Tuesday, November 15, 2011


There are certain simple things in medicine, though unimportant by themselves, that are precursors, or harbingers, of momentous, and monumental events! Sometimes, these could be symptoms that are more of an inconvenience, that actually signpost a deeper, grave, and life-threatening medical condition!

Something as simple as a headache, could be a sign of a brain tumor! Another time, an upset stomach, could actually be pointing to bowel cancer!

But it should be noted that it is not in all cases, that these preconditions, actually point to the deadly conditions I have enumerated!

In like manner, certain events, in the life of a nation, can indicate how healthy the leadership style is ,or a deep insidious, retrograding, retrogressive, and recalcitrant leadership!

I have refrained for the past twenty days from commenting on the Nigerian situation, not because we have not had the usual foot-in-the-mouth moments; but because I decided to take a break from the maddening crowd Nigeria has become!

The latest debacle in a litany of low points, is the recently concluded national honours ceremony! 

Weeks before the event, many commentators spoke on the need to properly define the criteria for giving a person a national award! 

The most visible conscientious objectors, was Professor Chinua Achebe, who declined for the second time, the offer of a national award!

In Nigeria's case, the criteria for receipt, was simply the occupying of an office, and the being properly connected to those in power! 

Individuals were been awarded national honours, not because of some rarefied act of heroism, bravery, or uncommon contribution to Nigeria's greatness!

Contractors, consorts, and concubines of those in power, have become, those deserving of our national awards!

What ought to celebrate our very best, has now become a forum for mocking all we hold dear:our integrity!

It smacks of a mockery of common sense, and as those dyed-in-the wool defenders of our president are going to point out, it is a system he met on ground! 

It then begs the question, wherein is the much trumpeted transformation agenda?

That bit of our self-inflicted wound, is not the point of my blog today! What ails me, is that the medals on offer, were less than the number of people to be honoured! 

I know that one person will quickly point out that this is the president's first time, that is if we do not count the national awards given out during our fiftieth independence anniversary!

In all the years that this ceremony has been marked, we have never been informed of a shortage of medals!

It is like a university not having a degree to present to a graduating student, on the day graduation! Or, a conductor selling more seats, than his mini-bus can possibly carry!

We have a minister for special duties, who does nothing, as far as I am concerned, more than preparing for the national honours! 

That is the high-point of the minister's year!

The rest of the year, he just sharpens pencils, and jets around with the president!

Was it that the contractor responsible for producing these medals, ran out of materials? 

Or was it that the list was amended till the time the presentation ceremony itself? Or, the unthinkable, was it that the usual contractor was replaced, for a more favored person, who was not tried, and tested? 

The same shameful debacle of medals not going around, happened during the golden jubilee celebrations!

Is it that we are incapable of learning from our mistakes, or we are incapable of learning at all?

A friend of mine, who was virulently miffed by the sad episode, concluded that it shows that we have become so incompetent as a nation, that incompetent nations, are now calling us incompetent!

If we cannot handle a simple issue like matching medals to the number of people, can we seriously claim that we understand the dynamics of managing an economy? 

Because with the economy, the numbers are bigger, more complex, and oversights cannot be remedied with a simple "you will get your medal in one week" solution:instead, lives are usually lost, and fortunes too!

I kept asking myself, that if we cannot manage an award ceremony for less than five hundred people, how do we intend to manage one hundred and fifty million Nigerians?

Our people have a proverb, that the chick that would have a rich comb when it becomes a cock, usually shows it at a young age!

Nigeria says it wants to build a nuclear reactor, is this the style we want to use to manage it? This happy-go-lucky, cavalier, devil-may-care, manner? Then Fukushima, in Japan, will be child's play when we have our own melt down!

We have proclaimed our desire to explore space, I suspect whoever we put in orbit will never come back, if we do not change!

This show of shame, is a symptom of the malignant disease eating our nation: the rule by strong individuals, and the abdication by weak institutions to them!

A committee was saddled with this assignment, does it mean, that all the members of that committee, do not know how to count?

They do! 

However, the problem arose when the committee, (an institution), finished it's job, some individuals, (strong men), decided to set their hard work aside! 

That is what has kept Nigeria in slavery, and retrogressive retrogression since independence! 

It is what has made us an anachronism, an oxymoron, among all the nations of the world: a country richly endowed with all manner of resources, but peopled by those who live in abject poverty! 

The minister for special duties has not resigned, it is the Nigerian way! He is a strong man, in a weak government, (another institution)!

Someone has exonerated the president by saying, that his bus conductor, loaded more people than his bus could carry, my answer is, the driver is responsible for everything that happens to, and in, his bus, because he is the one who holds the steering!

As many dubious individuals were getting their dubiously earned awards in Abuja, a friend of mine gave me a dubious award too! 

He conferred on me the CFR, which, according to him, is Critic of the Federal Republic! 

I like it!


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