I used to think time flies. Now, I know better. Time melts. Time appears, disappears and reappears -at will.
Time is above the law. Time respects nobody and nothing; not even itself. Time is lawless. Time is the king of impunity.
Time exhausts itself like lightening when you enjoy and crawls like snail when you endure. Time has a wicked sense of monitoring. Time is the greatest checker and balancer that man has ignored for too long, to own detriment. Time is the official thief of life that no one can do anything about.
Imagine, doesn’t 2015 look like only yesterday when President Muhammadu Buhari, his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and some governors and their deputies (notably Messrs Udom Emmanuel, CON and Moses Ekpo, MFR of my home state of Akwa Ibom) took office? Why are they leaving so soon? How can eight years look so much like eight months? Do the new kids on the block catch my drift at all?
This is the thing. Nationally and subnationally, those taking over today and next week and in a fortnight should know that time no longer runs or flies. Now, time melts. Now is therefore not the time to hit the ground running.
No, please, my dear. Now is the time to hit the sky flying. As Chinua Achebe would have put it, since time has learnt to fly without perching, man must learn to work without resting. Konny man dai, konny man beriyam.
Congratulations, brand new President and his deputy and brand new and re-elected governors et al. It is a good thing you were elected over two months ago. You had a long enough honeymoon, which now that you have been sworn in is over and over for good. Get down to work, would you?
Keep your eyes on 2027 or -in the case of the man and woman taking over my own state, Pastor Umo Eno and Dr Akon Eyakenyi- 2031. Ignore all the distractions, some of them quite legal and difficult to ignore. Focus on work and result because the expectation is humongous. To get the buy-in of the masses, start by pursuing the many low-hanging fruits that litter our landscape.
Create and spread wealth, a la interministerial direct-labour jobs to politicians, soft loans to civil servants, farmers, fishermen, traders and professional groups; not forgetting busary and scholarship grants to students. Water the ground consciously, totally and effectively. In one month, you can become the toast of the land. From month two, you turn to infrastructure and such other projects and intermittently return to human empowerment.
That strategy might seem simplistic, but it is the draw soup required if the balls of governance must travel the throat of the people easily and effortlessly. Whatever it takes, dear president and vice president, dear governor and deputy governor and new political office holder, get the people on your side. Open your tenure with policies that show you mean well and at every juncture, honestly and humbly communicate your roadmap and keep feedback lines open. Once the masses know you are an honest and humble and attentive leader, they follow you blindly.
You are already the main person. You have nothing to prove to become. So, be calming down, live normal, act normal, communicate normal, listen normal, and above all, reign normal. Never forget though, that while eight years is like eight months, four years is like four weeks: 2027 is here in no time.
Settle down quickly. Tell hedonistic drum beaters and praise singers that there shall be another window in the near future to dance and celebrate. That, there’s urgent work to be done and you need deafening silence to concentrate. Remember that at the end, no one shall clap you for how much celebration you got but for how much verifiable value you added.
Start now, Sir, right now. Start now, Ma, right away. Get a catalogue of your electioneering promises on a spreadsheet. Set intelligible, functional timelines or deadlines. Carry the people along.
Nigerian political office holders lose too much or spend too much because they are hardly chronological in their workings. It is failure to carry the people along that causes destruction of public utilities as well as what I call media saturation. The government belongs to the people so briefing them weekly or monthly or quarterly via town hall meetings or the media is in order. This is the surest and cheapest way to heal the chasm that always cost an arm and a leg during re-election or succession.
Semi-finally, we should start now to nip that seasonal chronic headache in the bud. We should deliberately draft in opposition members as part of government and insist they remain in their party throughout their tenure. Our land needs to heal from the divisive knocks our winner-takes-all unbranded politics has dealt it all these years. Nationally and subnationally, we are one people and we not only have enough of everything we need we can also standing together achieve even beyond our wildest imagination.
Finally, no political office holder should take their eyes off the clock or calendar. Work 25 hours a day, eight days a week, 32 days as month and 13 months every year. This is the survival and re-election formula you should never toy with. I hope you remember to thank me later.
God bless Nigeria!
So rich yet so poor (2)
… cont’d from last Monday
Two, a rich person must neither be greedy nor selfish. They must be generous, patient, tolerant, understanding and inclusivity-conscious. You’re so rich yet so poor if you are a ‘me, myself and I only’ bigot. That’s right: no rich person is stupid or unreasonable, or faction-centric, or prejudiced or antagonistic.
Those adjectives only jell with the loser, or someone poor. So, if you think you are so rich but those adjectives sit well on you then -sorry- you are so poor. You are like the champion who won no championship. The champion who championed no worthy cause; the champion who produced no other champions.
Selfish champions are poor fellows. They live poor. They reign poor. They sacrifice everything and everybody to remain champions, to no avail.
It is easy to spot them because first, they are all over the place. Second, they are desperate to be the only cocks to crow. Third, they always remove both the building blocks and the ladder once they reached the top. Thankfully though, they always die poor and are buried poor.
No poverty can be worse than such ephemeral, useless wealth. Wealth that does not replicate, wealth that does not add value to others. Wealth that does not have any positive impact on society. Nobody should be that rich yet that poor. Three, a rich person must never be narrow-minded. Every truly rich person is a visionary the same way real wealth transcends generations.
If you spend all the time worrying about today or yesterday or what people are doing or saying, you may never be rich.
Be rich and let it show!
Four, you are so rich yet so poor if you fight every battle. Grow above distractions. Allow poor people occupy themselves discussing or maligning you. That’s one of the beauties of being rich; jobless people always gather to discuss you.
Five, you are so rich yet so poor if you are a people pleaser. Again, avoid distractions no matter the temptations. Know the road that leads to the promised land and stick thereto; no matter what. Nobody is known to have become rich by answering all barking dogs.
If you add hereto and subtract therefrom, you would deduce other ad hoc dos and don’ts. It is far better to be rich poor than poor rich. The powerful, the majority and the rich should be careful not to swim in small ponds which is reserved for the poor. It is necessary to prove beyond every reasonable doubt that you are not only so rich, you are so so.