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A Season Of Courtesy Calls

Posted: May 28, 2015 at 12:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Eddie Mbadiwe


Success is smothered with a galaxy of friends (both true and false) while failure is abandoned as a lonely and desolate orphan.  The phones of the former crash due to an inability to process a myriad of incoming calls while that of the latter sooner or later is shrouded in graveyard silence.  That unfortunately is the reality and fickleness of man.  Both scenarios are so evident in post-election in Nigeria.

One has it on reliable authority that the President-Elect‘s day starts as early as 9am.  Keeping a long list of courtesy appointments apart from prayer breaks and a quick lunch, this can go on till 8pm.

The wear and tear of this regime will break even the strongest of men.  For foreign missions accredited to Nigeria, these visits are essential part of their schedule and cannot be avoided.

For those other congratulatory visits, the General can do without a majority of them.

Fact is General Buhari arrived at a point in our history when Nigerians were simply dog-tired and wanted a change – any change.

It was indeed a season of anomie and for some reason, emptiness, despair and despondency beclouded an otherwise vibrant people.  Change therefore was inevitable following the natural order of the cosmos.  The alternative was death or decay.

William Shakespeare rightly wrote about a tide in the affairs of men.  Buhari came in the middle of that tide and was consequently transported to victory.

We do not need a gallop opinion poll to know that most Nigerians want Buhari to succeed.  Some people are infact expecting a miracle worker but the President-elect has made it clear that he can only do his best if we all collectively pull in one direction.  Managing the President has become our collective responsibility irrespective of party affiliation for the incoming administration cannot afford to fail.

Against this background, one therefore expresses a measure of concern about this cacophony of so called courtesy calls.  A lot of them are self-serving and have an underbelly linked to future government largesse.  They are diversionary and constitute an abuse of privilege.  My personal view is that they constitute a waste of useful man-hours which the President could otherwise devote to studying and understanding the herculean tasks ahead.  Nigeria is in dire straits and let nobody tell us otherwise.  A possible ship-wreck which is not our portion has to be avoided.

The Governor-elect of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has set what I consider a moral high ground by asking all Abians not to congratulate him on the pages of newspapers and radio and not to come on courtesy visits.  As a trained biochemist, he knows that any work not meticulously researched cannot provide reliable data for publication.  Ikpeazu, in fact, went a step further to advise all those who could have placed expensive newspaper adverts to channel such funds to their favourite Charities and send receipts to government house Umuahia for acknowledgement.

My fellow Nigerians, in the next few days all our newspapers will be awash with praise-singers falling over themselves to prove to Buhari how hard they fought to put him in Aso Rock. Now extrapolate these praise singers to the 36 states.

George W. Bush said at his inauguration as President of the United States that he saw himself as chairman of the Board with responsibility for ensuring that all Directors performed optimally.  He therefore needed adequate space to carry out his assignment and infact found time to fit in rounds of golf.

If at the end of the financial year, which in Buhari’s case is 4 years, the shareholders, i.e., Nigeria public are pleased with declared dividends (in this case improvement in our daily lives), it stands to reason that the Board mandate could be renewed.  Anything short of this will call for another change of the helmsmen.

Whoever becomes Minister of Information has the responsibility of sign-posting us to the change structure of this incoming government.  It may also be necessary to advise this Minister to consult widely especially with the President elect and look at the desirability of putting up a polite notice advising us all to channel our congratulations through orphanages and homes for the disabled.

In the spirit of great expectation now pervading the land, the greatest welcome we can give to Buhari and his team is to individually and collectively commit to respecting the rule of law; determine never to give nor accept bribe; have some degree of respect for time since it cannot be banked or bought.  Let us satisfy ourselves that the daily wage we get is commensurate with real hours we devote to the job.  Let us also commit to not urinating nor defecating in public places which my good friend late Professor Chimere Ikoku derisively referred to as `African open air toilets’.  We can, for good measure also put some icing on the cake by imbibing a culture of civility such as saying thank you when another driver yields to us on the highway.  As civil servants, Nigeria will be more productive if we stop converting our offices to mini malls for sale of shoes, handbags, etc.  Let us all start with these small acts of courtesy which teach us that more progress is made if we all learn to queue for services.

These are indeed the change transformation which will propel us from where we presently are to our rightly deserved place which is the top spot.  When we do our part, we can then challenge the President to confront fuel subsidy squarely.

These change snippets are the courtesy visits the President needs to coalesce for sustainability and give him more time to focus and cogitate on the BIG PICTURE which is the growth of Nigeria.

As May 29th cascades towards the changeover line, our leader in these very difficult times can safely lay his anchor on the time-tested and proven words of the British iron lady Margaret Thatcher when she said:

“`To be a good leader, you must be a good butcher’’.

Honest and brutal courage form the only acceptable platform for governance.

• Hon. Mbadiwe wrote in from Abuja