Thursday 18 March 2010

Nigeria: We need public servants not politicians

Seeing beyond the sacking
It is important that we do not become blinded by the euphoria around the presumed acquisition of balls by President Goodluck Jonathan in the dissolution of the Federal Executive Council comprising of ministers, advisers and aides.
For long many have vociferously expected some typically Nigerian political posturing from Dr. Jonathan who quietly had tried to exert authority and found that entrenched positions left him with no other option to be dissolve a deeply divided council.
Let us however review the actions of the ministers after they were told they no more have some official duty to perform in the name of Nigerians even though they remain Nigerians with a stake in what happens to the country.
Sullen and bitter people
It is said [1] that many of the ministers could not muster the dignity to depart the council chambers through the usual exit route but stealthily disappeared to collect their personal effects from their offices and in the process they might well handover to the permanent secretaries in their respective ministries.
One minister who did make an appearance was the now ex-Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyili who apparently rocked the boat within the timeliness that offered the National Assembly the impetus to offer the substantive leadership of the country in an acting capacity to the vice president.
Whilst she announced that the Acting President had dissolved the council, she had not further information about why apart from indicating all ministers were to handover their portfolios to the leading civil servants in their ministries.
No appreciation or thanks
What we all missed in the briefing which was her last was a note of thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to serve Nigeria and Nigerian, the seeming sullen atmosphere around the ministers conveyed a sense of personal loss and bitterness even though they have belonged to a privileged few that are ever called upon to serve.
I would suppose the staff in their ministries will not be lining up to see them off, rather, in what seems like the loss of clout that feed the megalomania of office their underlings might well be saying good riddance.
The other minister from whom we heard words, sums it all up and it needs to be remembered well, he was the Minister of Labour, Alhaji Ibrahim Kazaure and he said, “I used to be the Minister of Labour but now I am no more.” How very ominous, no more the minister or no more in a position to be an ungracious public servant of worth and exemplary conduct?
On being asked what he intended doing after holding that post, not one word of appreciation and gratitude was offered for his tenure, rather we heard him say, “I am a politician and I will continue to be one until I die.
Public servants not politicians
One would think we have enough politicians in Nigeria who get paid for politicking serving their own selfish interests acquiring for themselves influence and patronage with impunity, one really wonders when we would every get public servants as ministers, people of honour with just a tinge of humility and perspective who recognise that it is privilege out of 150 million Nigerians to be called to serve in whatever capacity.
If anything, this is what I seek in the crop of new ministers to be presented to the Nigerian Senate, honourable and humble people who have a sense of duty whilst appreciating they have been called to service of a great nation and people – the fact that we pay them should even impress that knowledge the more.
We cannot afford to continue to pay political leeches whose personal interests and ambitions matter more than the Nigeria that gives them the platform from which to project the worse of ability and talent that Nigerians in general have.
I do remember writing [2] in May 2008 another blog on this matter where some politician thought he was entitled to demand where to serve, it is a shame we still have that kind of entitlement mindset amongst our politicians.

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