Getting Priorities Right

The Economics teacher has different terminologies to describe ‘priority’. These may include scale of preference, economy of scale, and opportunity cost. The multiple alternates to the simple term underscore the importance of that word. Our President, Dr. Jonathan has to consign this talk about tenure to the waste-bin of history once and for all and allow us to face the multiple challenges facing our beleaguered nation. Single Term, Two Terms, No Term, et cetera, are simply not our priorities for now, and it is doubtful if that would be for a long time to come, in view of obvious pressing national problems. Even if President Jonathan had not brought up any tenure-based issue, as we are now being made to believe, he should douse the malignant tension and unnecessary controversy by publicly declaring that he did not say so, has never said so, and would never say so. Like this, we would all move on and face more pertinent issues of nationhood.

For a fact, tenure of leadership is generally important, but the apparent ‘state of emergency’ in different parts of the nation calls for sober reflection, strategy repositioning and a more serious talk and thinking along the corridors of power. Certainly, the bringing up of the proposition of constitution amendment to provide for a single term of six years for President and Governors, and the likes is, to say the least, unfair in `view of the plenty cases of national insecurity; thoughtless against the backdrop of the fact that very little has yet been done since the administration came on board and as such should not even be nursing that kind of thought; and irresponsible of a nation under threat every day by faceless but vicious domestic terrorists to consider as priority.


To put it differently, we have a keg of gunpowder right under our seat, ticking away to explode; hence, we cannot afford the luxury or dissipation of pointless aims. Boko Haram is still there, with fears that it may be spreading to other parts of the nation. The Niger Delta militants are not resting on their oars either. The failed power sector requires government’s serious attention and like someone rightly observed, the declaration of a state of emergency in that sector. Government still has nearly all roads to reconstruct or rehabilitate. The health sector still has not passed beyond boasting of consulting clinics and irresponsible hospitals (public and private). The floods are still coming as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had warned.

There are too many things for government to do than engage in the idle talk of tenure extension under any guise. Mr. President should not heed the counsel of the sycophants who think petty enough not to look beyond their own vain gains. Dr. Jonathan should kindly bring his wisdom to bear at this rate, and avoid to dance macabre, to the drum beats of the manipulative political jobbers.


On Jne 12, We Ate? 222

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While for the mass of the hoi polloi and majority of the generality June 12 was a turning point for Nigeria’s chequered politico-ethnic and religious history- thus becoming the accelerative juncture in the rebirth of a multinational state; for some, it seemed it was rather the ‘milking point’ and a season of huge quantitative political returns. We all stood on June 12 fighting for it, or so we had thought, until revelation (call it allegations if you like; there is no smoke without fire) from El-Hamza Mustapha appears to be exposing the goldmine Aso Rock had become at a point at the instance of June 12. The much hyped rhetorics, heroics and theatrics of the ‘respected’ elders seemed to have paled out significantly in the face of the ‘dollar rain’ on the ‘unrepentant apostles’ who allegedly slept and ate well on June 12, while in actual fact, others were standing, agonizing and dying for it. We had all thought they were for Abiola anyway, after all some of them had given groundbreaking speeches about ‘keeping hope alive’ from 1993 to 1998. That’s the ones who initially refused to be lured into Abacha’s cabinet (but some of the most respected ones actually did, and never returned to regain their respect).

However, the video and oral evidence presented by Al-Mustapha, in as much as it showed that those who were not in the cabinet later looked away from a known plot to eliminate him; it also raises pertinent questions: what jamboree were the Yoruba “statesmen” doing in Aso Rock just few hours after their hero just died in very mysterious circumstances? Why would they be looking so unperturbed and celebrative only hours after Abiola’s demise? And now, what would become of the indicted ‘statesmen’ who could have been in the know about Abiola’s murder?

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There are so many questions that require and deserve answers. National security consideration may compel a concealment of the facts; nevertheless the government must seek answers and allow justice to reign.

Dr. Folarin is the Deputy Director of the African Leadership Development Centre (ALDC), Covenant University, Ota, Nigeria.

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