I want to let out this secret. In every writer’s engagement there are moments on the job you must grapple with the task of choosing from a variety of topics to deal with. It is more challenging if you are a chronicler of history in a hurry like we of the pen profession. For this outing it was no different. The visit of the envoy from the president of South Africa to apologize on behalf of the country over killings in that country is certainly a big issue. It is a matter of great significance to the African continent. I had wanted to do a work with the title “Medicine after death”, but it didn’t happen. Before I leave the issue it is very important to let our officials know that beyond apology we must get to stop this rubbish immediately, just as we ought to know if they want our people there and if they will be protected. Immigration was a chief campaign issue for Ramaphosa and suddenly this retrogression to the Stone Age.
The other matter of weight was to be on “Judicial activism.” There has been assault on that institution and lately the vibes from the sector is not good. Wars started in other countries from such minor infractions. We can’t afford any laxity, it could prove very costly. I had also wanted to convey to the leadership that citizens are passing through terrible hardship. And a discourse to demand we resolve to build a country then a nation and create the citizens. As it is today we today don’t have a country, the position General Yakubu Gowon held in the 60s that there is no basis for co-habitation still subsists till today. This is the truth which we shy away from, to our hurt. I have often told friends that I could rule Nigeria excellently relying on contributions from the media. We have so much rich prescriptions in media but our tragedy is that most of our leaders don’t read or watch television. They would rather spend time chatting away with friends and people of their clan; sometimes too they engage in hedonism. It is a tragedy of monumental proportion.
Today we take two issues: President Buhari’s just constituted economic council and the critic as patriot, not an enemy. On Monday the president constituted a seven-member economic council to advise him on economic direction for the country, the team is loaded with some fine brains on economic matters. Prof. Doyin Salami, chairman, Dr Mohammed Sagagi, vice chairman, Prof. Ode Ojowu, Dr. Shehu Yahaya, Dr. Iyabo Masha, former Central Bank Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Bismark Rewane and Dr Mohammed Adaya Salisu, who is to act as secretary. For once our president danced on a very excellent path. Those who love him and the country had urged him to go this way and in the last four years he seemed locked up in world of ultra-conservatism, walking around outdated policies. He and his lieutenants would not accept publicly that the misdirection had been too costly. The decision to do what they have done is indicative enough they now agree that things were getting out of hand. The indices don’t look cheering at all. Within this context, it is heartwarming to see a positive shift. There are issues with it though, and this does not detract from the effort.
From the very simple one, I would have expected the president to be sensitive to the question of inclusiveness. Given where we are and social tension in the land, two northerners should not be vice chairman and secretary. In the school it should not matter but given what we have seen of the president, it should matter and it in this instance it matters. The other would be that adequate consultations were made before the nominations and announcement. By the time I put this together there was no inkling of likely rejection from any of the nominees but consultation has become a big issue because of recent events from which the president’s men have made so much issue out of political differences. Differences in political parties should never be hindrance to quality service to the country.
We know Soludo is belongs to the All Progressives Grand Alliance and until the new announcement many believed he is APGA’s best bet for Anambra governorship in 2020. On this score many are of the view that he should not step forward. Soludo should take up the responsibility and give it his best, national is what it is; but he and the rest must get a guarantee that they have not been invited to fulfill all righteousness. President should take their recommendations seriously. The president must also define his ideology, as of today it is running with a mix of everything: liberal capitalism, ultra-capitalism, comprador-business strategies and socialism, just name it. The result is big confusion, downward economic fate and the waste of funds that go with it. In all it is a good development.
Critic as patriot, not an enemy!
Few weeks after the National Assembly was inaugurated, Senate President, Lawan appointed Festus Adebayo as aide on media. I don’t know the guy personally but I have come across his works and testimonials. He is intellectually great and very disciplined. Low men among us didn’t care about those qualities before they began to scream blue murder. Before we knew it, they shut him down. His offence was that he was a critic of the present federal government. Last week one genius by name Seun Onigbinde was given another appointment by Minister of State, Budget and within days he was forced to resign. This time both the party people and Nigerians were on him. This is wrong. A critic is a patriot. A critic’s desire is to bring to the fore other critical perspectives often downplayed or neglected. He is not an enemy or an outcast. If he gets the opportunity to display his talent or ideas, why not?