By Yinka Odumakin
WHEN Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi appeared before the Senate in 2015 to be screened for two portfolios, he submitted an interesting CV.
He was a graduate of English but with his only working experience being at Palmo Clinic in Port Harcourt.
It was not that because literature deals with all disciplines but for the fact that Palmo Clinic belongs to Dr. Peter Odili who runs politics in that second address. At best he was a political assistant to the politician as the best he could do in the clinic was to issue cards to patients.
He could not have changed the story since he was not one of the returnees from abroad with the license to forge their stories.
His tale was simply that from working for Dr. Odili, he ran for Assembly elections, got elected and became speaker for eight years and thereafter for another two terms as governor to become one of the key actors of the 2015 project.
He is one of the big boys of Nigeria politics today and he can afford to throw it at us once in a while because having plenty of cash means you don’t have to process your thought too much.
Solving Nigeria’s problems
And by last Sunday he spoke with a newspaper where he confessed that “it was unemployment that drove me into politics”.
He said his father was a politician who ran for councillorship during his time. But he didn’t make much impression on him to want to be a politician. “However, I didn’t join politics because I wanted to be a leader or because I wanted to solve Nigeria’s problems. I joined because of unemployment. I also believe there is a part that grace played in it.”
He almost became a wretched journalist really. “I actually got auditioned at the Nigeria Television Authority to be a broadcaster. I recall that I walked into their office then and said I wanted to see a certain person. But the person I met asked me if I had been auditioned because I had a wonderful voice. I told him I hadn’t and he asked for me to be auditioned. However, before the employment letter came, I was already into politics. That saved me. I would have been a broadcaster by now.”
You know what he was “saved” from even when he would hug the media for publicity today.
The true confession of Amaechi that he didn’t join politics to be a leader or to change Nigeria is the driving force of our politics today; it is just that Amaechi is being very honest about it.
Please hold my hand and show me how many of our politicians conduct public affairs in a way suggestive of being driven by desire to lead or to save the society. They do just about everything to ruin it.
Majority of our politicians today are in politics just because it is about the only crime you do without consequence. It is just a wonder that our people still expect their lives to get any better under these types.
How come that a society that was once run by men like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa is now being driven by dregs? If you watched the video of Balewa’s visit to America shortly after independence, you will see the calibre of men that wanted to lead.
How would you not see the preparation to lead in Zik? I was moved to tears watching Gen. Alabi Isama’s 2018 TV interview asking what all those who came to Ibadan after Awolowo put on Western Nigeria Television, Liberty Stadium, Cocoa House, Bodija Estate, et al.
Are we still saying we don’t know there is a link between leadership vision and development? A rulership not driven by desire to lead or save society can’t take you beyond where you are Nigeria. Hold 200 elections, your condition will get worse!
Notes on rescuing Nigeria (2)
Prof Francis Ogbimi
NIGERIA may be described as a failed nation today. Bill Powell (Newsweek Magazine, June 21, 1999) described a failed nation as one that possesses the following among other features: 1) It is unable to pay the salaries of workers; 2) it is a nation that is unable to collect taxes; 3) it is overwhelmed by corruption, decadence and decay; and 4) it is a nation unable to guarantee the security of life and property.
We can add that a failed nation cannot guarantee the well-being of its citizens. A failed nation is a retrogressing economic system. A failed nation is confronted by inter-and intra-ethnic strife. A failed nation is unable to solve any problem. A failed nation is highly indebted.
With hope we can argue that Nigeria is a failing nation, not a failed nation. For, if Nigeria had failed already, we, the citizens of Nigeria would not be able to receive letters and e-mails, we would not have valid passports, etc. Nigeria has had most of the listed sad features of a failed nation for years.
The communique the CBCN issued and signed by you and Most Rev. Camillus Raymond, the Bishop of Ikot-Ekpene and Secretary of the CBCN, in September, 2019, after its second 2019 plenary session held at the Divine Mercy Pastoral Centre, Agbamaya, Obada-Oko, Abeokuta, Ogun State, condemned the spate of killings as a result of banditry, kidnapping, assassination, armed robbery, reckless use of force by security agencies and lynching in Nigeria. The CBCN also lamented the upsurge in suicide among youths in our nation.
The CBCN also cited instances of clashes between herdsmen and communities and the activities of Boko Haram insurgents that have continued, in which many innocent people lost their lives. The CBCN then called on government at all levels to create jobs, fight insecurity and prayed for the repose of the souls of all those who have died due to violence and on government to sympathize with the bereaved families.
I write to the CBCN to inform it that I have carried out a 33-year curiosity-driven research aimed at understanding the basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power and how nations develop.
The research has been blessed abundantly. It is accelerated industrialisation Nigeria needs. It is the solution to mass unemployment, poverty, poor infrastructure and high crime wave. I have written to all governments since 1999 to inform them of God’s special grace in my intellectual endeavour. It seems our governments are not interested in the rapid development of our nation. I write to you to add a bigger voice to mine to encourage our governments to do things that promote rapid growth as solution to the central problems plaguing our nation.
Research and teaching
I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Biochemistry in the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, 1976. After the NYSC assignment, I secured a job as a Pupil Research Officer in the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, RRIN, Iyanomo, Benin, in August 1977. I left Nigeria for the United States of America, USA, in September 1979 to study the Science of Rubbers and Plastics as part of manpower development of RRIN.
I obtained M. S. (1981) and Ph. D. (1985). Over the years in the USA, I was filled with the desire to know whether the Blackman and his Caucasian and Asian counterparts are really the same modern man. If they are, what is the basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power? Why do African nations not produce scientific products like European nations, the United States of America and Asian nations do?
I returned to Nigeria in 1986 and became employed by the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, as from October 10, 1986. I was particularly employed as a Research Fellow in a research unit called Technology Planning and Development Unit, TPDU, situated in the Faculty of Technology of the University. TPDU had the mandate of carrying out broad-based research on how to use science and technology to promote rapid economic development in Nigeria and other African nations.
TPDU was also required to teach introductory policy courses to final year students of the Faculty. I was confronted, immediately, with the problem of teaching a course entitled: “Technology Policy”, to final year students. So I went to the university library to pick books that could assist me in assembling materials for teaching the course.
In one of the books I picked from the library, Turning-Points in Western Technology: A study of Technology, Science and History, Science History Publication, New York (Cardwell, D. S. L., 1974), it was written that Europe began the modern era with almost total dependence on the Chinese, Indian and Islamic cultures – the Great Medieval Civilisations, suggesting that Europe (the West) has not always been the technology leader of the world.
God did not make any special race as such. Indeed, England was accused by continental Europe of copying its technology and being unoriginal just before England achieved the first modern industrial revolution. The book added that the learning nation is the progressive one. That early finding shaped my research objective to finding out how nations develop.
I still wondered how I would carry out my curiosity-driven research. As such, I was always looking for tools. One of the ways I thought I would succeed was to broaden my educational background. Hence, quite early, I studied for and obtained a Master of Business Administration, MBA, degree in 1989. The finding that Europe has not always been the technology leader of the world directed my attention to reading the history of nations. I read the history of England, France, Germany. China and Japan. I read wide.
I read government’s documents, especially the Four National Plans and the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, introduced to Nigeria and about 30 other African nations in the early 1980s by the World Bank and IMF. Nigeria adopted SAP in 1986 and our nation is still implementing SAP today. I listened to what people in and outside government say as to how to develop Nigeria and other nations of Africa to become industrialised.
I attended annual conferences/seminars organised by engineers, economists and educationists, universities, governments, etc. I bought and read newspapers daily. I also bought and read home and foreign magazines. I can say my research was a combination of the historical and logico/mathematical perspectives. Also I can say today that it would seem God marked out materials for me to read.