By Com. Oluwaseun Okunnuga
Most likely because of our recent history and a well grounded understanding of how the past has malformed the present, Corruption is not just fiscal, but attitudinal, poverty of governance and double standards. These and other variables constitute the Monster.
This notwithstanding, “Records” are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as a guides to the future. We therefore owe it to ourselves and our progeny to ensure that these facts are placed permanently on record:
⚡We have seen leaders who told the world “Our problem is not money, but what to do with money” … and this was at a time we had not even provided requisite infrastructure that would make life more meaningful;
⚡We have had leaders who told us that “The economy defied all solutions”… at a time other nation recorded economic buoyancy owing to their sound policies;
⚡We have seen a leader who informed us that “Telephone was not for the poor”… at a time other nation were using modish technologies to bring down the cost of Communications;
⚡We have had leaders who told us “We could not be said to be suffering when nobody picked food from the dustbin”… at a time wen poverty was still widespread in Nigeria, despite the boom years;
⚡We have seen leaders who mistook national Treasury for their personal pockets and therefore pillage it like heartless Bucaneers for their personal aggrandizement, while the people suffer;
⚡The Nation was once gripped in mass hysteria when a “Sicko ex-president” who, after being unfairly judged by history, attempted to secretly discard certain proviso of the Constitution in a desperate bid to rule us despotically forever via a crudely “Third-Term Agenda”;
⚡And we have had a President who, despite being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, told us “He is not a GENERAL” … at a time Nigeria was gradually turning into an imploded society, with Boko Haram becoming a pain in the neck!
⚡While we have seen a President who publicly admitted (2015) that “His Generation Has Failed”, we have also had a President who assessed his woeful performances (1999-2007) and, trying to take self-exculpatory routes, gave a ‘Pass Mark’ even when his failures was manifested and indelible.
Unfortunately, not all “Rulers” would accept the tag of “bad leadership”.
Yes, the “Senate Leadership” had also failed the nation, and woefully too. Oftentimes, most choices that have been made at the National Assembly have been described as ‘anti-people’.
And unlike the THIRD SENATE Leadership (1992) that chiefly seeked an end to military rule; initiating far reaching “Probes” of Finances of the National Assembly:
⚡We have had a Senate President, Aldulphus Wabara, who declared in 2003 that “Membership of the National Assembly is an Investment because most Senators sold their Houses and Cars to get to the Assembly;
⚡We have seen various budgets honestly passed by various assemblies become ‘baggage in-baggage out’, a mere statutory decoration rather than instrument of fiscal responsibility, where in 2004 Senate members are allowed to “Purchase their official cards for less than ₦8million and still eligible to a ₦3.5million car loan?
⚡There was the case of the 4th Republic Senate President, the Oyi of Oyi, Chuba Okadigbo, who ate the “Forbidden Fruit” in 2005 and was swept away by the proverbial “Banana Peel”. He was accused of flagrant disregard of rules and personal enrichmemt: Bought Eight Official Cars for $290, 000, bringing the total official vehicles to 32; spent $225, 000 on garden furniture and spent $340, 000 furnishing the home to his taste, etc;
⚡We have heard how the “Saint”, Ken Nnamani, admitted during an international Republican Institute program on “Electoral Reforms” in 2008 that “The National Assembly under his leadership failed to make some fundamental amendments to the Electoral Act”… at a time when Ghanaian’s election was a success;
⚡We have seen a scholar, Prof. Fabian Osuji, ‘Confessing and insisting that he collaborated with the 5th Senate in a ₦55 million Bribery Saga;
⚡We have heard of how Sen. Author Nzeribe, known to have an apparent aversion for the word ‘Bribe’, acknowledges the ‘Evil’ bribery does in Nigeria and publicly admitted that he had been a witness to bribery offers… He said this in 2002, in the heat of moves by the Senate tto impeach President Obasanjo; claiming that “₦3million each was given to some Senators to foil the attempt;
⚡Recently, we are witnesses to how President Muhammadu Buhari accused the Senate of “Budget Padding” and declined to assent to eight bills.
All of these and more had been the loss of Nigerians.
But how often have I said to people that LEADERSHIP is not something done ‘to’ people but something done ‘with’ people.
In Asiwaju Tinubu’s era, it is not just possible, as a Yoruba man and, by extension, a Nigerian to escape his Influence as well as Charitable & Radical giving. An instance of this that readily comes to mind is when he relieved a marginalized people from a sense of vital amenity conditions; promoting alternative solutions by strategizing and advocating for creation of new policy: Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos State. Besides, in spite of illegal withhold of the state’s Local Government Statutory Allocation (₦24 billion) for two years and regardless of the Supreme Court Judges who spoke from both sides of the mouth in their ruling on the issue, the combinations of Tinubu’s breath of Vision, nugget of Wisdom and capacity to think in the Original way, eventually held sway. In 2002, the LCDAs were created – bringing Governance closer to the people at the grassroots to deliver essential facilities of life like Water, Roads, Electricity, Health, Housing and Security etc – not in competition with other level of government, but as a ‘sine qua non’ for productive development through which various profitable and developmental projects are being executed daily. Besides, there was the ‘re-vitalization’ and ‘re-invention’ of two decades of a decayed state – entirely dependent on Federal Allocation – into becoming financially viable and autonomous of the Federal Government. What could be greater than a Legacy which is subsisting and enduring?