibilitywhich makes you a national figure. This calls for diligence.

You may become astounding as the most honourable minister amongst you, Mr. Fashola, who in my esteemed estimate has worked to deserve this honour, even from his days as the Governor of Lagos State where he excelled to become famous for it.

As a Federal minister, he held three key ministries in the last dispensation with a majorly acknowledged great humanly results. It is the first time in the history of Nigeria’s civil service, quite incredible isn’t?

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One may agree or disagree with my exaltation of this great man. Any of our new ministers can do as much and get acclaimed, for it is pro bono Nigeria. He is of the breed of persons required to steer the ship of state to a safe berth and all will be bliss in Nigeria since independence, going by his pedigree and renown.

He is a Yoruba man, an Igbo man and a Hausa man simultaneously; what Nigerians call a “detribalised” man. For religion, he is a “circular function” and for all faiths. He’s a Hobson’s choice and civic minded and I ask: Why would one with this pedigree and “magic hand” not be considered for the leadership ofNigeria. Such a man can put Nigeria right, you know.

Hmm, it is like I am his best friend or colleague: sorry, by no means, just one who wants the best for my country. I don’t know him more. How I wish I am his best friend anyway.

In an answer to an accusation on TV, that he is always giving contracts to his friends only, he replied by asking the accuser to say which was better: to give contracts to your friends or your enemies? And it drew such a great hilarious laughter and ovation. You see why I will wish to be his friend?

“Make Nigeria great!” This is our charge to the ministers, for Nigeria has never been described as great, though she is acclaimed to retain all the attributes of greatness, but lacks one to do the job of pruning her to grow into greatness. We have long dwelt in near disasters, false hopes and expecting things that exist in the imagination only.

So, go make Nigeria great! Rhyme with the people in body, soul and spirit; know when they are sick and get sick with them, so as to get well with them and all will be song and dance! When this is seen to be done, you would have surely delivered.

The new ministers have every opportunity to excel and earn accolades like Mr. Fashola, but they must always bear in mind that it is impossible to please all, but must not allow this inexplicable phenomenon which must occur as a challenge, to oblique their focus. It takes a pretty good time to attain such a great height; that’s why I said at the beginning that great diligence must be observed with determination.

Have there ever been governors and ministers who have equally excelled like Mr. Fashola? Yes, of course, there are; except that they operated at a micro level. Ex-governors like Dr. Chris Ngige, who can be said to be the harbinger of good governance in Nigeria, who actually performed beyond the common ordinary general expectations of the people of Anambra State until his tenure suffered thrombosis and expired by the force of law. If he ever served for eight years, the story line would have been pleasantly different for Anambra State.

The other ex-governor who came along as well was the uncommon performer inAkwa Ibom State, Mr. Godswill Akpabio who also performed at a micro level but warmed himself into the sub-conscious of his people and has remained there.

Fashola as we all know performed at a macro level in Lagos State, the commercial headquarters of the country and brought his magic performances to the national level to prove that the Lagos magic wasn’t an unmerited acclaim.

In the last dispensation, he held three key ministries: Power, Works and Housing, known as the soul of the society, and improved the lives of the people as never before, especially in the electricity sphere where even my little home town of Isiokpo, Imo State, at the Anambra border, has greatly been empowered with almost 14 hours of electricity daily, and sometimes, every other day, after 12 years of darkness. This serves as a litmus test and proof of the argument.

All thanks goes to President Muhammadu Buhari who, in his wisdom deemed it appropriate to recall him and others for the benefit of Nigeria.

It is no governance at all where merit is ignored in the name of politics. Having said this little much, the onus is on us Nigerians to help them succeed by expressed encouragement. I am only giving expression to my inner thoughts and imagining where the leadership of the country is thrust on this fellow to take us to a magic country where almost everything runs well, and merit is offered a front seat.

Mention his name anywhere: North, South, East and West, and he is no stranger.

However, I am also having in mind, the fact that opinions(yours and mine) are always divergent, never congruent, but in the process, insightful knowledge is enriched where divergence is duly not for hostility.


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