The Sun News

Nigerian public officers: Quote and unquote?

Language, like mathematics, is a vehicle, perhaps a carriageway. Its main duty is to convey and carry freight. And that freight entails ideas and ideals but, like all delivery systems, whether it is your computer hardware, calculus, verse, etc., content and delivery tools are invariably tied together. From either content or delivery architecture, you can imaginatively trace out the other.
Perhaps, the fact of this is best illustrated by the Toyota corporation tagline: Good Thinking, Good Products. That is, your Toyota car is actually a delivery system for some great ideas. This may sound mysterious to non-engineering types. However, motor cars are nothing other than technology. And technology is any bundle of the bits and pieces of primary ideas in physics, mathematics, chemistry, etc., bonded or stabilised together. A motor car is an idea, or set of ideas, given form. So a Toyota car, in the end, merely delivers to you superior sets of ideas; no more no less.
Form and content are organically tied together, especially if one is to achieve efficiency. It thus follows that great communication is necessarily tied up with great ideas and ideals to match. This is part of the logic that makes Soyinka, Achebe, etc., so deep and enduring. Their words are so touchingly beautiful that their contents are in lockstep, resourceful and germinal.
One may thus ask how quotable are our public officers, how sublime are their thoughts? And in asking we are aware of the relationship between great thoughts and matching delivery systems a la Toyota. And the answer? Their performances have been generally uninspiring. But there are a few outstanding exceptions. And it is our duty to acknowledge them, if only to up the game of leadership in Nigeria.
Very easily, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, pops up. Just recently, for instance, the Premium Times declared its “10 top quotes of the week,” and the most profound of the quotes almost certainly is: “A good athlete does not begin to run with money in his pocket but with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Udom Emmanuel.
Its greatness comes from the fundamental law of great delivery systems. For those who are conversant with delivery systems, the best of them are the most fungible, the most versatile ones. That is, those that may [1] be easily understood and used by multitudes, and [2] may serve several purposes, including perhaps those not originally intended. That explains how Things Fall Apart, for instance, is one of the world’s greatest novels ever. It may be read as a fable, an ethnographic tale, literature for freshmen, research monograph for PhD students, and a business leadership book. Business leadership book? Yes. Business Insider, a leading American newsmagazine, canvasses so. And Americans are lapping up Things Fall Apart to fire up Wall Street.
It is this Achebe-like felicity that imbues Emmanuel’s quote with the facility of being one of the greatest public policy quips in living memory. Yes, he was addressing sportsmen, but if the insight is broadly taken or slightly tweaked, what he says applies with precision to any area of competitive endeavour. It can be applied to the economy, entrepreneurship, industry and even church planting.
Yet, the matter is not even finished. A quote reveals something of the working of the speaker’s mind. It hints that the governor’s orientations are towards the pursuit of that which is essence, fundamental, not incidental. And the story of Martha and Mary as told by the Bible best captures it: “Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen [to do] that good part…”
The moral in this is that, for high achievement, one should concentrate on the enduring fundamentals and, necessarily, the incidentals will work out themselves for you.
It is the failure to understand this, the difference between the necessary and the merely contingent, that has stopped Nigeria from developing. We are all like Martha in the Bible, busy doing the merely contingent and thus never really achieving much.
Emmanuel’s quote may be summarized thus: the game, whether in sports or economy, politics or development, may only be won if we play in the necessary and fundamental moves. That is, if we played the Mary-style game, we simply will have the “kingdom of God added to us.” The depth of his thought is almost scriptural.
And the fact of this scripture happens universally, in physics, religion and sports. For instance, there is what is called TOE, the Theory of Everything, in physics. Without going into details, TOE may be characterised as a similar but mathematicised version of mapping and capturing the fundamentals whatever the contingent frame of references. [We are laymen. We are quoting from Professor Obuekunie’s notes].
However, for our purpose, we may call what Emmanuel is propounding the Theory of Necessary Things, (TONT). Whether it is physics’ TOE or Emmanuel’s TONT, the basic thesis is the same. It is about how to corner the greatest and most sustainable achievements, in sports, business, life,  as an individual, group or nation, while deploying the least energy.
Perhaps Emmanuel’s is a throwback to the grand old days of Eyo Ita, Azikiwe, Awolowo, etc. Those were the days when a nation and its peoples were roused by delivery systems, words that were as sublime as those of Obama or Nkrumah. Those words showed intense thinking and thus broadband delivery capacities. Yes, the right frames of words are not development, but are pointers to where a state or nation is being driven by its leaders.
To summaride, if we can have thinkers in power, like Emmanuel, then the question of Nigerian development would have been virtually mechanised. That is, our development would have become a matter of mere detail and predictable rigour.


Saraki and sinking of the Titanic (1)

One giggles reading “The Mighty Powers of Saraki the Great,” By Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim. The analysis was so linear and personality-infested that it missed the real, even if unstated, issues at work.
If the question “is the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, a strongman?” is asked, the answer is no. If, however, the poser becomes “is Saraki a man of immense sudden powers?” the answer is yes. So the critical wager becomes, how did Saraki accumulate such humongous powers? The answer is in the forces at work, not the men at play. In politics, what works are forces, the men merely play, no more, no less.
The details are as follows: President Muhammadu Buhari was projected almost like the Titanic was construed and set to sea, on a lie, a plausible lie. The men who made the Titanic feted it as the ship that would vanquish all elemental, even fundamental, forces. In a word, they said the Titanic was unsinkable.
Buhari and APC were self-elected into similar delusions. Their others-excluding mandate apparently was to run a peculiar Nigeria. Theirs was to be a government that eliminated and vanquished the elemental, the fundamental forces of justice, of inclusiveness and fair representation. And this in a diverse, multi-ethnic federation. In a word, theirs was to institute Fulani-dominance, dictatorship and virulent partisanships, especially over Nigeria’s security system. And Boko Haram-style Fulani herdsmen were allegedly retained as expeditionary forces.
To put it mildly, even the devil, famous for partisanship, was outraged, wondering how any man would have beaten him at his own game. Suddenly, Saraki, a cosmopolitan Nigerian, moderate Muslim, was to be impaled at fabricated corruption scaffolds. His sins? He opposed the naked destruction and rape of our diversity and the dangers of Fulani overlordship.
So Saraki’s emergent powers are gifts from a coalition of visionary Nigerians. Saraki was sacrificial receptor, not a schemer for powers. It is like when Hitler overran his neighbours, Britain, and later America, joined to declare war on Germany. The idea was to secure a free, democratic Europe and world. Hitler, like the Titanic and today’s APC, wanted to vanquish all fundamental forces.
It is then not that Saraki has become more powerful. It is rather that freedom and diversity-loving Nigerians from the North, South-West and South-East have rallied around him to fight emergent sub-racialist dictatorships. And we warn, the matter has actually been internationalised. Both the British and the Americans, who have long memories of how dictators fool even the very elect, have also rallied round and pledged public support, if not loyalty, to Saraki. Nigerians are better off destroying this country than countenancing a dictatorship of any kind. And we are willing to be quoted on that.
So Saraki’s power is not a demarche. No, he is merely an arrowhead of the powers of the Allied Forces of Nigeria, against an emergent Axis Power dictatorship of the Fulani and its sub-racial orders.
If you want to cut Saraki down to appropriate size tomorrow, just democratise and pluralise national powers out of the insular fists of the Fulani-Northerner-Muslim-tribal-style Afrikaner Broederbond. Open up Nigeria, all its security systems, et al, to all Nigerians. Otherwise, our safety as a democracy, as a federation, is in an unflinching support for Saraki. What would we do otherwise? A Fulani Broederbond destroying Nigeria, black man’s putative greatest hope?

•Ego-Alowes is the author of the classic, “Corruption in Africa: Resolution Through New Diagnosis.”

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