Nigeria needs to dialogue to fight corruption –Shaibu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigeria needs to dialogue to fight corruption –Shaibu

Posted: Apr 18, 2015 at 7:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Former Acting Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Samson Alhaji Shaibu, is a disciplined and dedicated civil servant whose career is full of testimonies with a life of visions and accomplishments. In this interview with Assistant EDITOR, Sam Anokam, the Kogi State born intellectual, talks about, among others, the importance of dialogue in tackling national issues

Could you let us into your background?

Samson Alhaji Shaibu

Samson Alhaji Shaibu

I was less than five years when my father died. The only picture in my head about my father was during his burial when all his children were made to touch his corpse, due to our traditional belief. If any of his children didn’t do so and see him in the dream, they will die. So, they made me do so against my wish and fear as a child. In fact, growing up without a father wasn’t rosy at all, because my mother was a petty trader. Accidentally, through the grace of God and His divine intervention I had my education from foundation class to PHD level without paying school fees in my life. I was awarded scholarship throughout my education. I attended Government Secondary School Dekina then proceeded to Federal Government College, Kaduna. I bagged a degree in drama from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. I had masters in theatre arts, with specialty in television and PhD in theatre arts, specialty in radio from University of Ibadan. I also have a certificate in management from St. Frazer University Vancouver, Canada. Thereafter, I got married after my national youths service and we have lived through rain and sunshine. We are happily blessed with children.

At what point did you go into broadcasting?

I worked in FRCN all my life in an enabling environment of fairplay, I accidentally became the acting director general, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) before retirement. I worked as a radio broadcaster from level eight till the highest level in civil service, which is 17. I was director training, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Training School, Zonal Director, Abuja National Station. Then became the Acting DG, FRCN.

When exactly did you serve as DG, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria?

I emerged acting Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria few months to my retirement in 2012. I must appreciate the transparent leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for my appointment as the next person in rank after the outgoing director general. Since, I was the next in command, which gave me the opportunity of becoming the acting director general and I appreciate his transparent government in public offices regardless of tribal differences.

Could you share some of your experience within the short period of your tenure as acting director general Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria?

As an Igala man, I am a very liberal person, so I didn’t allow myself to be diverted by tribe and religious sentiments but added every professional input into the organisation. In fact, I had a nice time in office and every member of staff worked with me to achieve our recorded success within the short period of my tenure.

How has life been after retirement and what are you doing to keep body and soul?

It’s so interesting! I had always prepared myself before time, didn’t depend so much on government job. I have a PhD, which qualifies me as a lecturer in any tertiary institution of my choice. Upon retirement, I started lecturing as a part time lecturer in some universities in Abuja. But due to timing, I had to narrow myself to lecturing in a private university in Abuja, Bingham University. However, I was made the board chairman of First Gospel Radio in Africa, immediately after my retirement. I am board chairman of some companies in Nigeria. And also a training consultant; I am an executive chapter president of Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship and a writer; I have published three books and still counting.

Every job has it’s own ups and downs, what were those challenges you encountered in your years of service?

Of course, there are professional challenges, there was a time they gave me suspension letter before dismissal and it was not related to any crime but my refusal of not being a team player. And it’s irrelevant explaining those experiences. In fact, the civil service system is like an evil service but it’s also interesting. Because it’s from the negative, you will be able to develop the positive. However, my appointment as the acting DG, FRCN was the highest point in my career and I’m forever grateful to Mr. President.

What actually inspired you into publishing your latest book titled Dialogue?

I have written books on broadcasting but the trigger of my recent book titled “Dialogue” was the just concluded national conference. And except Nigerians embrace the confab recommendation, we will be groaning in darkness for life. It is the first opportunity for all ethnic groups and minorities of our land to come together in a roundtable to discuss the anger that has stagnated Nigeria. So, any leader that wants to go against the confab is calling for the collapse of our great country. Though, I didn’t want to follow the political approach of the national conference, but it gave me all the necessary data to write the poems, drama, and commentaries in the book. As a trained theatre arts graduate with specialisation in television and radio, I have excellent experience in Mass Communications, which also encouraged me to gather my wealth of experience in this book as a template for posterity. God has given us the opportunity to discuss dialogue for our future. In this book, you have the basis to make films on the need for us to dialogue. If we must move forward as a nation, dialogue is a necessity, because it is like covering our wound without treatment. That’s why this book is written in perception for generations unborn to read on the needs to dialogue to fight tribalism. In America there is nothing like racial discrimination, but in Nigeria tribalism is a symptom. It gives me joy that Governor of Lagos State made an Igbo man a commissioner, that’s an excellent behaviour. Nigerians should learn to treat people on the basis of the content of their characters not on religion or tribe.

How do you think we can tackle corruption, insecurity, tribalism and religious differences, which have eaten deep into our system as a nation?

Corruption is a system not a problem! The deep-rooted cause of corruption and insecurity among others mentioned above is lack of dialogue. If the leaders dialogue with their followers, the youths will have a better place in the society. And if the governors in the north build schools in the right localities, there wouldn’t be issues of insecurities. Sultan of Sokoto dialogue with his people irrespective of religion and tribes, they are in his cabinet and he rules them successfully.

Are you hopeful that General Buhari will achieve his agendas when he takes over power?

The president elect deserves our support. He has seen adversity and should use adversity experience to the advantage of Nigeria. However, any leader that is quick at getting riches cannot be innocent. But put in place an independent think-tank to give him position paper on any national issue. As a party, personal and special advisers may be subjective, partisan and jaundiced with myopic input. Prof. Tam David West said that Buhari is a leader, any leader that reads between the lines and schemes is a leader anytime anyday!

What are your expectations?

Most Nigerians will be reading the lips of the president-elect on May 29 to know his soft spot, his likes and dislikes, so as to use that against him or write memos along that line before his approval. He should beware of narrow identity politics or politics of selfish interests of individual against the nation or even divide and rule politics. The General is well positioned to carry everyone along, judging from his military and adversity experiences. All these may sound like preaching to the converted or Baba Buhari that is old enough but let these be seen as a reminder before him to leave his own legacy on the sands of time, panacea and cure to all our myriads of problems. Tribes and religions must dialogue because there is enormous strength in our diversity. Nigeria is the only country in the entire universe that has so many strong empires and stateless societies rolled into one as a country! We have to dialogue not to forget our differences and forge unity like the amalgamation of the past without integration. We must dialogue to know our differences and accommodate the differences towards tribal and religious tolerance and understanding.

Do you also think dialogue can fight corruption, since it is part of General Buhari’s agenda?

General Buhari should give opportunity to fellow Nigerians, who have so looted our economy to restitute. After some time and failure to do so, he should pull the full wrath of the law against them! Under his watch and the guidance of Almighty God, let it be known that there is enough for the need of all Nigerians but not enough for the greed of a few.