The ability of rational thought is not an all-comers game; it requires stretching the mind beyond the reaches of general precepts and the usual perceptions that anchor lesser minds on mundane issues such as materialism, ethnicity or the neurotic preoccupation with the preposterous and idiotic matter of searching for the face of the Unknowable through the jaded and ossified creeds of institutional religion; the transcendent mind is neither Jew, Buddhist, Traditionalist, Christian nor Moslem. Transcendence of the mind, in this regard, implies the ability to see beyond the tiny little pictures and philosophies that constitute divisive hedgerows in humanity; the transcendent mind sees and savors the essence of the larger picture. In management and administration, transcendence requires embracing the concept of formalistic impersonality and being conscious of halo effect. In political leadership, transcendence calls for objectivity, sensitivity and decisiveness devoid of sentiments, sectionalism and all the other isms that create divisions and cause disaffection and conflict in human society. This piece focuses on the decisions and actions of two governors (one from the South and the other from the North), the averments of a consultant physician of Fulani extraction and a foremost Traditional Ruler from the North.
In very unequivocal terms, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State declined to provide land for RUGA arguing that the land he has is earmarked for agriculture. Couching his position in comical cynicism, Wike offered to give the Federal Government access to the seawaters of Rivers State for them to pipe water to RUGA settlements in the North just as they piped oil and gas there; this is an obvious reaction to the violence and insecurity perpetrated by herdsmen in the State in recent times and an eloquent expression of the resolve to protect Rivers people; that it was not a campaign speech demonstrated its patriotic root. In what seems a volte-face from the patriotism expressed in regard the RUGA uproar, Governor Wike appointed HRH Justice Sidi Bage Mohammed 1, JSC Rtd CON, Emir of Lafian Barebari and Chairman Nasarawa State Council of Chiefs, as Chancellor of Rivers State University. While the first decision painted a picture of vanguard of the people of Rivers State, the nationalist in Wike crystalized from the later decision; taken together, the two decisions clearly indicate a desire to maintain the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation without compromising the interest and safety of Rivers people; they attest to the objectivity of Governor Wike and transcendence above interparty, interreligious and ethnocentric bickering.
On Nija.com Legit (July 16, 2019), Jerrywright Ukwu reports that Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello of Kogi State broke a twenty-eight year old jinx by building a chapel in Government House, Lokoja; said Governor Bello: “Religion is a matter of faith, of belief, not evidence, and if we do not have respect for the beliefs of others, it’s to our detriment, since a lack of respect diminishes us as human beings. So, I am shocked as to why my predecessors never bothered to build a chapel for Christians even when there is a mosque here.” Stating that “Religion is a matter of faith, of belief, not evidence” indicates that Governor Bello realizes that religion is imaginary and based on conjectural anecdotes and narratives. Again, to have said that “if we do not have respect for the beliefs of others, it’s to our detriment, since a lack of respect diminishes us as human beings” indicates that Bello is a Moslem in the true sense of Islam being a religion of peace; this means that he is beyond the fanaticism of extremism as instigated by some radical Moslem clerics. These eloquently speak to the transcendence of his mind, which reflects the desire for harmony in humanity.
Reacting to the RUGA palaver, Dr. Nura Alkali, a Fulani and consultant physician at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, opined that “only the blind will insist on living a 17th Century life in 2018. Fifty years ago, humans conquered space to land on the moon. Others decoded DNA, which advanced the science of animal breeding to levels never before imagined in history. But we still have people pursuing an impossible nomadic lifestyle to raise cattle.” This is a lamentation of a way of life that belongs in the distant past of Nigeria.
Reacting to the economically debilitating and pervading social insecurity and the biting undercurrents of ethnocentrism in Nigeria, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Emir of Kano and a Fulani, wrote thus: “After the First World War (WWI), the victors treated Germany with the same contempt Nigeria is treating Igbo. Two decades [after the WWI], there was a Second World War (WWII), far costlier than the first. Germany was again defeated, but this time, they won a more honorable peace. Our present political leaders have no sense of history. There is a new Igbo man, who was not born in 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the streets who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerian; are Nigerians but suffer because of actions of earlier generations. They will soon decide that it is better to fight their own war, and maybe find an honorable peace, than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity. The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have exacted their pound of flesh from the Igbo. For one Sardauna, one Tafawa Balewa, one Akintola and one Okotie-Eboh, hundreds of thousands have died and suffered. If this issue is not addressed immediately, no conference will solve Nigeria’s problems.” This clearly indicates fervent patriotism, strong sense of history and the realization of the fact that history has the uncanny capacity of being repeated by those who fail to learn its lessons. Sanusi’s averment transcends the wrangling amongst the major ethnic groups and myriad of minority groups across the Nigerian ethno-cultural space, where virulent ethnocentric vituperations and disintegrative nationalism are the order of the day and constitute the new norm.
Until the process of selecting leadership in Nigeria encourages and accommodates the emergence of patriotic, objective and decisive people in public office, the nagging issue of rudderlessness and lackluster performance in the public sector will persist to the detriment of the Nigerian society. Here, it is a collective responsibility; both the leader and the led share in the phenomenon. As the saying goes “a people deserve the leadership they get.”
Osai is a lecturer in Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.
Umahi Announces Plan To Appoint 800 New Aides
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has announced his plan to appoint 800 aides, in addition to the 4,000 appointments already made by his administration.
Umahi said this last Monday in Abakaliki when he met with members of the state Executive Council, state House of Assembly, Local Government Area Chairmen and all the new appointees, among other stakeholders.
The governor said that in spite of an initial 185 Executive Assistants (EAs), Senior Technical Assistants (STAs) and Technical Assistants (TAs), he made an additional 200 similar appointments last Monday.
He said: “We would be getting about 800 EAs, STAs and TAs by the end of this meeting and from this moment, the task of making similar appointments is taken from me and given to the people from the ward level.
“This means that we will appoint three more TAs from each ward of the state and the stakeholders will sit and nominate two, while the party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will nominate one.
“The criterion used was that not all the past appointees returned but 80 per cent of the appointments included former appointees, especially those who did well.”
He said that the EXCO met last Monday and approved the remuneration of the new appointees, because it was in its power to do so.
“The EAs will receive N150,000 (N100,000 salary and N50, 000 for overhead costs), while the STAs will receive N120,000 (N80,000 salaries and N40, 000 for overhead cost).
“The TAs will receive N100 (N70,000 salaries and N30,000) for overhead cost.
“We would approach the House of Assembly on the issue of liaison officers, to bring their salaries to N60,000 in order to create additional ones, especially for women (widows).
“We intend to have two liaison officers in the wards, one for men and one for women and if you add party executives at the ward level, we will have about 4,000 appointees,” he said.
The governor said that the essence of the appointments was to encourage the people to contribute to the development of the state.
“Anyone that would be appointed would have something doing, at least possess one hectare of farmland, which will be adequately profiled.
“The development centre coordinators will ensure adequate supervision of schools and ensure that all ‘out of school children’ are in school, ” he said.
Commissioner for Special Projects, Mr Ikechukwu Nwobo, who spoke on behalf of the stakeholders, thanked the governor for convening the meeting.
Nwobo assured the governor that they would always partner with him in the task of developing the state.
“The stakeholders will ensure that the right people are nominated so that the wheel of progress in the state is sustained,” he said.
INEC Expresses Worries Over Possible Violence In Kogi
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kogi State, Prof. James Apam, yesterday, expressed worries over possible violence during the November 16 governorship election in the state.
Apam disclosed this at the unveiling of “Get Out The Vote (GOTV), Voter Education and Stop Violence Against Women In Politics (STOP VAWIP)” campaign projects and multi-stakeholders’ meeting, in Lokoja.
He said that INEC had, on several occasions, prepared to conduct credible elections and would have always put necessary machinery in place to ensure free, fair and acceptable elections only for such elections to be disrupted by violence.
The REC said that the commission intended to correct the flaws identified in past elections during the forthcoming election, saying: “we intend to correct them and make this one a test case for elections in this country.
“INEC is doing everything possible to organise free, fair and credible governorship election in November. We have met with traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the state on the way forward.
“People always blame INEC when there is problem, but the truth of the matter is that in most cases, the electorate and politicians are responsible for the problems.
“Yes, on our part, we normally encounter some problems but I can assure you that some of these problems will be solved before, during and after election. Our main worry has always been violence.
“You spent a lot of time to prepare for elections, putting resources together, training men and women for the exercise.
“You send them to the field for the exercise and all of a sudden, someone with a gun appears and starts shooting and before you know what is happening, everything has been disrupted.”
Apam, therefore, enjoined parents, especially women, to help talk to their children and wards on the need to eschew violence, adding that with absence of violence, there would be massive turnout during the election and the exercise would be hitch-free.
The REC also urged the electorate to conduct themselves in an orderly manner before and during the election to enhance smooth exercise.
2021 Anambra Poll: Rep Declares Guber Aspiration
Member representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in Anambra State Mr Chris Azubuogu, has formally declared his ambition to contest the 2021 governorship poll in the state.
Azubuogu made the declaration at a meeting of the stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Awka.
He said he was offering himself for the job, having provided quality representation to his people.
The three-time lawmaker said he had all it took to make Anambra great again, adding that the victory for PDP in the 2021 governorship election would be better assured with him.
Azubuogu urged PDP to zone the governorship slot to Anambra South for fairness and equity.
He said: “As the highest ranking lawmaker of PDP in Anambra South, I want to ask that the ticket of PDP be ceded to Anambra South Senatorial District.
“Zoning the governorship ticket of PDP to Anambra south is one decision that can help the party to achieve victory in 2021.”
His appeal was coming against the backdrop of resolve of the South-East leadership of PDP that it was not considering zoning its governorship ticket to any senatorial district.
Chief Austine Umahi, the South-East National Vice Chairman of the party, recently said that the 2021 governorship poll in Anambra was crucial to the party.
He said that PDP was determined to recapture the state.
“We are going for the right candidate, irrespective of where the person comes from,” Umahi said.
But, a chieftain of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Jude Emecheta told newsmen that the attitude of the PDP to zoning in Anambra was simply a mind game.
Emecheta, who is the President of Willie Obiano Support Groups applauded his party for ceding the ticket to Anambra south.
He described the decision as a great asset to APGA and its chances for victory in 2021.
He urged Anambra politicians to respect the zoning arrangement which, he said, favoured Anambra south in the next election.
“It is no longer in doubt that APGA leadership both at the national and state levels have said the party’s ticket for governorship election must go to south.
“For every politician in Anambra, zoning is a moral burden. If you don’t zone this ticket to the south, you are introducing chaos into the Anambra political environment.
“Anambra is a peaceful state, we are people that cherish orderliness and it would be wrong to distort it now, so I think PDP is not sincere with their pronouncement.
“The truth is that announcing zoning now will shut some people out and those people will likely decamp.
“The south has the capacity to get the governorship. We have capable hands, financial capacity, intellectual capacity and eminently qualified people,” he said.
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