By Martins Oloja
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who a gets the people to do the greatest things”. Ronald Reagan.
It is in the light of the above powerful words of one of America’s greatest leaders, Ronald Reagan that I am persuaded to join good people who would like to encourage our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) to make history by getting good people around him to do one of the greatest things – to make history.
Behold, the thing is how to renew his mind, rally his governing party and citizens (behind him) to restructure Nigeria without dividing it. This is possible only with a sincerity of purpose as the driving force. This is what drives me to think that at the moment, PMB needs encouragement more than condemnation from any quarters: He is surrounded at the State House by only his kinsmen most of whom would not like to tell him what he could do to leave Nigeria better than he met it.
Specifically, in the beginning, the kinsmen who helped him to make his cabinet did not assist him in making a great cabinet. It is quite obvious that the President was not told by those who helped him shape the presidential bureaucracy and the cabinet in 2015 that no leader can do well in office with a mediocre presidential bureaucracy and cabinet. After about six months of assuring the people that he was head hunting good and reliable thinkers and tinkers, what he came up with has been quite disappointing. No insult is meant here, please. This is without prejudice to the few good ones who have been unequally yoked with mediocrities (not mediocres, please) that abound in the place. We are just discussing simple points in nation building within the context of the new world that social and digital technologies daily disrupt. Yes, only leaders who surround themselves with very smart managers can make history in the new world of business and politics.
Besides, our president has obviously compressed his own agenda to fighting “corruption” and “insecurity”. But there are no indications yet that the taciturn leader, (PMB)can make history with fighting corruption and insecurity, especially in the North East Zone where the evil ones are now resident. His reputation managers may not agree but truth matters.
What is worse, the military establishment that we used to be proud of appears to have lost its mojo. Even the presidency doesn’t believe in operational efficiency of the police force anymore. We see the spirit of errors everywhere, especially in the northeast where the Air Force has erroneously bombed an IDP camp. How reliable is an Army that would declare an open association a terrorist organisation and proscribe it in a democracy? That is what happens when the illiterate of the 21st century are allowed to take charge as major state actors. That is the view of a writer on leadership and management, Alvin Toffler, who always muses on “rethinking the future”. According to him, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. Which is why most modern leaders always strengthen their governments with strong men and women who can learn, relearn and unlearn even in office.
Let’s look at the machinery for fighting corruption. There are three agencies comprising the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The arrowhead here has always been the EFCC. But the President’s ruling party has been so disorganised that the EFCC acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, nominated since 2015, has not been confirmed by the Senate dominated by the president’s party. How else does one understand the politics in the presidency where the secret service CEO twice wrote to the Senate that Magu should not be confirmed? Now Magu is somehow stranded and even the influential Attorney-General is at war with him. How can the president make history through his war against corruption when Magu too is saying that he is losing the war? Even the ICPC chairmanship is somewhat in a hibernation mode: a board member has been acting as Chairman since July this year when the tenure of the Chairman expired. Acting Chairman of EFCC since 2015, Acting SGF since May; Acting ICPC Chairman since July…
How can the president make history with this kind of executive inertia and ad-hocism? Can there be history making in fighting official graft without reforming the NNPC, the focal point of corruption? That is why I feel we should begin to encourage the President to pay due attention to the Committee his party, the APC has set up to prepare a blueprint on the hurricane called restructuring. There is some sense in that critical national assignment. Despite the fact that some president’s men may not like Malam Nasir el-Rufai’s face and politics, the Kaduna State Governor and chairman of the APC Panel definitely has enough cognitive resources to handle the critical assignment. He is very bright. He can learn, relearn and unlearn to give the party a good document. Even the resourceful Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, a member of the Committee, is a pan-Nigerian, very educated political leader in whom there is no guile. He holds a doctorate degree from the University of Ibadan. He is a quiet and wise operator who can also help the President and the party to make history from restructuring. The only trouble with the APC Committee may be a vicious cabal around the president who may be obsessed at this defining moment about a second term without thinking about the implications of absence of major achievements in the first term.
But the president should note that if he continues to adopt I-don’t- care attitude to clamour for restructuring of the federation as most hawks around may advise, the 2019 elections will be too ticklish for him. Besides, PMB may wake up when the cock crows at the dawn of May 30, 2019 to find that Nigeria is no more on the world map.
And so, the President should just renew his mind and begin to talk to his allies in other parts of the country about what the people feel on this town talk called restructuring. Yes, you don’t have to link genuine restructuring to dismantling of the federation. It can be done to strengthen the federation itself. It is running away from it that can dismantle the beautiful federation, after all. Verily, verily I believe that the President can make history if he can restructure Nigeria to run as a federation where the present states can leverage on the endowments in their areas to create wealth. PMB should listen to Dolly Parton who once noted that, “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader”. Mr. President, be of good courage! Support restructuring after 51 years of unitary nonsense! You are on the verge of becoming a significant history maker. Do it. Yes, you can!
“Finally, Dr. Samuel Manuwa’s People Honour Him”.
At long last, the Ilaje people in Ondo state defied a biblical warning to the effect that prophets are rarely honoured at home as they honoured Dr. Samuel Manuwa on Saturday September 16, 2017 at the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) House in Akure, Ondo State Capital.
It will be recalled that in my article here titled, “Dr. Samuel Manuwa, UCH Rebirth and Ailing President” on Sunday May 14, this year, I had attempted to establish a possible nexus between neglect of Nigeria’s first specialist doctor and decay in healthcare delivery in the country. Here is an excerpt from the article that provoked the history made in Akure just last week.
“In the course of reading books of lamentation on the poor attitude of state officials and indeed Nigerian leaders who have always either taken ill in office or lost some loved ones, I stumbled on another interesting story of a pioneer medical icon whose efforts at establishing the University Teaching Hospital (UCH) Ibadan would have been celebrated if the pioneering advantage of the UCH too had been sustained by successive administrations. I mean here that I have detected a correlation between the neglect of Dr. Samuel Ayodeji Manuwa, one of the brains behind the successful takeoff of UCH in 1956 and the neglect of the health sector in Nigeria since 1966 when the wasters called “military governments” imposed a unitary system on this hapless country. I have read a great deal of the exploits of the late Sir Manuwa, an Ilajeman from Itebu Manuwa in the old Okitipupa Province in Ondo state now in the riverine area of Ogun state. That is why it is curious why the great man’s name was not listed among top 100 men that were honoured when Nigeria did its centenary celebration in 2014.
“No one from Ondo state where he has his roots to Ogun state where his children and grand children now hail from fought to get him listed. The organisers of the centenary celebration did not dig deep to honour the great man who was markedly instrumental in the efforts to establish the UCH, Ibadan, once listed among the best five teaching hospitals in the old Commonwealth. They always forget him (Manuwa) as they always forget the importance of the simple saying that the health of the people is the wealth of the people. They always forget the role of Dr. Manuwa in the establishment of health-care delivery system by the colonial administration….”
Yes, on that historic Saturday in Akure, Ilaje Medical Doctors Association responded to my call when they inaugurated the “First Sir Samuel Manuwa Memorial Lecture” delivered by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole represented by a former CMD, UCH, Ibadan, Professor Abiodun Ilesanmi. The Chairman of the ceremony was Professor Emeritus, Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Ondo State University of Medical Sciences, Professor Odunayo M. Oluwatosin.
The cynosure of all eyes on the occasion was a daughter of the late Sir Manuwa, Professor (Mrs) Aderonke Manuwa-Olumide. She is a Professor Emeritus, wait for this, in that same University College Hospital, Ibadan. One of the remarkable papers, “Sir Samuel Manuwa: A Medical Genius Ahead of His Time” was delivered by a Professor who knew Manuwa, Professor N.E Udonwa, of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital. Dr. Elihu Medunoye who was Chairman of the Organising Committee is also Chairman of the Ilaje Medical Doctors Association that organised the first memorial lecture. To God alone be the glory for what “Inside Stuff”has touched off through “The Guardian on Sunday”. Details later.