Kashim Shettima And The Muse Of Revelation
By Promise Adiele
Art is a realm of knowledge characterized by intricate, interwoven, overlapping dependencies which can only be accessed by a few people. The muse is inexorably located in the exalted realm of art. However, the uninitiated, owing to obvious limitations, is content with guesswork and sterile justification of misplaced muse which sometimes calls to question the rational status of a person’s mental process. The muse is primarily understood as that moment of inspiration in art which goads the artist to profound submission. Originally, the Muse in Greek mythology is one of the nine goddesses of inspiration responsible for poetry, prose, and other forms of creativity. In speech or writing, one can become a victim of the muse and be inspired to reveal what was hitherto hidden in the subconscious. During the recent Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference in Lagos, Kashim Shettima, the APC presidential running mate, became a victim of the muse in the most disreputable manner. Shockingly, many Nigerians praised him for his oratory during the convention much to the dismay of conscientious observers. Beyond all the grammatical infelicities, faulty submissions, and lack of factual accuracy in his speech, one of his submissions stuck out like a sore thumb. That submission and others are the subject of this essay.
Shettima had unapologetically avowed that in the remote event he becomes the Vice-President of Nigeria, he would be in charge of security while his principal Bola Tinubu will be in charge of the economy. That submission should concern every well-meaning Nigerian irrespective of political leaning. Unfortunately, Bola Tinubu and his camp are playing the ostrich over the statement, treating it with condemnable levity and undermining its insidious, treasonable potential. They have failed to condemn Shettima’s obvious insubordination of the office of the president in the very unlikely event that they find their way to Aso Rock. I have watched a video where the same Shettima vehemently and angrily condemned restructuring, wearing that trademark vexatious look of his. According to him “restructuring my foot”. Remember that Bola Tinubu promised Nigerians that he would restructure the country if elected as the president. Therefore, Nigerians are saddled with a presidential aspirant and a running mate who are at variance in terms of ideology, speaking at cross-purposes. Such an imprecise ideological dilemma is inherent in dysfunctional, power-hungry, desperate political actors. Can Nigeria afford that level of dissonance in the power corridors given all the years of anguish under APC? Wahala dey o!
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As Shettima mounted the podium to make his speech during the NBA conference, one thing which has become the hallmark of his appearance was clear – his combative, pugnacious disposition like someone going to engage in a fist cuff with another. Wearing that trademark frown on his face, Shettima spewed half-truths and composite falsehoods with gusto, and a disabling passion that promotes self-interest. Yet, many Nigerians applauded him for a brilliant performance. Something is indeed wrong with our collective assessment of the intellect. I am not bothered about such comical issues as his dressing which of course overshadowed his more implicating failings during the conference. Rather I am bothered about his submission to be the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces while his principal will be in charge of the economy. Ordinarily, Bola Tinubu should have dropped him immediately after that open submission, but no, Tinubu wouldn’t mind being unsubordinated as long as he answers Nigeria’s president even for one day. That is the regrettable nature of inordinate, vaunting ambition. By ignoring Shettima’s treachery and misprision, Bola Tinubu has failed to concern his much-touted political flourishes with the nation’s immediate somatic life and that is an insincere attitude.
Also, Shettima had shamelessly admitted that as the Vice-President he would canvass for more funding for security in the country, yet some people applauded such impudence as an oratory. Perhaps Shettima is not aware that Nigeria’s defence budget increased since 2015 by up to 66% yet insecurity rose exponentially over that same period. In 2020, Nigeria spent $2.57 billion on security and what is the result? Therefore it will be preposterous for anyone of good intentions to ask for an increment in the security budget of the country when other sectors like education and healthcare are suffering untold neglect. In a moment of sacrilegious impunity and devastating irony, he quoted the late Nigerian literary sage Chinua Achebe, who I am sure, turned in his grave at such misplaced re-ordering of ideas. If the problem with Nigeria is leadership, is APC the answer seeing that the current administration was foisted on Nigerians by Bola Tinubu? By quoting Achebe that “the problem with Nigeria is leadership”, Shettima was of course indicting the Nigerian leadership held firmly by APC’s stale misrule in the last seven and half years. If the problem with Nigeria is leadership, APC and PDP, twin brothers of the same deformed parentage, should cover their faces in shame and apologise to Nigerians for trammelling the country for twenty-three years. If the problem with Nigeria is leadership, Shettima shouldn’t be canvassing for votes under a political party like APC that has ushered the country into the league of the poorest, security-challenged nations of the world.
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Again, Shettima rattled the audience when he avowed that Lagos is the third largest economy in Africa. He also added that Lagos State had only one ambulance before Bola Tinubu became the governor. The problem with falsehood of such magnitude is that it gradually acquires monstrous shadows and becomes accepted as the truth. Such falsehood can insert delusory titillation into the collective sensibilities of the entire nation. It can challenge reason as the cornerstone of immaterial faculties. That is why some people exercise their sense of reason in socio-political discourse through the anus while the brain is deployed to mundane pastimes. Falsehood is dangerous. Although we acknowledge that Lagos has always been a vibrant city for many years as Nigeria’s political and economic capital, some people, through insolent mischief, summarily appropriate the development of the city to themselves. Nothing can be more jejune. We must guide against undermining moral values in the quest for political power although some people conceive politics as a dirty game, an immoral indulgence for power-hungry people. I disagree. Power requires the ability to anatomize the intentions of the beholder but only when such power is legitimately or conveniently acquired because certain forms of power lack legitimacy.
When I was in secondary school, my Government teacher, Mr Afonneka of blessed memory, (not many of us can remember the names of their teachers, including some presidential aspirants) taught us about the Separation of Powers. Under the presidential system of government, there is a clear explanation of the powers of the president and that of his vice. Security is the exclusive official responsibility of the president. But Shettima is thinking differently. Does anyone imagine for a second that Shettima is alone in this line of thought? Bola Tinubu should be worried about this kind of invidious, treasonable submission by the man he chose as his running mate. What was Shettima telling Nigerians? Why on earth would he think that it is his responsibility to lead the troops while Tinubu will be in charge of the economy? So Shettima has already separated powers even before getting into office? God help Nigerians if such a character takes charge of security in the country.
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The Shettima submission should worry Nigerians. It should worry the APC family. It should worry Bola Tinubu and it should worry the international community. Based on the hellish experience of the past seven and half years under APC, the party has a very narrow chance of emerging victorious in next year’s presidential election, yet we must examine all the possibilities in politics with an open mind. Could Shettima’s avowal be a case of a Freudian slip? According to Ola Rotimi in his classic play, The Gods Are Not To Blame, “it is what is in the heart when there is no wine in the head that comes out when there is wine in the head”. King Odewale made that statement while responding to a suggestion by Alaka that a certain man had too much wine in his head and therefore should be ignored. Nigerians should take note. Or could it be that Bola Tinubu struck a deal with Shettima and the North over official responsibilities? Given all the reports about his involvement with terrorists and romance with bandits, it should concern any well-meaning Nigerian that Shettima is angling to be in charge of the country’s security apparatus. Indeed, the muse can sometimes force out a subconscious reality, but can it also inspire someone to propagate falsehood? Let Nigerians gather here and thank the muse for a revelation that will guide how they vote next year.
Mountain Top University.
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The 2023 Elections And The Newness Of Nigeria
By Hope Nwawolo
Despite the hues and cries that greeted the results of the 2023 elections, what if the court’s pendulum stays or swings otherwise in the expected litigations?
What will it teach our inquisitive young children?
What will it do to the hopes and dreams of the youths?
What will it do to the mind set of those in diaspora, waiting and hoping to return?
How will it affect our heroes still alive and yearning for the good old times?
One basic fact is that no matter where the pendulum swings, something new has started in the political sphere of Nigeria. And because it was unexpected, it has become almost impossible to strangulate it.
In every competition, there is an expectation that the best man will win. That may not always be in politics, particularly, in Nigeria…where the winner may not be the best man or even the better man. And when it is said that politics is a game of numbers, sometimes, the actual numbers may not be visible to determine the end result. It becomes a case of the more you look the less you see; until interpreted by respected learned men with high integrity.
Politics, they say is a dirty game, where money speaks and promises made are broken without an iota of guilt. Where the gullible minds of the masses are deceived, with as little as a box of indomie. Where some vibrant but jobless youths are brainwashed to risk their lives to snatch ballot boxes for the politicians who do not know them beyond giving them stipends through some third parties. Where market women are forced to come out for rallies and campaigns because they cannot afford the fine that will be imposed on them if they failed to participate. They also do not want the harassment of the market leaders.
In politics, fear is palpable in the air, before, during and after elections. The 2023 elections recently carried out, depicted these more than expected in both the politicians and electorate. What started like the usual political pattern took a drastic turn about nine months to the first elections and though it was said to be only a social media affair, it got everyone sitting upright and tightening his seat belt, particularly after the first elections.
Now, there is a generational shift, a new awakening, a new dawn and a new political birth, waiting to happen. To wherever the pendulum turns; where the court stands, it will make a turnaround in Nigeria. It may be turbulent at the beginning, it may be emotionally draining and psychologically traumatizing, but it will point to light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a new hope backed by a high spirit of determination. An unexplainable faith in many people for that newness of existence and purpose. An unprecedented emotional and psychological strength in the youths not to give up on their dreams. An unquenchable desire to keep praying. Soon a newness will break forth to calm all nerves and dry all tears.
A newness that will permeate conflicts and hatred,
A newness that will dissipate unnecessary anger,
A newness that will usher in unquestionable and transparent political systems in future elections,
A newness of freedom to choose a candidate without coercion or molestation
A newness of jubilation after the announcement of election results.
This is the new Nigeria that is awaiting delivery…
Nwawolo, PhD, writes from Lagos.
Overcoming Policy Execution Trap As Nigeria’s Development Challenge
By Tunji Olaopa
If I am asked to give a succinct and apt summary of the entire challenge faced by the Nigerian state in terms of her policy architecture and development management, in spite of contestation in the development literature, I will not hesitate in stating clearly and unambiguously that it is the challenge of policy implementation; the whole dynamics of getting things done. By elimination, the implication is that the challenge cannot be located as that of the dearth of development ideas, insights, models and paradigms. Right from her independence, Nigeria has been inundated with several ideas, both local and global, about development policy and frameworks. And yet, policy outcomes keep getting bogged down in the murky waters of political shenanigans. This means that the new administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has its challenge mapped out, in red, for it.
There is no shying away from this postcolonial predicament that has limited and kept limiting Nigeria’s capacity to honour the terms of her social contract with Nigerians. Hence, the Tinubu government will soon be inundated with the impatient agitations of Nigerians for a quick and tangible fix that will address their sufferings. And they are justified since they have not been given any real deal for the past sixty-three years of sovereign independence. And the new administration is obligated because that is the reason for seeking office in the first place.
Prof. Olaopa’s new book on public policy and development challenges
How then can we begin to understand this policy execution challenge? It is simple: how can an administration in Nigeria transition from governance vision and policy intention to policy outcomes that elevate and transform the quality of life of its citizens? Failure to understand and give critical and political attention to this question lies at the heart of the governance failures of successive Nigerian administrations. The new Tinubu administration cannot afford such a glaring mistake. And so, a fundamental case must be made out of the question of how policy intentions get circumscribed in the dynamics of policy execution that occasions policy failures in past administrations.
Modern states all across the world are distinguished by the traditional four functions they discharge as part of their administrative responsibilities—security i.e. securing the sovereign territory against lawlessness, policy formulation and implementation, governance regulation and service delivery.The capacity to perform each and all of these functions very well within an integrated framework in the governance context is what delivers the dividends of democratic governance to the citizens, and it enhances the state’s competitive and human development rating in global reckoning. With these functions, we have the metrics to differentiate between high-performing states like China, India, the United States,Botswana, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirate, Germany, Rwanda and the Asian Tigers (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea), and low- or even under-performing countries like Nigeria that is still cluelessly stuck within a dysfunctional vicious cycle within her arrested development.
From the perspective of governance, there must be something these states are getting right in the connection between leadership, politics, and policy articulation. For instance, there is a trajectory of relationship that links elite bargains to development bargains. In other words, development is a
function of elite nationalism and the extent to which the political class of a state can commit elite suicide and gamble on development on behalf of the people they are leading. In Nigeria, low
manifestation of elite nationalism has made it really difficult for the political class to set aside their personal and egoistic class interests in ways that enable them to clearly and ideologically discern and navigate the deadly developmental landmines strewn all over our governance landscape by the
neoliberal implication of ideological apparatuses and frameworks to which Nigeria is beholden. And here, the factor of development gamble of the Asian Tigers’ elites comes into bold relief. From within the ideological ambit of the developmental state, the leadership of the Asian Tigers were able to define a policy space that consciously and critically weighed the benefits and shortfalls of external influences, especially the type that came from the World Bank, IMF and the other cohorts of the neoliberal policy dynamics. Their developmental circumspection paid off!
Since we cannot argue that Nigeria has been stumped by the lack of vision documents, development plans and blueprints, or even policy expertise, the locus of the new administration’s focus must be directed at the possibility of mustering the political will to undermine the mystified Nigerian Factor, and face the global neoliberal consensus in order to begin the crafting of an enabling policy architecture to drive development. And to achieve this translates to creating the delicate balance between ‘doing the right things’ (a function of decision making quotient) and ‘doing it right’(project and change management effectiveness), and overcoming the various political, cultural, structural and systemic constraints that trapped past well-meaning policies and intentions of Nigerian leaders in the dynamics of implementation.
There is first the conspiracy of elitist interest that ensures there is a poor resource allocation that focuses on elite bargain than development calculations and taking care of the national interest. Other constraints follow: (a) the disconnect between policy design and implementation due to weak implementation planning, risk assessment and incompetent change management strategies; (b) unstable and poorly managed macroeconomic policies; (c) policy and project discontinuity; (d) public service low capability readiness; (e) political interference; and finally (f) deep-seated political and bureaucratic corruption. In essence, development has failed not because Nigeria lacks the blueprint or paradigms to make it happen, but due to the dynamics of the politics that the political elite plays with Nigeria’s development potential.
Let me outline what we can regard as the “politics of policy implementation” that Nigeria has played for many years, a politics the new administration must take into serious consideration if it
does not want to fall into the category of failed administration right before it commences. This politics throws Nigeria’s development and policy non-performance right into the frame of the 2005 World Bank review findings about policy and development projects in Africa. According to the finding, 29% of development projects ever get completed, 45% of on-going projects are rated as satisfactory, while 26% of such projects invariably get cancelled. Such a review can never backstop a solid development project of a developmental state.
The politics of policy implementation in
Nigeria is founded on the following assumptions and practices. One: there is that dangerous presumption, that the new administration must resist, that once policies and development plan are designed, they are automatically implemented by the public service. And such a presumption is against the background of a scant investment in implementation analysis and planning, as well as the failure to facilitate the capability review, determine public
administration system’s capability readiness, and strengthening of the MDAs as the powerhouse of government administrative functionality. The MDAs, that is, are not working according to any
specific theories or praxis of change that can guide the functional integration of blueprints or paradigms. This kind of policy inattention draws attention to the policy contradiction: launching a
national development plan and strategy that are not implementation- ready in terms of adequate capability review of the MDAs integral to ensuring implementation success. Two: this
presumption is compounded by the uncritical reliance of past governments on policy experts and consulting firms who are tasked with designing high-end policies that are then dumped on MDAs whose capability reviews and implementation readiness have been neglected in the first place. The
extroversion of the policy design is then compromised by poor functional integration. The truth is that most of these consulting firms lack the appropriate deep content and solution frameworks that are in tandem with the context of policy dysfunction they are supposed to work with. Three: governance policy or project are hardly subjected to feasibility test determined in terms of scope and expectation that are captured by their framework of time, cost and risk assessments before
they are pushed into implementation. This makes it very difficult to benchmark funding projections for these policies and projects against revenue estimations, as well as facilitating in-built flexibilities that enable the policies and projects to adjust to volatilities and contingencies.
All the issues raised above constitute binding constraint that will undermine any governance possibilities the new administration requires to make a success of democratic governance. Undermining the binding constraints demands returning to the fundamentals. The first and most significant is that the new administration needs to interrogate the framework of how government business is currently being conducted. Governance successes are necessarily a function of how government business engages the complexities of the policy design and execution processes within a results-oriented frame. And that entails undermining the structural gaps between policy objectives, development strategies and policy outcomes. This demands second, setting the public service on a performance curve with the institution of a performance management system. This means that the public service must, for example, unfailingly now deploy KPI-based metrics to replace the cumbersome annual performance evaluation report (APER). And at the backend, it becomes imperative to have a monitoring and evaluation system supported by databases that enable staff and program continuous assessment, human resource development rooted in iterativep performance gap identification, supervisors-staff dialogue and multisource feedback mechanismsf for overall national development policy tracking and reporting.
The governance mantra must be on getting the balance between doing the right things and doing it right. And this cannot be achieved through the wanton multiplication or even duplication of
governance plans, programs and blueprints. What is needed is sequencing the blueprints into a coherent and feasible implementation programme, with the right amount of political will behind it. This gives the success of democratic governance a 95% chance of succeeding. The new administration needs that fighting chance!
. Olaopa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor of Public Administration .
Rigged Elections And The Moral Burden Of Illegitimacy
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Adamu: A man who rigs his way to power carries a moral burden!
Orezime: A moral what?
Adamu: You heard me, didn’t you?
Orezime: I’m not sure I heard you right. Moral what you said?
Adamu: A moral burden, I said!
Orezime: Hahahahahahaha! You make me laugh! Are you from the moon?
Gani: Or Mars?
Emeka: In which country? In Nigeria? That principle does not apply in Nigeria! There is no moral burden on anybody in this country! The election which produced Bubu in 2015 was rigged. Where are the two million voters from Kano State who voted in 2015? Was an INEC official not burnt alive after that election? The one which brought Obj to power was also rigged by the forces which wanted him to ease the tension of the Abiola tragedy on the Yoruba people. Yet those men had the temerity to preach against corruption!
Orezime: The international community winked at the whole exercise.
Gani: Yes! That’s why those two could only preach; they couldn’t really act decisively. A moral burden? They spoke from both sides of their mouths on the issue of corruption. The late President Yar Adua confessed that the election which produced him was compromised. An honest man, he didn’t live long enough to right the wrong of the period!
Orezime: That’s why I laughed when Adamu talked about a moral burden arising from rigged elections.
Bankole: In the ideal world, any power that is stolen and acquired through a dubious means imposes a moral burden on the power holder. No matter what the person does, that power remains stained.
Orezime: What does that amount to in our country? Even the brigands who shot their way to power in the notorious days of military misadventure in Nigeria soon became legitimate.
Emeka: You are going too far in our history. See what happened in Lagos State in the governorship elections of March 18. Ethnic jingoists went about preaching hatred against Igbo people and warned them against coming out to exercise their constitutional rights. Security officials looked the other way when ballot boxes were snatched in broad daylight in places where the opposition was leading.
Gani: A serving state governor personally went about snatching ballot boxes and threatened to shoot whoever got in his way. The same governor declared somebody wanted without recourse to the Inspector General of Police! He worked against the party on which platform he won the seat to spite the party hierarchy!
Adamu: And to think that this is the President-elect’s state. He kept mute through the horrendous attacks on Igbo people in Lagos State just the way the incumbent president has looked the other way when herdsmen went on the loose!
Bankole: Rigged elections are so familiar yet notorious in our land. It was the main trigger to the crisis in the Western Region in the First Republic because the people reacted when they saw a rape of their rights and wishes! It soon snowballed into a conflagration that consumed the nation in the late 1960s. Already, the youths are talking about a protest in the ENDSARSNOW# manner. I hope it doesn’t result in disaster. We have lost too many lives already!
Orezime: What I fear is the rise of ethnic profiling in a supposedly democratic society. To be sure, Governor Sanwo-Olu and the party hierarchy did not single out any ethnic group for verbal attacks. They even courted them. Yet they didn’t caution their followers to stop the degeneration into ethnic hatred. It is a dangerous curve what is happening in Lagos. I don’t subscribe to the Lagos is no man’s land nonsense which some misguided fellows are spewing, but threatening anybody not to vote their candidate is a new low! Can a Sanwo-Olu victory be said to be legitimate if a significant percentage of the electorate is disenfranchised?
Emeka: Good question. They did not stop there. They rolled out the culturally dreaded Oro rituals on election night. Come on! Who is fooling who? The Oro festival was designed to drive fear into non-Yoruba in Lagos. In the 21st Century?
Gani: I am sure the reports from election observers will be damning.
Bankole: I don’t care about those biased observers.
Adamu: Where are we headed in this country?
Orezime: We are on the road to Kigali!
Bankole: May we not travel that route!
Orezime: It’s a good prayer. But what are we doing to avoid the descent into anarchy? Nothing. Those monkeys are simply interested in acquiring power.
Gani: The Obedient Movement seems to have lost steam once it was misbranded as an ethnic agenda to grab power at the national level. Peter Obi needs to tread carefully so he doesn’t become another June 12! Some people are egging him on to challenge INEC through protests.
Orezime: If he decides to lead a protest, it would be within his constitutional right to do so, especially as INEC is stalling on the issue of inspecting elections materials despite an order from the courts. Peaceful protests are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Adamu: No one can be sure whether a peaceful protest will remain peaceful after it starts. That’s the experience the ENDSARS people had.
Gani: It’s not enough to stop people from taking to the streets. Protests are fundamental to democracy.
Adamu: We do not want dead heroes! Mark my words.
Bankole: That’s ominous!
Emeka: It means nothing. Nigeria must change. We cannot go on like this forever! Things are just going down. No cash. No fuel. No power supply. No security. No nothing. Peter Obi gave a glimmer of hope. Now that has been dashed to the ground.
Adamu: Rigging will remain a moral burden each time our President-elect travels outside the country, each time he meets foreign observers, especially those ones who have a dossier on him. History will also judge him and assess how he came to power. This applies to all the states as well where some politicians have turned themselves into demigods and have compromised poor INEC officials with mouthwatering sums. This is not how to build a democracy. The votes must be counted and must count. Seventeen people have their lives during the governorship and House of Assembly elections. We are supposed to count ballot papers, not bodies. Sad!
Bankole: The moral burden of rigged elections is on all of us. Without our connivance there would be no rigging. We can only hope that this will end some day!
Emeka: Tough luck!
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