Archive for February, 2016

Why We Voted Buhari

Posted: February 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

In the book “A Little Bit of Everything For Dummies” Chapter 7 talks about Leadership, I would use the introduction copiously to drive home this admonition.

Leadership begins with the willingness to accept responsibility. But to what end? Does responsibility mean, for example, that you have to involve yourself in the personal lives of the people you’re leading? Do you have to be all things to your group, wearing all the hats at all times? Accepting and dealing with responsibility are so fundamental to leadership…

The central responsibility of a leader is to provide the climate necessary for creating growth and success. You can do many things as a leader, but ultimately, if your group’s mission isn’t successful and you don’t manage to grow something–whether it’s the skill and knowledge in a group of kids you’re mentoring or the profits of a major enterprise–then you have failed in your most basic responsibilities as a leader.

Defining the central responsibility is simple. But for your group to be a success and to accomplish growth of some sort, you’ll have to do a lot of other things along the way.

So whether it was rigged, whether the chess-playing generals of yore (remember that picture of ‘the men” in uniform playing draft), or the West did not want Jonathan is all subject to conjectures. Whether he failed as president, was clueless or a buffoon like some Nigerian writing for “oyinbo” paper called him is not the matter.

The fact, which cannot be subjected to opinion, is that, Jonathan called Mr. Buhari, congratulated him and today we are in the hemisphere of change. Before we came to this junction let me refresh our minds in a most cruel manner, and forgive me, as this is not on intent.

We voted Buhari because he was seen as a symbol of moral rectitude, he was/is “mai gaskiya” the anti-corruption czar. Christians and Muslims voted him, above-and-under age voted him, both real and ghost voters with and without card readers agreed it was time up for Jona-Jona.

We voted him ‘cause we were tired of the “fresh air” or was it “fresh breath”. We voted Mr. Buhari, because some persons who now had many shoes were bent on leaving majority of us without legs. We equally to an extent had lost empathy for the umbrella, and anything that it represented was treated like an outcast. We all voted Buhari, and anyone whose head shared poster with him…He was simply the poster boy for the word “change”.

We voted him because we were promised an end to Boko Haram (in how many hours or days, many cared less). We voted because we believed that at long last social security in the color of N5K was on the road to our banks whether we work or not.

Many of us voted, ’cause we saw a new Nigeria on the horizon, and trust me, I am no pessimist, and I still see a new Nigeria. However it is at this junction I need veer off the road. While the current administration met a falling nation, met enormous problems, a collapsing construct. Mr. President needs to understand, he was not elected to come tell us the problem or who caused it, but to solve it.

Nigerians want miracles, to say that Nigerians should exercise patience, would be like telling the Lion not to devour you because you are a vegetarian. To say that Nigerians should accept that we are going somewhere because some thieving big boys who simply have grown white beards are being tried on the media is not enough.

To spend precious energy TSA-ing, and aggregating emoticons on how Jonathan is under probe, Obasanjo is in the middle of a probe, or Chief of Witchcraft is above probe belabors the truth that this administration is yet to sincerely take off.

And though it remains a debate, and would be aggregately an exercise in futility to say how successful Jonathan, Obasanjo, or Yar’adua (who could not wait to get enough stick as Nigerian President) was. We all almost agree that after they leave the office almost all Nigerian President suddenly have something they know which their predecessor did not know…in reverse they all know the problem and possible solutions until we give them power.

And this is because many times, our leaders when it comes to responsibility, they strongly underestimate the enormous nature of the task they embark on. While Jonathan blamed those around him, and spoke only in Church, Mr. Buhari blames Jonathan, and everyone, but himself, and then speaks only abroad.

Our leaders need to start taking some responsibilities. We voted Mr. Buhari to bring about change, beyond partisan affiliations, we need to see change, real change…not the handover to a veepee while going on a five-day vacation. We need to see that kids of high worth public officials are finally attending good public schools; we want to pay for consumed electricity. We want to see Wike allowing Amaechi to work on our trains, airports, and roads.

Nigerians need go to sleep knowing that the Aso Rock clinic is not getting more money than Teaching Hospitals, we all, at the end of the current drama need to see the names being paraded around as corrupt in jail after a due judicial process (not that I mind them being thrown to Jupiter to be burnt)

Four years is not a lot of time, like the voice of that dude in “Who wants to be a Millionaire”, Mr. Buhari’s time does not start now, it’s has already started. Nigerians are not smiling, many cannot pay school fees, even my friend that wants to get married complained that the dollar is on the rise, and to think of it, he is from the village, and marrying a villager (wetin concern dollar). However the truth is that there is disconnect…one, which the mechanics at the change workshop need to start fixing.

I love my country; I would criticize its leaders including Mr. Buhari, so that they can do well, I shall not engage in some needless praise, or sycophancy. I am neither a Buharist, nor Jonathanian: I am a Nigerian and in my criticisms, and admonition, all I crave is a better Nigeria, not a messiah, because there are none, so we either continue making excuses again like we did for Jonathan or get Mr. Buhari to really start working, our choice—Only time will tell.

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By Prince Charles Dickson

This week, I would be dwelling on the topic of corruption in Nigeria in my treaty. Very quickly let me state that I am one of those that believe that the problem in Nigeria is not necessarily corruption. I equally am of the opinion that Nigeria and Nigerians are not anywhere near the most corrupt in either the world, Africa or West Africa.

I also believe that while Dasukigate and all other gates are issues, there are several issues beneath our corruption malaise. And I would crave our indulgence in following me, but first let me tell us the two following narratives.

The first is one that I read about a private investigator in the United States who would knock on the door, show his badge to whoever answered, and say, “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we are here.” Many times, the person would look stunned and say, “How did you find out?” then go on to describe an undiscovered criminal act committed long ago.

Writing in the Smithsonian magazine, Ron Rosenbaum described the reaction as “an opening for the primal force of conscience, the telltale heart’s internal monologue.”

Gandhi in Watkins Masters of Wisdom narrated the second episode I will share with us…”There is an incident that occurred at the examination during my first year at high school and which is worth recording. Mr. Giles, the educational inspector, had common a visit of inspection. He had set us five words to write as a spelling exercise. One of the words was “Kettle”. I had misspelt it. The teacher had tried to prompt me with the point of his boot, but I would not be prompted. It was beyond me to see that he wanted me to copy the spelling from my neighbor’s slate, for I had thought the teacher was there to supervise us against copying.”

The result was that all the boys, except myself, were found to have spelt every word correctly. Only I had been stupid. The teacher tried later to bring this stupidity home to me, but without effect. I never could learn the art of “copying”.

We all know things about ourselves that no else knows, so it’s not okay if we defend Dasuki, or debate on the rule of law, or contend that the issue is Amaechi equally being corrupt, or if Fashola helped himself to the cookie in the Lagos jar.

After all, whether we agree or not, there is hardly anywhere we don’t have a form of corruption or the other, Americans even add the swag of calling it “organized crime”, in India if you are married to a policeman, it is advisable to have money in your pocket before going to bed, ’cause your policeman hubby could just wake up in the middle of the night and ask for a bribe. With all the Chinese pill treatment given to their citizens, the men from chinko province are not any better if you get my drift.

So, are all Nigerians corrupt? The plain answer is no, and whether APC, PDP, our politicians and leaders like it or not, there are millions of Nigerians that are not corrupt.

There are millions of Nigerians who like Gandhi will not “copy”, they will not receive or take bribe or gratification, not because they do not have the opportunity, but simply because they simply won’t.

There are several millions amongst us that will not change several sworn affidavit of age, and different ages in different resume. There are millions that will not take an indigenous certificate for a place they do not have a root, just to be politically correct or for political gains.

We have scores of corrupt cops, military personnel and paramilitary, but despite their blackness of heart, there equally exist, countless security operatives who are not tainted, that would not take promotions that have not earned or accept gratification to do duties which tax payers have earned.

Many Nigerians pay their taxes willingly without compulsion though our leaders engaged even in a higher form of corruption by denying such persons basics such as electricity that has been paid for, security, which is a right and all other fundamentals.

Many Nigerians still get admitted into the University, high schools, and various institutions without paying either cash or kind. And good grades have been obtained without waists swerved or bank till shaken…while many buy the jobs they have today, there are those who are on the job legitimately and carry it with fear, favor, ethnic jingoism and parapoitic behavior.

In our beloved nation, we change our nine-year-old son’s age to eleven so that he’s legible for high school. We then buy question papers for the lad, so he can’t fail. If he fails, we pay those concerned, and he gets admitted. And that is the practice till he becomes a doctor, lawyer and he gets the perception of “his right”. And we all suffer the corruption at this individual level. However, truth be said, millions are still incorruptible, and won’t blink, nor shift.

Husbands bribe their wives, girlfriends are corrupt with their partners, and fathers bribe their kids. Daughters and sons buy their parents from proceeds of their “trade”. Communities, and religious bodies celebrate thanksgiving fir the corrupt, and encourage freshmen to out steal and out corrupt his predecessor.

Not all journalists collect envelops of many colors, neither is it all doctors won’t treat you until you have part with a deposit. Not all our teachers plagiarize, or sell handouts or trade admission. We need systems and structures that work, we need institutions that are incorruptible, run by content people that earn a living wage.

We need a class of Nigerians that won’t copy, but that will set high moral standards. Nigerians that have nothing to fear when the investigators come calling, there are millions of them, and Mr. President, while the debate continues whether corruption is stealing, kindly note that we are not all corrupt, and to the incorruptible ones, keep standing tall, if we have done enough—Only time will tell