“Eni a wi fun, Oba je o gbo, eni a soro fun, Oba je o gba” – Yoruba Saying
“Eni a wi fun, Oba maje ko gbo, ti ko ba gbo, oro a dun so” – Olusola Joshua, (My Secondary School Literature Teacher)
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the stammerer’s tale. I wrote about him that though he may takes time but his eventuality at pronouncing his “fa-fa-the-the-ther’s na-na-name” is something that will not die behind the façade of that time. The University of Ibadan Students’ Union Elections, just like the stammerer’s tale, has finally come and gone. Some students believe that the struggle that has cost us this far is nothing but an exercise in futility, while others believe that no matter how few the steps may be, this struggle has no doubt, moved us upwardly in the seamless ladder of Aluta. However, whether these views are right or wrong is an argument we will be deferring to another day.
Right now, there’s an urgent task we must perform, the task of congratulating the SU executives-elect and giving them our One Kobo, after all, we’ve got neither gold nor silver. I know you must be wondering, “One Kobo in all of these?” Well, if you are a true Nigerian to the marrow, you should have known that this One Kobo we are giving to the Illuminating Changes Team is not a literal Kobo but a figurative one usually used in the Nigerian lexicon as a synonym for some advice. When your friend sits you down to give you a two-hour lecture on what you should or should not do and goes ahead to end the long discussion with “…anyways, that’s my one kobo for you“. You should know, your friend is indirectly telling you that you following or not following the advice is at your own discretion but of course, he/she has fulfilled the friendship obligation of blowing the whistle to your straying dog.
That brings the popular Yoruba saying to mind, “Eni a wi fun, Oba je o gbo, eni a soro fun, Oba je o gba” which means, he who we gave advice, may God let him put it to use. However, Joshua Olusola, one of my secondary school teachers, has another version of this saying. In those literature classes then, I could remember how he would smile while telling us his version of that saying after giving us a lengthy sermon on how we should read our books and pass, he would say, “Eni a wi fun, Oba maje ko gbo, ti ko ba gbo, oro a dun so” meaning he who we have given some advice, oh! God, do not let him put it to use, so that we will be highly justified when he eventually fails.
Readers, I am deeply sorry for I will be pitching my tent with my old teacher this week, “Eni a wi fun, Oba maje ko gbo…”. On one hand I will be giving our newly elected leaders some advice from the bottom of my heart (Bottom here means with all sincerity) while on the other hand, I will be on my way to MFM Prayer City next week to fervently pray that they don’t hearken to it, so I will be vindicated of writing this “long epistle” at the end of the day, call me a mean fellow, well I don’t care.
My dearest Illuminating Changes Team, on behalf of every well meaning UI student, I hereby congratulate you on your victory as our new set of Students’ Union executives. I congratulate you, Olateju Aliyu Oladimeji a.k.a Ahh Speaker, on your emergence as the SU president-elect. While we pray that you have a successful tenure, you must know that success in leadership does not come cheaply, its road is laced with some philosophical thorns, these are the truths you must come to terms with. You must come to terms with the fact that leadership is not a luxury to be enjoyed. It’s a pain to be endured; it’s a sacrifice to be given. And only the true “selfless” can successfully pull it through.
This is no time to eat out the kitchen and all its chicken parts. This, also, is no time to drink to a stuporous state. (Those enjoying the victory parties should not get me misconstrued. Expression of happiness is not a vice, only its excess points against virtue). Now is the time to reflect on the burden that will poke its nose at you for the next 365 days. 365 days here is actually a theoretical timeline, you may not even get the luxury of staying till the 280th day.
My dearest Illuminating Change Makers; now is the time to study, assess and reassess your predecessors. Now is the time to surf through the WebPages of history to find out their errors and bugs. Now is the exact time to start scrambling through the footpaths they walked to see the little pebbles responsible for their falls, downfalls, flaws, and inadequacies.
Since the resuscitation of our Union in 2010, not less than four set of executives have gone beyond you guys but history has justified “very few” (I mean very few) of them to be worth the chairs they sat. A lot of them betrayed the mandate and trust reposed in them by their fellow students. A good number of them led us to one or more of these leadership incompetency domains; wastefulness, ineptness, confusion and “excessive” misappropriation.
But, friends, it’s not a must for you to pass through these cursed roads again. We may well forgive your predecessors for bringing the lamb down the fox’s path, but staying on that path, friends, is an act that may never be forgiven. It’s called “suicide” – “leadership suicide”. The past has gone, but the future has no right to take us by surprise. The summary of my “epistle”: Right now, you have the chance to choose differently from that of those who have gone before you. To be like them is relatively easy, but to choose differently requires a daring heart and a resolve of selfless purpose.
Right now, before you are inaugurated, both choices are for you to make. And whether consciously or inadvertently, you must make one (I don’t think you have a choice as regards that choosing, anyway). I am just writing this to make sure you make THAT CHOICE in a conscious state – a state of absolute awareness of its givings (sacrifices) and attendant consequences. The choice you’re about to make is between a leadership built on superficial worldviews and one built on fundamental philosophies, OWANBE politics versus IDEOLOGICAL leadership. It’s a choice between opportunistic leadership and a leadership that places principles above expediency. In SPECIFIC terms, you have to choose who you really want to serve, THE STUDENTS OR YOURSELF (as an agent of the school management).
You have to choose between organising programmes to the “glory” of the Union with you as the proud facilitator and organising a program that a “common” Uite can benefit from. This is you choosing between expending all your resources towards the pursuit of excessive jamborees, bashes and shindigs while you remain helpless in the true activism of students’ rights and privileges. It’s you choosing between doing what’s expected of you and what others will inspect you doing. It’s you using the last drop of your authority to defend the most “ordinary” of your followers.
It’s either you make a choice to sustain that “fake” smile you’ve been putting on before election to your very last day in office. Or you choose to return it back to where you’ve borrowed it – that’s ACCESSIBILITY versus REMOTENESS. You also have to choose between SUSTAINABILITY and IMPRACTICALITY. Learn to think in advance for your successors. Thinking here will not be sufficient without adequate documentation of events and best practices alongside a sustainable system of administration. Things are still like this because of your predecessors’ short-sightedness.
And lastly, you have to choose between Responsibility and Irresponsibility. Responsibility is you taking acceptance for your failure. It’s an honest admittance of your weaknesses and shortcomings. Responsibility is you taking charge of your duties and being accountable for all your actions. It is answerability for the questions raised by your conducts. It is you being accountable for every kobo put in your care. Responsibility, if you don’t know is silence in the face of accolades; it’s an allowance in the face of blame, guilt and utter condemnation. It is needless for me to tell you what the opposite of “responsibility” represents; because it’s written all over the place for you to see.
At this juncture, friends, there’s nothing like vacillation. Now, indecision is a choice; a choice to zoom off your newly acquired beautiful Ferrari down the road your predecessors rode. I cannot, in essence go into specific consequences of this latter choice but the concept is what I’ve tried my best to paint. And as intellectuals, I do hope that you’ll have the patience to discern every word in order to get my honest message.
Before I end this welcome piece, I want you guys to note the fact that you are not just representing yourself anymore, not only your family, your town, state, your hall, your department or whatever they may be, you are now representing every student in the University of Ibadan and either directly or indirectly you are now representing Ibrahim, Bola, Obinna, Favour, Ayo and hundreds of others. You are representing all of our reputation and whatever thing you do, whether you intend it or not will definitely be part of what will be used to assess our competency and our collective competency as UItes. Now you know, this is not just about YOU, all these students congratulating you, all the students who believed in your dream, it’s also about them – it’s about US. And that is why I am interested in your success; that is why they are interested. You can do us a big favour by not letting us down.
And lest I be accused of “ALL WORDS, NO ACTION”, I am here by pledging my unqualified support and my little competence to your service, ALL OF YOU. You just have to ask and I will not hesitate to give if it’s in my capacity as a member of this Union.
As I am pledging my support, I am sure every other member of this Union is also doing the same. So, YOU DON’T HAVE ANY EXCUSE TO FAIL. Unlike those who have seen your victory in polls as something deserving celebration, I chose to see it otherwise, for this victory has brought you nothing but works and burdensome responsibilities.
And where I come from…
WORKS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE CELEBRATED, THEY ARE MEANT TO BE DONE!
These works, I don’t have to remind you are many, they are problems inherited from many years ago. It is like “Ise Ijoba” (government job), I know it’s not just difficult for someone or a set of executives to finish it but it’s also impossible. Unlike “Nigerians”, we are not asking you to be our miracle-performing-Buhari, all we ask is that you do your best. But I’m afraid merely doing your best may not be enough, we (the students) also have to testify to it that it is your best.
Be that as it may, this piece is not meant to give all recipes for running your administration, rather, it’s meant to prepare your minds, philosophically, for the task at hand. And as part of my earlier pledged support, I promise to always be here as your unpaid adviser and this I will be doing via this column. Do endeavour to always check it out weekly and be sure that I will always have a whistling for you, of which whether or not you take it is completely at your own discretion. “Eni a wi fun…”
So, that’s my ONE KOBO for you.
May God direct our noble cause.
#100WastedDays: Buhari’s Presidency in Perspectives.
#100WastedDays is still trending on twitter. This is just one of the few hashtags created to commemorate the first 100 days of Muhammadu Buhari in office as the number one citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is the epilogue of all events that unfolded between 29th of May, 2015 and 3rd of September, 2015. Ab initio, the #100WastedDays hashtag was created to rubbish and discredit Buhari’s 100 days in office, however, those who have seen and feel the winds of change so far have hijacked it to laud the performances of the president so far.
While I am not in essence debating whether the President has performed or not, a majority of the Nigerian populace seems to have given thumbs up to him. While you see someone like @MrFixNigeria, on Twitter, who still thinks the present Government is built on lies and will always run on lies and therefore, blames Nigeria for such a mistake of choice. You will see hundreds of others like @Jem2gem who think that if having uninterrupted power supply, sweet dreams with no mosquito is considered as “wasted”, then, they would rather not want to see the useful side of Mr. president. Some even went as far as to conclude that if the quick achievement of this administration is tagged as #100WastedDays, then we can say we had #6WastedYears of the past administration. For example, this present administration whether “by fire or by force” was able to make asset declaration within the first hundred days in office when all what the past administration did was not to “give a damn” for good six years in Aso Rock. That explains how much some people think this country has actually changed overnight to be compared to a whole 6 years expended on the business of governance by the Goodluck administration.
That makes you think, what exactly has Baba done differently? What magic has he performed? A particular Infographic titled, “Taking a close look at President Buhari’s first 100 days” released by the President’s official handle on twitter seems to answer this question. The Infographic explains how the Presidency has used all the 100 days on activities executed in various areas of the Economy, Diplomacy, Appointment, Defence & Security, Meeting/Action, Public service reform, Transparency & Anti-corruption and the Niger Delta.
Taking a look at this Infographic alongside with another titled, “A look at key actions in President Buhari’s first 100 days” also released by the Presidency, unless one is an inducted member of the CAPTACAN, one would readily agree that the President has done his best and has put those 100 days to good use. However, the fact still remains that Mr. President can do better and there are a couple of things that still need to be considered and given utmost attention.
England’s first and only Jewish Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The youth of a nation are the trustees of prosperity”. For any nation to relegate these set of people to the back seats of its political framework, then, such nation must be prepared to sign a contract with stagnation, poverty, and ultimately, extinction! Apart from the rhetoric of the President at the United State Institute of Peace, where the President pleaded for US investment in our sectors for the benefits of the youth, there has not been any clear-cut policy nor action to demonstrate that youths occupy a prominent status on Mr. President’s scale of thoughts. We need a change of attitude and perspectives as regards this.
I was at Obafemi Awolowo University last week to attend the FUTURE IMPACT CONFERENCE 2015 and the maiden edition of a writing contest organised in honour of Professor Remi Raji, the former dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan. While giving an address, the Professor lauded the change agenda of Mr. President so far and noted that if all these developments could be achieved without Ministers, then probably we don’t even need Ministers after all. At this stage I was a bit uncomfortable with the Professor’s suggestion, not appointing Ministers sounds to me like a lot of burden that will be too much for Mr. President’s lonely shoulders to bear, and as such, I see that suggestion as a very bad one. However, the Professor later went to say that probably we don’t need the “god-like” Ministers that have always existed in the system but we need something more like “Inspectors” less clothed with the super aura and the cost of maintaining the usual Ministers. These Inspectors would just inspect the Ministries to ensure compliance with whatever policy has been drafted for a particular ministry and report back to Mr. President. If this is possible, I believe, it will save us a lot of cost of appointing countless “special advisers” to the Ministers who are supposed to be advisers to Mr. President. Whether, they will be Ministers or Inspectors, I think we are running out of patience sir.
Furthermore, a perusal at the Ahmed Joda-led transition Committee report as reported in one of the dailies revealed that the committee has seen no reason to include the Education sector into those lists of what he aims to achieve before the lapse of sixty days in office. With the level of decay and rot in the system, one would have expected the President to declare a state of emergency in the sector right away constituting committees to draft policies and draw up strategies on how to salvage what’s remain of education in Nigeria. However, it’s not yet late, the President should recognize the fact that the Education sector plays an integral role in the process of Nation building and for his change campaign to be sustainable, it must start from within the walls of the classrooms. This must be done in order to avoid the nemesis painted in one of the Yoruba proverbs that states, “Omo t’ao ba ko, ni yio gbe’le t’aba ko ta” (A child not properly educated will end up selling the house properly built.)
In conclusion, I will like to make reference to an article titled, “A new Sheriff is in town”, written by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. He wrote in that article, that “President Buhari has spent time trying to clean the Augean stable he inherited. And he is succeeding. Sheriffs can either come in with guns blazing, shooting malefactors to kingdom come, or simply stamp their authority on the situation by sheer force of personality and presence. The Nigerian sheriff seems to have opted for the second option for now. But we should never forget that sheriffs are licensed to shoot. And those shots can be lethal for lawbreakers. In a matter of months, you can ask those who had bled our treasury to the point of death. They’ll have stories to tell.” As well meaning Nigerians, we will be patient enough to wait to see them tell those stories and not just telling the stories, we want to see and feel the stories of change from Aso Rock to our various doorsteps.
I pray, God bless our fatherland and may He guide our president right.
Linda Ikeji And ThisDay Newspaper 2015 “20 Game Changers Award”
We were discussing in my room last week when a friend showed me Linda Ikeji’s response to the ThisDay Award she was shortlisted for alongside the likes of Late Adadevoh, Dangote, Elumelu and others. After reading the response on her blog, I asked to my friend, “So, what’s wrong?” and he replied, “can’t you see that response was childish and so informal for the prestige of that award?”.
I just laughed back and said, “1. I don’t know if any professionalism or formality exists in the type of blogging our sister does ab initio. Therefore, it will be an act of wickedness from you if you are expecting her to adapt to that supposed new professional status in such a short time all because she’s now on the same list with Dangote and friends, it’s just like you complaining about the leopard’s spots.
- While, I am not sure if she could have done better with her response or not, I think when a Media house that can’t even pay the salaries of its members now suddenly hits a jackpot to organise an Award and shortlists Linda Ikeji for it, I don’t think you really should expect anything better…”
Do have a nice week ahead.