YES, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Nigeria has moved, sometimes, forward and sometimes backward.
The children of today may have an ugly experience with the pit latrine but they can never imagine that a few decades ago, our cities thrived on the pail system where the night soil men carried buckets of human excrement on their heads to designated centres for onward transportation for disposal at nearby rivers. When the bucket leaked, it leaked on them.
Once upon a time, many public buildings in Benin City had elevators and escalators. Over time, they all packed up. Children born in Benin City who may eventually spend their entire lives here may never know about the elevator or escalator.
Like President Goodluck Jonathan, our hearts bleed for Nigeria for this lack of maintenance culture. We have picked up a lot of the President’s sentiments from his recent actions. Our fuel depots nationwide are beginning to wear new looks. The airports are getting brighter and better.
Undoubtedly, refurbishment of existing structures is a good idea but it is hardly the stuff of which great Presidents are made. Yes, maintenance culture is good but a President cannot hinge his total transformation agenda on it.
If the President were to go about repairing all existing airports and fuel depots, it would not be quite the same as a bold attempt to initiate his own structures, which will provide lasting legacies.
Every existing airport already has a name. For instance, no amount of refurbishment and consequent commissioning and re-commissioning of the Abuja airport will change its name from NNAMDI AZIKIWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.
What is really delaying the East-West highway? Has a curse been placed on it? This would be a good legacy to leave behind for the people. Of what use would a thousand years in power be if not spent in furtherance of the cause of humanity?
From biblical times, it has been established that it is not the number of years one spends on earth that matters but the good things he does. The book of Ecclesiastes 6:3 clearly sets out conditions under which even a still- birth would be better than living up to 120 years.
In the end, no one will be judged by his struggle for naked power. In fact, if you perform in office, power will seek you out. History remains our best guide.
We remember Franklin D. Roosevelt FDR (1882-1945). The rule in America had always been a maximum of two four-year tenures but FDR remains the only President who was re-elected three times. He came to power at a time when the nation was faced with the Great Depression.
He pulled America out of it by bringing about sweeping economic reforms – The New Deal: reliefs, loans, social security, social welfare and jobs through a variety of Federal Government programmes. The Americans were not going to bother themselves if a performer remained in power for life. Despite his declining health, FDR was already enjoying a fourth term before he died on 12 April 1945.
Hon Farouk Muhammad Lawan (Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency, Kano State) was making history until he became history. It was not by accident that people in the remotest part of Southern Nigeria wept profusely when he was “accidented” over the fuel subsidy probe.
He had endeared himself to everyone. He did not achieve his feat by being a seat warmer. He performed his legislative functions to perfection, so much that his people were not going to concern themselves with how many times he returned to the House of Representatives. He has remained in that House since 1999.
The President occupies a peculiar position. When Lawan was consumed by history, he drew the President along. How the President clears the Lawan mess and what he does about the Lawan scandal and the oil subsidy reports, all will enter into the equation when finally judging the President.
See what Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is doing in Edo State. Any wonder that at the gubernatorial election, he won in all the 192 Wards and virtually in all the polling booths throughout the State? People are already developing headaches over what becomes of Edo State when Oshiomhole leaves in 2016.
Before now, Ondo State probably had a silent understanding that no Governor goes back for a second tenure. With Gov. Olusegun Mimiko’s excellent performance, Ondo people were just too happy to break the jinx. These heights were not attained by commissioning and re-commissioning repainted buildings but by concrete achievements.
The Federal Government must do less of politicking, in-fighting and witch hunting; and do more of quality governance. With so many policy issues begging for attention, the Federal Government must lift itself above these menial renovation jobs.
No one has ever thought of looking into the whole area of our vagrancy laws. These vagrants who come from a particular part of the country have effectively taken over our cities. It is worrisome that on worship days, whether in churches or mosques, these beggars and their children outside far outnumber the worshippers inside! There must be a way of saving ourselves the embarrassment!
We could be afraid to deport them to their places of origin for fear of losing their people’s votes. But how about establishing colonies for them in our major cities? In this way, we can attempt to harvest at least their children while milking thousands of voters out of their parents.
Past leaders realized the importance of leaving their foot prints in the sands of time. The Shagari administration provided houses for the people, some in the middle of nowhere. Buhari brought about the queue culture and discipline.
Babangida provided a secretariat for each of the two political parties of his time in every Local Government Headquarter. For good or evil, Obasanjo knew when to grind Odi and Mubi like a quid of tobacco. None of these came without criticism. What will Jonathan be remembered for?