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Nigerians, stop using communication gadgets to wish each other “happy new month”; start asking questions with them – Dele Daramola

Our leaders deserve all the jabs you could ever think of: selfish, clueless, irresponsible and corrupt are few of the perhaps harsh words usually used to label these people we choose by election or are selected to lead us. In recent times, world leaders have started describing the Nigerian President as “insensitive”.

We were under military rule for too long until 1999 when the country supposedly returned to democracy as clamored for with the hope that we would be led and governed by our free will. It has been an uninterrupted 14 years of democratic rule and yet, all seems a succession of bad choice of leadership.

Thanks to the advent and availability of the internet, almost half of the citizens can talk and write about how bad our leaders are. We are all quick to blame the leaders for bad roads, corrupt bankers, ruthless police, under-funded educational sector, poor health sector, unscrupulous business men,  worn-out shoes, empty pockets, evil wives, evil husbands, cultic school children … The list is endless.

I wonder if we should not start scrutinizing the twin part of leadership: followership.

I remember some years ago when the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Bankole took a lot of flak for saying that leadership was not Nigeria’s problem but  “docile ” followership. I am beginning to wonder if Bankole was not right although “docile” may be too harsh.

First and foremost, the leaders were followers before they became elected or (s)elected to lead. They had at one time or the other been through what we all complain about. Most of them were once victims of bad governance before their elevation. In other words, they are not different from the rest of us. Even though we, the followers, are far more educated, yet, we seem helpless by resigning to fate when they unleash their unscrupulousness on us. But why is it that we are helpless and wish only God can help?

Why don’t we ask questions, for example, when internet service providers or cable providers or government agencies treat us as if we don’t matter when they fail to deliver services we pay for? Why do we just  grumble and complain when we could at least institute class action against any of the private companies for false advertising or marketing by deceit while writing joint petitions that would bear hundreds of thousands of signatures against erring government agencies that do not provide the services they should. Why will our electricity bills not reflect the usage and rather than take action, we decide to pay for days and times that service was never provided? The leaders will not post on the internet a dastardly act of a young girl being gang- raped by five devilish boys. Instead, we the followers circulate the clip on our BBM with nothing coming of our effort nor follow-up actions on our part.

Our leaders take pride in taking us for munmun (dolts) when they fail to deliver on their promises, but come back again and again soliciting our votes and all we do is sentimentally vote them in even when our reasons may not be in our interest, saying they will still rig, anyway even if we don’t vote for them.

They recycle themselves, including their family members and yet, we say what happens in some African states where a linage of a leader rules perpetually can never happen in Nigeria, but is that not happening today? We have a situation in which a man has being relevant politically since 1976 as a military ruler and a two-term milit-ocrat and yet believes he is the best that will happen to Nigeria.

Some revere him so much like a god they call him ‘Ebora Owu’.  It is alleged that the current administration is on fire now because the President is not playing according to his rule. We the followers made god out of him forgetting that he was once demystified by Abacha  in 1997. His erstwhile minister of education; Dr Oby Ezekwesili speaking at a convocation at her alma-mater (UNN), challenged this administration to a debate; that $45 billion in foreign reserves and $22 billion in the Excess Crude Account were unaccounted for. Did we care to ask that Jonathan should pick the challenge to refute the allegation? Sadly and with arrogance, his men waived the allegation as inconsequential.

Jonathan claims that the Council of State pardoned his former boss; Depreye Alaemiesigha, a convict and a wanted UK fugitive. Did we, the followers, ask about the council members that appended their signatures, was it Gowon, Obasanjo, Shonekan or AbduSalam, maybe Shagari?

On 2013 budget, why is it that the Presidency and the National Assembly have been unable to reach a common ground on the federal budget? The first quarter of the fiscal year has already ended, yet Nigeria and Nigerians do not know how the approximately $140 million dollars the country earns daily from crude oil sales alone are being spent.

If we ask questions, we will know how much debt our governors are racking up on our behalf. Few elites among us, perhaps for patriotic zeal cum sacrifice, some with innate ambition, perhaps due to past failures of government officials or due to seemingly endless mal-administrations at all quarters, have resulted to celebrating half measures, color-coating of terribly bad features and flagrant slaps upon the citizenry, and of course would continue to praise-sing a governor for patching ‘pot-holes’ on major roads as achievement and a thing of pride.

I still wonder what then is the duty and official job descriptions, if not to develop our land with our money. Taking us for ‘munmun’ [dolts], they in turn, shamelessly expect us to be grateful for them spending our collective money. What a shame in this digital age?

We shall be objective followers when we ask our leaders which route they are taking us before they embark on any journey whatsoever. We shall be great followers if we begin asking that our leaders account for the funding they received from all International agencies like World Health Organization (WHO). Our children shall live to succeed and benefit more on educational pedestal when we begin to ask our leaders how they plan to run a supposed mega-school policy with money borrowed on our behalf. If they know we will ask questions and hold them accountable, they will think properly before initiating any plans since they know they will have to come back begging for our votes again. They will know that we can petition the United Nations (UN) if only to call the world’s attention to our helplessness.  The U.N. Development Program (UNDP), International Monetary Fund (IMF), United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDF) and United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) are all arms of the UN that promote good governance, and they run egalitarian administrations like networks of thread among all UN signatories. We, the people, as Nigerians, are signatories to UN protocols and actions, and all we need do is petition whenever our leaders refuse to do their job appropriately. Petitions can never be too much.

I just read how Egyptian followers woke up from their own many years of slumber. Their Facebook, Tweeters and mobile phones are not for “wishing you Happy Week or Month” as have become the habit among millions in Nigeria.

If one million mails gets to the United Nation’s Good Governance Charter everyday via our ‘BlackBerry’ or ‘Ipads’, we will achieve two things:  the world will know that our leaders are wickedly-unrepentant and secondly, it would make the leaders think twice before coming again for another votes knowing full well that our days as munmun [dolts] don terminate!

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6 Comments on “Nigerians, stop using communication gadgets to wish each other “happy new month”; start asking questions with them – Dele Daramola”

  1. Irekiigbe Aderemi Matthew Says:

    Good talk my brother, although it is more of bashing than anything else; albeit, a bashing well deserved. It is also a wake up call because in actual fact, many Nigerians are ignorant of the various use of their i-phone and i-pad and BB, which have actually become a fad. Be that as it may be, it is never too late to change a bad habit. Nigerians need to wake up to confront the demons that our leaders have become. If care is not taken, this country will break up, not because the people are tired of living together, but because of mismanagement and vagrant corruption. We are where we are today because we have neglected too much too many times.

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Mr./Ms. Matthew.

      I believe if more earnest people like you decide we’ve really had enough of the cesspool of corruption, then it will happen. I’m sure even the rulers do not want anything serious like breaking up or bloodshed to happen but they do what they do because we the ruled have allowed it and oppressors do NOT let go easily. I’m sorry to say, though, that Nigerians, including the rulers are generally cowards and would back off if they know that the masses are serious. I hate to admit it: a docile follower-ship we’ve become even though I was one of those who took Alhaji Bankole to task on the “docile followers” he slapped on us all some years back, challenge from me that he tried to talk his way out of.

      Time is running out.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

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  2. Femi Babalola Says:

    Nice piece there. What about starting with asking monthly what the previoous month’s allocation was used for before our governors collect the one for this month? I think we should not wait till their tenure elapses and they are begging for our votes before vacating our ‘munmun’ shell. I suggest town hall meetings with every governor and local government chairmen moderated by non-governmental organizations covered by indepent media organizations.

    This preventive approach is better than parading them in court only to give them slaps the wrists and enrich our hungry S.A.N. – with due respect your lordship. So who bells the cat?

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Mr. Babalola,

      Thanks for the good addition to Dele’s near-revolutionary idea.
      On a lark in one of my weekly essays for The Nation on Sunday some years ago, I added a postscript in which I asked readers to SMS only “yes” to a number for which I purchased a new SIM CARD as answer to a simple question. Do they agree that “lawmakers” [then] recently-announced allowances for “snacks” which was over a billion Naira was excessive.

      I later published around a hundred of the numbers used because I had to copy them manually and many answers went beyond “yes” to raining curses on families of a group of people that Nigerians now refer to as legislooters. Incidentally, when I started this blog, I could only bring along the names of the few of my who always corresponded with me through The Nation’s email address and none of those few has asked their names to be removed from my e-rolodex, the group that receives all my postings through their email addresses.

      Dele’s idea can work but it would take effort and creativity. If a number is published for a “lawmaker”, the guy would just obtain another. How d’you communicate with Aso Rock? How can all those prayer-warriors who are quick to take to their mobile gadgets to send monthly prayers – be convinced to add, not switch to other uses of the equipment?

      For a start, how do we get all the so-called “progressives” to act in ways that justify the description: for instance, publish through online websites that won’t cost them a penny their stands on Senate & House decisions like huge emoluments, etcera? I’ve wondered aloud since my weekly essay days the stands of these “progressives” when no self-awarded and pumped-up salaries from what the Revenue Allocation body had awarded have ever been criticized by them.
      As powerful as a president of the United States is, a single voter can derail his presidency; ditto a Senator … down the line and their constituent. Nigerian rulers are answerable to none.

      If and when Dele’s suggestion comes to be, the searchlights would need to be beamed wide to include the top echelon of the civil service thousands and thousands of whom are wealthier than ministers. Camera phones are useful gadgets and pictures of homes in Nigeria and abroad appearing on popular websites would be powerful tools.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

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      • Layi Says:

        Dele,

        Execellent posting, but how many of us Nigerians are ready to do what you have requested all of us to do? Besides writing protest letters, comments and so on, how many of us suffering Nigerians are ready to take to the streets to protest against corruption and mal-administration of Goodluck Jonathan? President Jonathan has not only refused to declare his assets but has told Nigerians on Channels Television that: “I don’t give damn about it if you want to criticise me from here to heaven”! Can or should a good leader say that after he had taken an oath of Office to up-hold Nigeria’s Constitution?

        Our problem is lack of good, committed, dedicated and visionary leadership. Goodluck Jonathan is not going to fight corruption. He has no political will to do so. All the three branches of our government are corrupt. Even the so-called Progressive members of the National Assembly have joined the corrupt PDP politicians. The Nigerian journalists are all the same; they cannot speak out against corrupt politicians. It is left to the Nigerian masses to liberate themselves from this dysfunctional government we have.

        here to heaven

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      • emotan77 Says:

        Doctor,

        Thanks for your contribution.

        I agree. Nigerians will just have to wake from their dream as no earthly messiah cometh. The dream has turned nightmarish as the days are rolling by each day and the looters of our common wealth are getting bolder. Even the despicable PDP has apparently ensnared those who we believed went there to make change possible, and have now succumbed to the lure of easy money at Abuja where foreign currency is as common as the battered Naira.

        God cannot hear the prayers of lazy people who – despite the brains He has given all His creatures – wait for him “to help us remove dead-woods and looters”.

        We still must give the suggested type of approaches a try.

        Sincere regars,
        TOLA.

        Like

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