When Shall We Have Another Census?. Segun Showunmi
It is necessary to remind Your Excellency that you cannot act as if you do not need to put some urgency into the serious issues of nation building. For whatever it is worth, the Gross Domestic Product of nations are computed nationally, and 30 days out of 365 days in a year is clearly 10 per cent of the year.
Considering the number of days set aside as public holidays in Nigeria, and the one million and one issues that a full and functional government has to hit the ground and deal with, it should be clear that you cannot afford this stroll in the park attitude to burning issues confronting a developing country like Nigeria! Your example is obviously being followed by governors. A full month after their swearing in, they are mostly yet to get their cabinets in place, much less hit the ground running as regards matters of urgency in their respective states.
This is totally unacceptable. What did you all do with the time in between your declaration and the administration of oath of office? Why this sluggish take-off, when you are fully aware that in Nigeria, Government is, unfortunately, the main driver of the economy, and that too many private sector players need your governments, both at the national and subnational levels, to get cracking?
That brings me to the issue of one annoying hypocrisy going on right now; you will gather politically exposed party faithful to toil, day and night, to get you elected only to turn around and find them ‘unappointable’ under the dodgy pretence that you want to bring technocrats, which, really, is your dubious way of bringing in your cronies for clearly selfish reasons. They would come from their comfort zones to pick appointments that should rightfully belong to equally competent and intellectually sound men and women of your respective parties, who bled to get you elected.
Have you for once considered the effect of that on the sustainability of the political parties and platforms that got you elected? I have heard lame excuses of not wanting to make governance a political party affair or put the country in the hands of those who do not have the capacity to direct critical affairs. This, to me, is just a way of giving a dog a bad name to hang it. The truth is that most of you are not half as qualified as the people you disregard.
The role of a minister or a commissioner is to give vent to the principles of your government, if you have any, and to run with the ideology of your party. Whatever gains any government all over the world record mostly rest on the men and women of the civil service. I repeat, all the gains that governments, the world over, have made are made possible, mainly by the uncelebrated and mostly unknown operators of the Service.
Our gains in health care are down to the nurses and doctors that attend to our people and make things happen, not so much the Minister or Commissioner. Our minimal gains in education are also down to the teachers, lecturers, and civil servants who implement growth policies, among others, not the Minister or Commissioner. This is the same way our gain in Security rests on the brave men and women of our Armed Forces plus Police, not the people we waste all the time pretending to be looking for.
We need to quickly and urgently settle down; we must refrain from the usual time-wasting process of selecting what, unfortunately, may end up as a team of clueless drivers as had been the case in some instances in the past. What is the big deal in finding competent people to work with you upon resumption that has now become another clog in the wheel of the real business of service delivery?
Aside from hanging new official portraits and having your spouses organise victory parties, what have most of the newly sworn-in done till date? We tend to dispense energy on frivolities at the expense of the real issues. What are the real issues, you may be tempted to ask!
How do we build sustainable states that can deliver measurable progressive development to our people? How do we ensure that we can feed ourselves and sell to others? How do we deliver health care services to our people underneath a clear, well thought out arrangement that covers as much of our health issues as we can identify, in such a way that it is easy to access and no one is left behind, or unattended to, across the length and breath of our states?
Where are we with education and the required skill set needed? You may need to visit public schools to get a cue as to how much work needs the attention of Nigeria’s seemingly insensitive leaders. How do we close the gap between the rich and the poor? What is our creative idea to stem unemployment, security? Can a nation without a credible identification system be serious about security of lives and property?
By the way, when are we going to have another census, just to know how many we are, where they live, number of children, adults of working age, the old, and so on, just for planning purposes? I am sure you can see that we do not have the luxury of this lackadaisical attitude to governance.
Courtesy the point newspaper