On May Day, a gentleman was at the Channels Morning Show. He is Dr. Victor Audu, if I heard the name well. Mr. Audu we were told is a development expert and consultant. As it interests us here, he told a story of his experience in Uyo. Uyo is capital of Akwa Ibom State.
Mr. Audu shared his experiences getting around our country doing his bit. For Akwa Ibom, it was how in getting about his engagements he saw a fleet of airplanes, mothballed, at the Obong Attah Airport hangar, Uyo. Continuing, he said he made inquiries and he was reliably informed that Abuja was gumming up things. According to him, Abuja, deploying its bureaucratic hyper-powers, is making sure not one of those planes flies the skies.
For him, that was the height of bureaucratic stupor. Why refuse a part of you that has earned its wings the opportunity to fly? And your only reason is that that part is not a member of your political family, your APC party? How dare a serious nation bring into developmental economics the pettiness of party politics, he rued. How can flimsy paperwork hold back a jet from flying? This can only happen in Nigeria, he mourned. For him, if the visionary step of Akwa Ibom State belonged to an APC state, it is clear the Abuja powers would have granted operating license, Mr. Audu further explained.
As right as Mr. Audu is, he just scratched at the surface of the issues. To correct the rot, the nation needs to come under the knife, under some serious political surgery. To start with, certain key ministries and national institutions must go multi-regional. If they can’t, they must be completely insulated from control by any parties in Abuja, whether APC or PDP. In other words, all attempts must be made to de-legitimatise Abuja’s bureaucratic tyranny over national development. The idea of having everything gummed up in Abuja, in a kind of license racketeering, is an evil that bodes no one any good.
The next thing is to educate the Abuja powers thus. Whatever visionary achievements a state governor scores for his state, he also scores for the nation. In other words, that state governor without intending it is by that lifting up his state, also doing same for the nation. That is to state that such a state governor is helping President Muhammadu Buhari have a successful run of office. And this is without recourse to the party that such a governor belongs to.
The details are as follows: Supposing the Ibom Air, as the Akwa Ibom airline is called, takes off and begins to positively revolutionalise air travel in Nigeria. The dividends of this are that the development statistics in Akwa Ibom in terms of employment, per capita income, capacity building, etc, will go positive, rising by leaps. But that is not the end of that statistics. It is the same packet of statistics that will be fed into the national grid of statistics to determine the national averages. In other words, because Akwa Ibom State is getting it superlatively right, Akwa Ibom’s transmitted or contributive points into the federal statistics will positively feed the national average.
Again, the competition will engender a falling of prices and a rising of value delivered to customers and fliers. And between Akwa Ibom and the other regional centres that the Ibom Air flies, there will be a world of knock-on effects. For instance, Abuja airport will get busier because of Ibom Air. So also would be Lagos and Kaduna, say. And the overflow impacts will be in and with those localities, not in Akwa Ibom. In other words, to set up Ibom Air is actually a national event, is to pump up employment and new competencies in Lagos, Abuja, etc.
To repeat, by engineering a fast-paced development for Akwa Ibom State, the governor, His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel, is actually, and in spite of himself, lending, interest-free, to Buhari and the APC Federal Government positive statistical developmental assets/numbers. In that sense it is safe to say that in succeeding, Emmanuel is not succeeding for Akwa Ibom alone. Emmanuel is succeeding for the nation as a whole. The nation should encourage, not sabotage his vision, under the guise of bureaucracy.
What then is to be done? The Presidency should take it up as a national priority. Ibom Air no doubt is an economic development asset for Akwa Ibom, but so is it also for the nation. Let the state that has earned its wings fly. That’s true federalism and it is good for all.
Imo West Senatorial contest continues
The tale of Rochas Okorocha, the outgoing governor of Imo State, refuses to come to a closure. Just the other week or so, Okorocha was out under the television lights berating his ugly fate. And that was such a fate as was hoisted on him by his ancient and present political enemies. What is interesting in the Okorocha choice of enemies is that they were once his boys, the boys he made men, as he claims. In this latest diatribe, for instance, Okorocha was caught on camera saying, “I literally made Oshiomhole the chairman of APC. And now he has turned against me, his maker.” (https://youtu.be/9LvHl3-sW3Y).
Whether Oshiomhole is a political godson or product of the Okorocha machine, nobody other than Okorocha tells. However, that style of litany is a typical chorus of Okorocha. Perhaps we should be taking Okorocha and his rants with a pinch of sugar. For instance, the same Okorocha once charged that his deputy, His Excellency, Eze Madumere, was also a godson who turned coat, ala Oshiomhole.
However, historians of Imo State were agreed on one thing. It is that Okorocha is a political aberration. Just like it is with a sickly fart, the peoples of Imo are waiting for the rancid smell of the political Okorocha to fade away. And that is coming to pass. It is just that there is a lingering issue. Did Okorocha win in the senatorial contest for Imo West? Or did Okorocha manufacture his electoral victory? Did he fix things?
According to INEC, Okorocha’s winning was procured like an efulefu or jankara document. In other words, there is not one single legitimate ground to have Okorocha “smell” the Senate seat as a duly elected senator.
INEC’s position is that elections are won by votes and not by pumped-up muscles, on hire. Anyway, the case as we write is in court. But one thing is sure: The INEC decision to maintain civilised standards in the matter of winning and losing elections is highly welcome, even in Okorocha’s homestead. Excepting Okorocha’s in-laws, family connections, flunkies and court fools, Okorocha is only loved by himself.
Anyway, in the end, Okonkwo threw Agbalinze the Cat. Now Okorocha is bemoaning his fate, that he is being smoked by national forces, at “home and abroad.” That is, those forces that he sold to us loved him are now persecuting him. Presently, he has courage to mention only Oshiomhole. But point is, Oshiomhole is the Peterman for Tinubu. To indict Oshiomhole is to incriminate his analogue, Ashiwaju. But Okorocha lacks the liver to name names. Meanwhile, even his acclaimed northern friends are not raising the least whimper in his rescue or favour. And at home, Okorocha has been granted a most humiliating divorce for infidelity to Imo people. In other words, Okorocha as is completely loveless both at home and abroad. And to worsen his lot, he is currently tied up in court processes fighting for the last throes of his political breath. Pitched against him is, Honourable Jones Onyeriri.
Book reading: Nigeria has civilisational problems.
This Saturday 18th May, 2019, your beloved correspondent will be reading from my latest book, The University-Media Complex as Nigeria’s Foremost Amusement Centre. That is the old news. The new one is that it is going to be one book reading like no other.
The best and finest of Nigeria’s brains will be there. One of the world’s greatest minds, philanthropist and business mogul, Alhaji Abdullazzi Ude, will be our special guest of honour. Ude trained in universities of Oxford and Columbia, is the concept of a philosopher king made flesh. He will be the special guest of honour. To help him will be the famous polemist and poet Odia Ofeimum. And the roll call continues.
But more importantly, it is a book reading for you. What holds Nigeria back is the dearth of the book, not the poverty of leadership. My dear reader, you can set your watch on that.
It will be interactive and the idea is to drive the development of Nigeria. Nigeria has no problems of leadership. Nigeria has problems of civilisation. Yes, the leaders have failed one and all. But the problem that is Nigeria is deeper than that. That is what this book like no other lets you into.
VENUE: Quintessence, Park View, Ikoyi, Lagos.
DATE: Saturday, May 18, 2019.
TIME: 2:30 pm. Prompt.
There will autographs, photographs with author and much fun. Come one, please, come all. Let’s do it for the book. Ahiazuwa.