Lessons From The Johnsons


Some weeks ago on a popular television comedy show, The Johnsons, Mr Lucky Johnson, who recently lost his job as a Special Assistant to a governor, decided to reach out to some of his friends in government and former colleagues to know if he could get some help from them.
But behold, all the people he called disappointed him.  One pretended not to know him, the same with the second person, while the third person asked him if he was expecting to be reappointed by the current governor. Of course, his answer was in the negative and that ended the call.
Expectedly, Mr Johnson was very downcast. He couldn’t believe that those who ate and wined with him a couple of weeks back could deny him just because he was no longer within the corridors of power.
There are big lessons to be learnt from Mr Johnson’s ordeal if you ask me. First, that people that flock around you when you are occupying a position of authority, those that want to relate with you or have dealings with you, those who edify you, do not always do so because they love you.  Rather, most times, they do so because of what they can gain from you.
Second, the respect and honour you receive do not come to your person but to the position you occupy. Once you leave office, most of this people will desert you and look for a greener pasture.
Most times the people that will stick with you are your old friends, old associates and family members.  That was exactly the case with Mr Johnson. Knowing this, one then wonders why some people use their exalted positions to oppress others.
Why do some people behave as if the world is theirs once they are appointed or promoted to a higher office? We have heard and seen people who once they were elected or appointed to a political office, promoted or elated, began to behave as if they owned the world. Intimidation, abuse, disrespect for their associates, colleagues, subordinates, friends and others become the order of the day.
Public servants, journalists, civil servants, union leaders and people of all walks of life are culprits but political office holders both elected and appointed seem to be the worst.  They avoid their old friends and associates, verbally abuse those who come to them seeking one assistance or the other and intimidate people. They are rude, impolite, discourteous and have no regards for others.
A neighbour recently narrated how a man in her village, who was recently appointed a Senior Special Assistant by their state governor, had been using police to intimidate, harass and arrest people in the village who were opposed to his father becoming the chief of the town. He boasted that he would use his official position to get his father installed as king and every other thing he wanted.
Typical of his type, this SSA is now playing a thin god, hauling insults and disrespecting people, including his family members. I am not trying to sermonize here. But l can’t help but imagine whether this sort of people ever think of what will become of them when their appointments are terminated or their tenure in office comes to an end.
How will they start mending the bridges they destroyed? Back to my initial story. Mr Johnson was able to pull through his precarious situation because of the love and support of his family, friends and associates whom he never abandoned when the going was good. Wouldn’t our political office holders and indeed anybody “whose level changes” learn from Mr Lucky Johnson?
As the new dispensation takes shape, several appointments are being made both at the state and federal levels. Feathers are being added to many people’s caps. It is therefore necessary to advise they learn from people that were there before them and don’t let their new positions get into their heads.
As the Chief Security Officer to former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili admonished, “People who occupy public offices and who on account of such offices are deified by members of the public…should know it is all fake. It does not last for long.
If you get carried away, you will wake up the day after with a hangover. So be real. Don’t abandon your old friends to embrace new ones just because you now feel that your old friends are not up to speed.
A similar admonition goes to public office holders who after serving their tenures become clog in the wheel of progress to their successors. They simply refuse to let go.  Some states in the country have witnessed endless political crisis, slow pace development, lack of peace due to over bearing influence of the former chief executives who feel that being instrumental to the emergence of the incumbent governors, they must dictate what goes on in the states.
Some of this so-called god fathers, though occupying very important positions in the political parties and the federal government, wouldn’t allow their political god sons to administer the states the best way they can.
One is by no means saying these god fathers should be relegated by the governors. No. They should be respected and honored. However, they must come to terms with the fact that their time as state chief executives is over, that other people are now in the saddle, who they should support to succeed instead of plotting to pull them down because they don’t dance to their tunes.
Perhaps, the current crisis in Edo and some other states wouldn’t have been there if the former governors of these states had assumed their rightful positions as ex-governors and elders in the state and be giving advice and direction to the incumbent governors, which the later is not obliged to take any way.
Our country, Nigeria, needs peace, unity and development and only the right attitude of all and sundry, particularly those entrusted with one leadership role or the other will get us there.


Calista Ezeaku