OPINION: Kwara like the whole Nigeria is in a catch 22 situation. By - Rotimi Sulyman

Date: 2019-10-25
The state government will need to walk her talk to port into the real next level, not the platitude mouthed and bandied around by professional politicians and the so-called technocrats in politics.

In my estimation, by act of commission or omission, Africa is tall on natural resources: arable land, gold, iron ore, coal, good weather – you name it. However, the continent is short on human capital with a mega unproductive population. We have continually lived our lives like the biblical Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden – just loafing around and enjoying the bounties.

On the face of it, it seems successive powers-that-be in Nigeria at all levels are living in the cocoon and have no mental grasp of the country's true situations.

This may have been suggested by their gross ineptitude, ethno religious sentiment and primitive acquisition – all at the expense of a dying nation, haemorrhaging and on life support.

But remarks credited to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, and Interior Minister, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, by the media have overtaken the notion if any, that this group of people are not abreast with the country's pitiable condition.

On a personal note, i once held the view that it was not beyond the realm of possibility that people with vested interest in maintaining Nigeria's status quo did not know the level of the country's rot until when Obasanjo said at the 9th Toyin Falola Annual International Conference at Babcok University that Nigerians have given up hope on the country and are desirous of taking up residence elsewhere.

Aregbesola had earlier drove me nuts when he said that the country’s financial mess called for a monthly weeping festival at a symposium to celebrate the 50th birthday of a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress in Alimosho area of Lagos, Hon Abdullahi Enilolobo.

I’m not under the illusion that people, who are on the table, are Nigeria’s only problem, I strongly hold the view that those of us, who are in the menu list, should have a fair share of the blame.

In fact, we need education and to rethink what followership means.

My point is that our leaders are inspiring anything but altruism, productivity and patriotism. Instead they make indolence, ethnic jingoism, self-aggrandizement and corruption fashionable.

We are living in interesting times. It has foisted on us a catch 22 situation in which it is either we tweak our system wholesale, particularly as it relates to economic management of each state of the federation or continue this trajectory that leads nowhere but only to Golgotha.

I think state governors urgently need to prioritise economic prosperity and have nothing but praise for Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo for thinking out of the box in regards to plan by his government to invest in the multi-billion dollars marijuana market. What I made of the vitriol that greeted Governor Akeredolu's proposal is that poverty is a big hit with us and we are too obsessed with it.

In fact, I have admiration for how Saudi Arabia is reinventing itself. Spurred on by dwindling oil revenue, the Kingdom has literarily thrown caution to the winds in its drive to increase the non-oil sector revenue.

The world’s most conservative country abandoned the Islamic calendar like a poor distant cousin for that of western Gregorian in public sector so that it would pay workers less and save money.

The Islamic lunar calendar is made up of 12 months, each or 30 days long depending on the sighting of the moon, with the year usually 345 days long – 11 days shorter than its western equivalent.

It equally introduced value added tax, and granted women right to be at wheels, among other sweeping changes.

I'm lovin' what the new Sheriff in Kwara, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazak is doing. Breaking grounds in a state where residents have endured grief occasioned by years of misrule.

Under past regimes, people in government grew fat on the financial resources of the state and were rubbing it in on people's face.

According to grapevine, a permanent secretary in one of the ministries recently went to discuss with the Kwara governor AbdulRazak in his office carrying along a file.

In a hangover from the ex-Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed era, right from the door he was on bended knee and rebuffed the incumbent’s entireties to stand until it was becoming an embarrassment to both.

Small talk also has it that Kwara Gov. AbdulRazak told people coveting commissionership to be ready to go to jail if appointed and soiled their hands But desperate times, they say, call for desperate measures. I hope Gov. AbdulRazak would have the balls to rejig the state civil service which is over bloated, largely unproductive and gulped over seventy percentage of the state finance in salaries.

His ritual visit to ministries to observe civil servants’ turn-out without any deterrent action taken against staff not on seat is becoming a slapstick humour.

If anything, the only thing the Kwara Gov’s visits like a thief in the night have enthroned is presenteeism, the act of being at work without adding any value.

Without any doubt, the lot of the state would not be better if people are paid monthly by the government for making up the numbers.

I know running the rule over cvil servants is not an in-thing to do to get re-election in our part of the world but leadership like they say is not about the next election but the next generation.

This is a hard choice the governor must make to be on the right side of history.

Rotimi Sulyman is a Lagos based media and social entrepreneur

 

 


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