The government inspector and the limits of executive toadyism

The government inspector and the limits of executive toadyism

‘Taiye Currency’, the SA on Public Nuisance & Other Matters and ‘Dishonourable’ Messrs. Sheriff Adeojo and Abass Adigun representing Ibadan North East/South- East Federal Constituencies are the latest band of circus clowns representing the capricious set of legislative flotsam and jetsam washed up by our latest democratic experiment and our tragic dalliance with ossified idiocy and chronic imbecility in governance. Since the miraculous recovery of the Governor Seyi Makinde from the deathly claws of COVID-19 and a feat ascribed to self-isolation and black seed oil and honey, it has been a flurry of congratulatory messages and a falling atop one another to be the first to announce the ‘Lazarus’ miracle on billboards paid for with taxpayers’ money – a splash of madness and paint competing with heresy and tomfoolery. Expect even more execrable drama in the coming days!

One may feel tempted to heap the blame on a prevailing context that rewards incompetence and promotes under-performance but things do not have to come to a sorry head before we realize how stuck we are on Shit Alley. Something more odious happened to us as a people that have little to do with formal education or lack of it. A growing menace which may well be the precursor of an explosive tragic denouement lies with our politics and our collective lack of capacity to think our way out of underdevelopment. Poverty may have magnified it, ignorance has contributed significantly to it but by far the most undignifying thing that happened to us is our sense of reductionism which fuels the distractions that contend with our everyday lives and then reflect very poorly on our leadership choices where everything is summed up to the price of a loaf of bread or the colour of a bank note.

It is this vapid mindset and lack of a collective sense of awareness the ‘thiefticians’ exploit at election time. They are already so used to the rabble of the mob that every question that should challenge critical thinking and pave the way for a strategic vision and a visible organized template of governance usually gives way to the lure of numbers and the prospect of re-election bought at the price of one Derica measure of rice and a N1000 note. It is for this reason that the worst of the pack, competing for the bottom of the barrel get thrown up to ‘lead’ others in capacities they often lack and whose collective mainstay can be found in how much money they steal and how much influence they peddle irrespective of the dubious party umbrella under which they rally. A case in point is the latest miracle of Bread Loaves in Agege which turned out to be a little more than a tragi-comedy of errors- a glib Greek gift masked in the garb of a COVID Stimulus Package. That however is a story for another day.

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For those vested in scholarly research, an interesting angle that may been thrown into the whole COVID-19 imbroglio that will enrich academic literature on the subject will perhaps in the future be measured in finding a new hypothesis that can link either a lineal positive or negative correlation between pre-COVID and post-COVID times and Stupidity in large groups. The testing ground this time may be Nigeria and the representative sample drawn from the country’s tragic line-up of political dingbats, all jostling for space under the firmament of sleaze while wearing branded ‘tinsel crowns’ under dubious party umbrellas.

If Seyi Makinde will get things right and not play the proverbial character of a doctor afflicted with the disease he came to cure, he should begin by clearing his head of the cobwebs of intrigue and confirmed malfeasance represented in the latest mob he is keeping company with. It is too early to be derailed by the propped up image of the man in the mirror and be lured into the den of infernal narcissistic politics by the rag-tag army of country bumpkins masquerading as local politicians who are only a little bit better than glorified minstrels, luring him to his own self-determined fate with their loud caterwauling and praise-singing rather than helping him focus on a basic working template of how to leave Oyo state better than he met it.

All these ‘Covidious’ tales of blackberry seed oil, honey, lime and miraculous ‘healing’ will not wash against the damning evidence presented by his lack of perspective in managing the COVID outbreak matter. As a matter of fact, it flies in the face of reasoned empiricism and logic, makes a mockery of science and portrays him simply another simple man with money but bereft of ideas on governance. If he had a strategic think-tank and viable reputation management team in place, they would have saved him the agony of half-truths and doublespeak which the shambolic PDP rally that brought all these PR disasters upon him could have averted. He put the wrong foot forward. No pussy-footing about that.

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He must immediately rally a team of ‘toe-holders’ both in his public and private space -those who are genuinely vested in his success as governor and who wouldn’t fight shy of telling him the unburnished truth even if it hurts so that he can at least find his feet and firmly face the job of improving on the positive aspects of the legacies of the immediate past administration of the state. Time is racing steadily by and four years will soon be over.

Oyo politics is complex, replete a lot of riotous circumlocution, chicanery and bare-faced intrigues. Seyi Makinde, no matter the number of years he has spent in politics needs be told that and to his face too- that no matter how long a log of wood has remained inside a river, it can never become a crocodile. ‘Oyo (Ibadan) ki i sin enikan l’eemeji’ is not a truism uttered in jest. It took a counter-move of political astuteness and matching sagacity for Ajimobi to complete a second term in office (which no doubt was made possible by the visible looming absence of Baba Lamidi Adedibu on the political scene) a feat that eluded even the late Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige who is applauded for being the face of modern governance and structure in the state. Makinde cannot afford to revel in Hubristic fervour and slip on carefully laid-down banana peels at this time with the early signs around him starting to lean towards avoidable controversies and the ditties of fawning political courtesans.

Oyo state, as indeed other states in the South West and all across Nigeria need to get working. That is the truth and the plank upon which true federalism can be restored barring which regional integration will continue to be a mirage. The COVID -19 situation has thrown up bigger issues; issues that had long been with us but which we chose to ignore in the mad scramble for the spoils of 2023. For more than fifty years, we have consistently instituted failure in all areas of development and traded common-sense at the altar of expediency. We are in dire need of a focused leadership- not one that prevaricates or dawdles at the prospect of putting nose to the grindstone. We may be resource-rich but we are poor by all defining standards. We will only get out of this quagmire when we institute a cultured approach to governance and encourage people who have what it takes to be leaders pick up the gauntlet, shorn of any known alliances with moneybags or infernal ‘god-fathers’ who dictate the limits and reach of governance.

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It is a thing if shame that sixty years post-independence, the country is still drunk in the nostalgic fervour of ‘past leaders’ and wishing for a rewind on time when indeed we are becoming an international basket case of mediocrity and a case study of poverty amidst plenty. Miseducation and our addiction to failure fuelled by systemic under-performance are two things we must address if we are to ever regain perspective and get this space working again.

Credit: Folashade Oshun
@April 2020 Series

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