Grace Ego Omoni
The drum of the forthcoming general elections is already beating and the frenzy of the dance steps of those welcoming is already overwhelming. It seems to many that this time around, something new is about to happen in the history of politics in Nigeria. However, it often ends as a vicious cycle. It is a political characteristic which has existed before and after independence over the years; a routine which has rendered this nation a laughing stock in the committee of nations. It is indeed ridiculous and utter insanity that in this 21st century, a country like Nigeria will be doing the same thing, using the same people over and over again and still expects different results! Why do we have the impression that we can find a solution to good governance with the same mindset we have used over the years? Have we not realized that until we accept our weaknesses, mistakes and limitations, we cannot attain success beyond this present unsatisfactory political system of government and society being criticized by opposing party members, critics, pressure groups, the young, the old, the elites, the illiterates, religious and non- governmental organizations and the world at large? Has it ever occurred to the politicians and ruling administration that assessment and evaluation are ways by which the development of a nation can be improved upon? With excitement, most people welcome the signing of the Electoral Act by the President, Mohammed Buhari and it is indeed a great achievement in the annals of Nigerian’s political history.
However, do we know that there is a popular axiom that borders on the premise that Nigeria is very good in making policies but totally a failure in implementation? This is a known fact to the academia especially in the area of curriculum planning. What would have been the reason for this failure over the years? The CAN President, Rev. Dr. Olasupo Ayokunle made a pertinent point in 2018 in an address to congratulate Nigeria on the 58th independence anniversary that the recycling of old politicians who are already showing signs of tiredness as a result of old age is unfair to the nation.
In the same vain, Olawepo- Hashim Gbenga asserted that fading personalities cannot be accepted as potential rescuers for Nigeria already drifting into the deep of collapse. To him, what the country needs is a new generation of leaders; not cabals or multiple pension-receiving individuals who have been on government expenses in ages or those that the nation sustains including their families at huge costs. To Olawepo, such people should be retired from politics so that Nigeria can be led to a new part of creativity. He advocates that Nigeria should stop political recycling.
Thus, this article will briefly look into the term recycling and reusing, recycling from the political point of view and the trend in Nigeria, the consequences of the recycling of political appointees to national development and then Implications for counselling.
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Recycling is a technological term which implies a process of collecting and processing materials that would have been otherwise thrown away as trash but turning them into new products. It is an industrial process that collects used or abandoned materials, smashes, melts, shreds or otherwise transforms them into consistent raw materials.
Reusing is the act that does not require new material but involves using that object by repurposing it.
Both terms are seen and used intermittently in Nigerian politics. Both are potential political acts used by die-hard politicians to maintain the status quo. The scenario shows a situation whereby the same people are seen in government moving from one political position to another for over a long period of time. In Nigeria, we see politicians who have served as governors for eight years move to become senators in the House of Representatives or Senate and even come back to become ministers without making any positive impact to national development. In fact, the greedy vertical movement starts from the local government level. Someone, after serving as the chairman of a local government, now struggles to become a commissioner in the state and moves upward to capture diverse political positions without considering others as potential personalities being capable of contributing and serving the nation.
We even have situations where the children of politicians take over from their fathers and uncles as a kind of political heritage. Olasupo Ayokunle indicted politicians who impose their children on political positions after they leave such seats.
Political recycling therefore is the deliberate maintenance of a small group of political elites who rotate political appointments among themselves. They rotate through the years with the different ruling administrations. For instance, the appointment of top level bureaucrats is among the most important decisions that a president must make. It is disheartening to note that here in Nigeria, these political assignments are ill-motivated. Instead of appointing those who simultaneously meet the criteria and who can deliver the goods, the retired but favored party members, ethnic faithful and those who over the years have not been performing well are again reappointed. This kind of patronage does not give room for development.
It is a well-known fact that the constitution of Nigeria gives no room to one particular ethnic group or religion to dominate in the matter of appointments and holding political offices. It states that all political appointments must be balanced but that is not the case presently. Political appointments are recycled among people of one political group or ethnic group or religious entity. This is injustice and very unfair to others who are not fortunate to belong to the choice of the ruling party. What the country needs are fresh ideas and new people to develop the economy, unite the people and maintain the nation’s sovereignty.
Politicians recycling themselves in power must cease in Nigeria for it to move forward. Recycling political appointments among a small group of elites has negative and retrogressive consequences for the nation and its citizens.
While technologically, recycling of waste products might be good for the government and the people since it reduces environmental pollution, it is a phenomenon extremely bad for governance. Indeed, the world has come to appreciate the importance of recycling refuse and waste products as blessing but cannot accept political recycling of fading personalities in government as potential rescuers.
The negative consequences of reusing or recycling political personnel in governance over and over again cannot be over- emphasized. Some of them are:
*Youths are robbed of the opportunity to contribute to the development of the nation;
* It leads to discontentment, agitation, murmuring and oppression and these are not good for politics and businesses in the country;
*It reinforces political instability and violence. The problems Nigeria is facing today are as a result of the recycling of political appointments among a few people. 90% of Nigerians have remained poor, unemployment is the order of the day, terrorism, banditry, murder, destruction of lives and property, breakdown of law and order, underdevelopment and violence are the order of the day. Solutions are not forthcoming because fading personalities are still in government without new ideas being proffered to eliminate or totally remove these problems. Instead, the same thing, the same way and the same method is used in solving these seemingly insurmountable challenges, hence the same unprogressive results are seen in the system. This is why the nation is in darkness and remains underdeveloped and that Is why there is moral and economic decadence everywhere;
*Lack of fair play. Greed and injustices abound;
*It undermines the possibility of good governance;
* These recycled appointees and their families benefit from the government at the expense of the majority of the citizens who out of frustration are likely to resort to violence.
* Political recycling of government appointees leads to dissatisfaction and division. It incubates grievances leading to protests and the tendency to hijack the government through violence. The failure of today’s government to refrain from using old and retired fading personalities can only rekindle the embers of resistance like the ENDSARs saga of 2020;
* Maintaining authority largely by dispensing patronage in return for political support by appointing senior posts to those who served in previous government or trusted family members only endangers the nation in terms of political, economic and educational development. It fosters corruption, cheating, deceits, lies, defrauding and opportunities benefitting the appointees and their families at the expense of the citizens;
* It also prevents the government from earning public trust.
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The following are the counselling implications for the practice of recycling political appointees in our polity:
* A system of principled governance and greater criteria for appointments responsive to the needs of the ordinary citizens must be established;
* There is the need to reform the government appointment process. In other words develop and incorporate merit- based criteria for the appointment of political personnel into government positions such that patronage is balanced with merit;
* Recycling of old politicians who are already showing signs of tiredness as a result of age must be put to an end;
* Imposing the children of politicians after they have served does not allow for others to fulfill their mandate or contribute to the development of the nation. Thus, such cyclic way of governance should cease to exist;
*The constitution of Nigeria on political appointments should be adhered to. Nobody is a sacred cow. Equity should be practised to the core;
* Seminars and workshops should be organized by educational institutions to give orientation to political personnel on the danger of practising political recycling or the reusing of those who have served in government should be discarded henceforth;
* All the divides that form the nation must be put into consideration and be balanced in the process of political appointments; there should be no lopsidedness in appointments;
* Nigeria needs a new generation of leaders and not cabals or multiple pension-receiving individuals who have been living at government expenses from ages without contributing anything positive that will end the incessant protests, poverty, agitations, underdevelopment and dissatisfaction of the masses. Such recycled politicians should be retired in Nigerian politics.
* Nigeria needs policies that will not give room to elite’s recycling and poor governance. There should be a system that needs to impose sanctions against them;
* A policy whereby politicians who have served as political appointees for a term should leave the stage. This is the practice in the higher education sector of this country. For instance, vice-chancellors after serving five years leave the stage for others to contribute their own quota;
* Illiteracy is a disease in this country. Education should be a criterion for political appointments.
Therefore, it is being recommended that training and retraining of political administrators in charge of appointments will go a long way to helping them choose political appointees based on merit and not by patronage or compensation for political support;
It must be emphasized once again that it is insanity doing the same thing, the same way over and over again and expect a different result. Putting new wine in an old wine bottle is only calling for disaster. Nigeria cannot solve the problems of underdevelopment by engaging in the recycling of political appointees. In fact it will compound the issues. Therefore, the president of the country and others who have the sole responsibility of political appointments and taking important decisions concerning this nation must as a matter of urgency appoint those who are talented, young but qualified, committed and ready to give the best to our nation. STOP POLITICAL RECYCLING and REUSING of OLD POLITICAINS and their CHILDREN who are already showing signs of tiredness and dementia for they have nothing to offer Nigerians towards national development.
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Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
By Tony Afejuku
It is time for me to wake up in the New Year in my waking mind to catch the pictures of the unseen and seen inhabitants who help to make this column the stuff of dreams. These inhabitants are my readers whose words see me any time they come to me or are called up by music of words, showers of encouragement, that help to seize and define the column.
My readers help me to see and feel the beauty and truth, ever bright, ever potent, ever lovely, in the things I set my mind to all the times it tip-toes to the rosy sky with its lure of some-thingness. I quote now select readers:
On ASUU and the “conquistadors.”
Professor Ademola Da Sylva
TA, our TA! Your resilience is amazing, your uncommon focused energy and optimism have continued, so far, to serve as essential fuel that keeps the ASUU collective struggle steadily on course, and very assuredly to the expected end. There are tricksters and there are tricksters: when a trickster-character attempts to make a society worse than he meets it, the trickster always ends up unwittingly, burning its own boat! Ditto the Speaker of HoR under reference, a chief trickster indeed, and his current ruling Party. No country’s leadership treats its academics this shabbily and disdainfully with impunity without serious short-term and long-term repercussions. Any further delay on the part of the society in taking decisive actions against these clowns and self-styled “conquistadors” could lead to a permanent and further irreparable damage to Nigerians’ warped psyche, and any meaningful development in the country. TA, the payback time is surely nigh. Cheers.
Professor Ademola Da Sylva
TA, our TA, ageless and timeless! When this current ASUU struggle shall be over, predictably victoriously, and hopefully pretty soon, either the principalities in the current government like it, or not, your adorable portrait, and name written in bold gold, shall surely adorn a conspicuous place in the nation’s Hall of Fame!; but the tricksters, interlopers, who constitute themselves, lately into a bunch of elitist-Boko Haramists, shall similarly have their names in the nation’s Hall of Shame! Kudos for an essay well thought out, and lucidly crafted! My 2 Kobo appreciation! Cheers.
Professor Ibrahim Bello-Kano
Ha! Ha! Ha! You nailed the imbeciles once more. You’re quietly gathering a reputation as the Jonathan Swift of terrorist academic journalism or is it you as the columnist-academic-Professor terrorist? A student of mine said sometime ago that he would soon begin imitating your writing style. I told him in response that he should wait until he has mastered the language well enough. It’s not easy for a PG student to imitate a Professor!
Dear Mr. Afejuku, good morning. I am always eager to read your write ups. You are among the three highly rated journalists in this country. I have learnt so much from you in both content and form. I am an Associate Professor in the Arts Faculty in UNICAL. Keep feeding our brains and minds with your grip of the language, your knowledge and your expertise in journalism. God bless you immeasurably. The unfortunate thing is that you are speaking to minds that are depraved and have been inhabited by demons. Demons know nothing but wickedness and oppression. However, there’s always a day of reckoning, where the chicken will always come home to roost. Thank you profusely, Sir. Accept the expression of my esteemed regards. Have a useful and fruitful week ahead, while I await your next write up, Sir.
A Reader from the Diaspora
Good afternoon, my dear Brother. Thanks for your usually brilliant piece. It is obvious that the intent of the Buhari administration is to drop the ASUU file for its successor. Perhaps a bilateral conversion with each of the leading presidential candidates should be considered. Have a Blessed day and weekend.
Good morning, Sir. I appreciate your thoughtful article on the trickster beggars, and I love the inclusion of the allegories from the erstwhile FIFA World Cup, where professionals behaved like true professionals, upholding the integrity of the game by employing the best human and electronic resources to get the best out of the game. In our national climate, the different interest groups and personages in government and not in government, who begged ASUU to call off or suspend the strike, suddenly went mute. Even press and media personages involved in the begging charade are now fully engrossed in the flimsy stories of distraction created by the CBN sector and the Naira. The courts, which were employed by the FGN to force the lecturers to pick up their chalk by force, have ceased from advocating for the truth regarding the debilitating decay in the educational segment. A handful of those columnists, like you, who maintained a respectful distance and wrote about it truthfully, decently, genuinely, are now vindicated for writing objectively and absorbingly about the subject of begging and taking a stand. CONUA or whatever the alleged traitors of academics are called, are allowing themselves to be used to be playing a nauseating game against their mother union and colleagues.
SSANU members did not get their due for listening to the beggars. Now we are all waiting… Waiting… waiting…, while the present administration prepares for their swan song by inflicting financial pains on the populace with un-thoughtful money policies.
On Pele: World King of Football
Professor Owojecho Omoha:
Were you there at the invention moments of capture theory? You theorize the admiration of King Pele to recapture the attention of the world on coach Izilien. This vibrancy of your memory lives in poets, and only poets memorably work passionately to capture the attention of readers, the way you do, Afejuku. The year has begun with your poetry. Hold further passionate lyrics till you capture the attention of the world on Nigeria, when Coach Izilien and the rest of us shall dance gracefully turning backs on the criminals in February. This happiness makes greater sense, when you shall turn the attention of the world on Nigerians who survive the dark years in our history.
On Pele’s Warri ancestry
Professor Owojecho Omoha
A true African writer must be traditional in spite of the burden of modernity, from the ancestry, and again, back to the traditions that we know. This piece scores high on both points.
Passion and passionate passion! Now to our Waffi enclave. Pele was a Waffi Boy? This is a bad suspense and only a poet does that! I have started counting the day, to next Friday! Good morning, Sir.
Suyi Ayodele (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
Nobody, I repeat, nobody can dispute those revelations. I sat in divination sessions with my late uncle. Reading this piece brought back graphic images of those times. The Ifa priest was right, is right and will eternally be right. This is one of your best I have ever read. How did we abandon that plain religion, IFA? And about your younger brother, pity that you folks did not do what Ifa prescribed. It is always like that with Ifa, the Atori Eni ti o suhan se (The repairer of humanity). I would have personally ‘bewitched’ you if you have not written this! VINTAGE AFEJUKU!!!!!
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Professor Olu Obafemi (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
This is a very fascinating treatise, especially because of its crisscross transcendent of the abstractive ineffable to the physical/archaeological referents. The narrative’s rhetorical strategy is suspenseful with the capacity to provoke insatiable yearnings for the remit of the story. These days Africans in the Diaspora are Evoking DNA identity/Descent retrieval. Unfortunately, Pele has left.
Professor Sony Awhefeada (On Pele’s Warri Ancestry)
This is thoughtful, enriching and instructive. I wish you published this when Pele was alive he would have come home. And how is your younger brother now? I am really moved.
Nonso, Owerri resident (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
Good evening, Afejuku. I am totally intrigued by your write up on Pele’s Warri ancestry. I am enchanted with the eloquence of your pen that glides through the white sheet of paper and the attendant satisfaction that gladdened my heart to have stumbled upon this great literary work. Allow me to say that the article is un-putdown-able and the accuracy of the Divine revelation of the Ifa Priest should be announced to the world. Who knows? Or may-be Pele’s offspring may be interested in knowing the tree they were carved from … Thank you for the great work.
Professor Dan Chima Amadi (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
Good, good historical touch. I could not stop.
Roland Uyimulam Aleshi, from Calabar (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
Greetings, Mr. Afejuku, I read your well researched write-up on Pele’s Warri ancestry. You impressed me a lot with useful information and updates on Pele’s Warri ancestry ties. Well done.
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Professor Mabel Evwierhoma (On Pele’s Warri ancestry)
I agree (from personal experience) that the art of divination is a means of finding out deep truths. We could know more, from such researches, but how can they be untainted by the factors of selectivity and monetary inducements? – May we know that which will not lead to perdition.
What do I say other than to thank my readers and readers, listed and un-listed, whose words charm me beyond any measurable afflatus? My nib gives applause to your lovely music of words – whose peroration I charm myself to let be.
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
BREAKING: Gbajabiamila Threatens To Arrest Emefiele Over Old Naira Notes’ Deadline
Five days to the deadline for the old naira notes to cease being valid, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele is still in trouble over the policy.
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday threatened to order the arrest of Emefiele to appear before the committee investigating the old naira notes withdrawal.
Gbajabiamila said this on Thursday after the Majority Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa informed him that Emefiele and others shunned the invitation to a meeting on Wednesday.
Responding to the statement, Gbajabiamila said he would not hesitate to order the Inspector General of Police, Akali Baba to issue an arrest warrant to compel Emefiele to appear before the committee.
READ ALSO: Old Naira Notes Deadline Stays – Emefiele
Gbajabiamila added that the House ought to adjourn today to prepare for the elections, however, they will stay back to resolve the currency swap crisis.
“I will, pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 89 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 19 (2)(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, not hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force to compel the attendance of the CBN or Managing Directors who fail, refuse or neglect to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives,” he said.
He also stated that Emefiele’s deadline is not consistent with section 20 of the CBN Act, noting that the banks are compelled to accept the old notes even after the expiration of the deadline.
The Presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Tinubu, who is believed to be The Godfather of Gbajabiamila, also spoke against the policy on Thursday during a rally.
Tinubu alleged that the policy is targeted at his presidential ambition.
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You don blow!
By Toyin Falola
My name is Toyin Falola, and I am an active member of the Association of Nigerian Pregnant Men (ANPM). We eat and drink every evening at our clubhouse. You can tell from the size of my stomach that I don blow. The Secretary of ANPM, a chief with a stomach twice as big as mine, don blow pass me. He is well connected that he can invite ten governors in the country to attend our annual gala. Men who don blow, as well as elegant don blow first ladies, honour us. Their drivers sit inside their cars, praying to become like us while they receive free AC to calm their bodies wey too dey hot. The Secretary and I look smallish than our Vice-President, who finds it difficult to climb into his jeep because he don blow well well.
Our President, our Oga patapata at the top, lives in affluence. I don’t know why I am afraid of him. He too get power! Plenty plenty power!! Whenever the President falls asleep, small girls steal from his wallet, and he does not even notice it. Sometimes I fear for the girls. What if one of them gets unlucky one day, and Oga wakes up to catch her in the act? But the girls seem not to send. They want a way out of their sapa situation. They steal from magas like my President, use the money to finance their japa plans, then some weeks after they get to the abroad, they post pictures on social media, and a barrage of comments follow: See as you fresh like today bread! Omo, you don blow!
If you are not a street guy like me or unfamiliar with the language of the street and slang, you might find all the slang phrases in the preceding paragraphs unusual. Communication and language are two interdependent concepts that hardly exist separately. Language is ineffective if it cannot communicate with another person. The indigenous languages of the regions that subsequently became Nigeria are very different from what the colonialists imagined them to be. The notion that Africa was a “dark continent” before European contact has been refuted and proven false by scholars and through our cultural developments even after independence. Before colonialism, Africans were not only able to communicate, but they also used complex languages to interact with one another and with events.
However, culture is not static, and one of its characteristics is the capacity to adapt to new situations and times. For context, words are borrowed from one language into another. For example, the Yoruba call onions alubosa, a Hausa word. The creation of Pidgin English, which deviates from the native English language and is increasingly common in other Anglophone-speaking West African countries, might be attributed to acculturation and the desire to improve communication and make languages simpler.
Even though the term “you don blow” is derived from the English language, it can be used in various contexts. Three words, three ideas. The pronoun “you” is used to directly address the listener or refer to individuals in general. The word “don” can be used in the present, past, or future tenses in pidgin English to replace the words “have, had, or has.” Examples are I don go (I have gone) and I don chop (I have eaten). The last word in the phrase You don blow can refer to either expanding air from one’s mouth or destruction by an explosion.
Nigeria boasts of an abundance of highly skilled and noteworthy people. The country is recognized as a talent hotspot in many spheres of human endeavour, including entertainment. Despite the challenging circumstances militating against young and brilliant individuals and inadequate leadership and infrastructure for nurturing such talents and people to develop and build the nation, Nigerian youth have been breaking through to international spotlights. These exceptional ones work as hard as they can with the limited resources at their disposal to achieve success and greatness, and when they finally do, dem don blow.
Let me further take you there. If someone says to you on the street, You don blow, it can be for various reasons. For those of us who are street kings, the first thing that will come to mind is that we have succeeded, and are now famous, trending, or the rave of the moment. This is well-versed in the entertainment field. Being famous or trending in the entertainment industry is associated with wealth and success due to the perks that come with it, such as sponsorship deals and money from social media engagements. Therefore, when an entertainer from a lowly background becomes well-known, he don blow. Olamide Adedeji, better known by his stage name “Badoo”, is a Nigerian rap artiste born and raised in Bariga, Lagos. He is just one example of a musician who has succeeded and become a global name despite coming from a lowly background. When next you see Don Jazzy, Badoo, Davido, Wizkid, and Burnaboy, greet them well well as dem don blow pass you.
Do you know some people believe you can hardly blow in the village? This is why people who live in rural or village settings find all means necessary to move to the big cities, even if they have to live in the “trenches” before they blow. The population of Nigeria’s major cities, such as Lagos, has exploded because many people, especially young Nigerians, believe that moving to an urban area is the first indication of success or achievement. Blow.
Another strategy that Nigerians believe will help them blow is to japa, our new alubarika. Due to the widespread problems affecting the country, such as unemployment, insecurity, and financial hardship, Nigeria is facing a brain drain in all sectors as young and older people emigrate. As a street person, you might think someone don blow if you hear they have relocated abroad or have gone to study abroad. Japa can make you blow, even bloat you! If you can successfully navigate the immigration process to leave the country, you’re good to go. Two months after you land in Saskatchewan or Houston, you have acquired a Highlander. Take many photos and post them on Facebook, include some Instagram videos or jump on some Tiktok trends, and you don blow!
You can blow a matter with your big mouth. This indicates that a secret has been revealed or that more people are now aware of an issue that only a few people were meant to be privy to. If such happens, it means the matter don blow. To blow in academia is to become a big brand and a well-established scholar, winning grants and carving a niche for yourself in research and other academic engagements. Professor don blow. If you become a Vice-Chancellor, you don blow pass all others! Shey VC wa kere ni!?
However, to blow in Nigeria, you need “grace”, which has been attributed to providence or blessings from God. Even if dem cut soap for you, you fit no blow if babu grace. In such a situation, keep at your hustle and be grateful for each day because, as Asake sang in “Dupe”, “cause you no get today no mean e too far” (https://youtu.be/sWj-zEuH4Lg) . Relax, you sef go soon blow, and when you do, just play over and over Kizz Daniel’s “RTID” for thanksgiving: https://youtu.be/ElgKinpsqYI.
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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