Ambode and new war against Ndigbo by Ralph Egbu

Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode
Lagos governor Akinwunmi Ambode

I am not only a believer in national cohesion, I am as well a fanatic for proper development of our nation.

From what I have seen of Black nations and read of the transformation history of developed nations, fiery and abusive exchanges of any kind constitute obvious hindrances to unity and development, which is why I have always been tempered in my choice of headlines and language. It has always been my resolve that societies that want to move from backwardness and confusion into progress and standard development, should be in a position to always tell their stories and do so more often from the positive aspects. Anybody who reads this column would agree that I have done much to operate within this philosophy even when some issues have been so touchy and painful requiring that I throw vitriolic banter. I acted with restrain because a great Nigeria we must build regardless of the small minded nature of some of us, who unfortunately are very vociferous and could be found in very strategic national offices.

The matter of today is absurd, pathetic, misguided and a direct assault on the conscience of all Nigerians who wish this nation well and desire to see the time come when we would have traversed minor issues of inhumanity to man and climbed the higher ladder of science and technology, of serious development of our physical environment and its transformation in such a manner that the environment is so alluring for habitation, and the economic activities such that the world would see our nation not only as a business destination but one that can be adoptable.

It is so annoying when one realizes that nations of our independent age are working to create satellite states in outer planet, winning the war on economic and medical tourism, our nation with resource to surpass them, is still groping around mundane subjects like indigene-ship, citizenship, what rights should they have, who lives where, what should be his rights, the limits of such rights, physical development and whether citizens have a right when issues of development and development processes come in conflict with his direct well-being. It is provocative to know that most of our leaders believe that compassion and empathy are not components of sound governance, they have this world view that a rational, compassionate leader, who spends a little time to worry about possible hurt to citizens, their survival especially in hard economic times and loss of dignity is a weakling. This partly explains why most political heads and corporate chief executives choose to act with impunity.

Rereading some of my old notes recently, I saw where Rev. Myles Monroe taught that leaders don’t have to manipulate or use fear to win support; he said even though some support line could be built, it would not last but would rather crumble, creating far higher degree of instability and distortion in the development system than would have been the case if leaders were loving and compassionate and use wisdom to post verifiable achievements. Okey Ndibe, a columnist with The Sun echoed this point last Tuesday in his column, when he urged Nigerian leaders to always try to win the citizens’ support through the force and quality of statecraft. I totally concur and that is why I have been worried by some developments in our national polity in recent times and I must confess that some of them constitute the reasons for today’s discourse.

The anchor for today’s outing would have been on the Lagos State Government’s demolition of the electronic market in Oshodi, a trading post whose population was predominantly Igbo; I was reflecting on that when on Tuesday the anti-corruption fight saw Barrister Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) appearing in court in handcuff; Metuh, an Igbo, making history as the first person, under this anti-graft fight to be so treated and dehumanized. At the university I was in contact with Marxists and I was in love with the aspect they call ‘dialectical analyses’ of the objective material conditions of the society and one thing I got from that is that when a lesser power is dealing with the more superior power and in fact taking prescriptions from the latter the basic foundation to start from is that of skepticism and of being critical, in this case you ask yourself questions and until you are very convinced the options would serve your greater interest, you don’t venture. So when the developed world especially the Western countries come up with this one solution for the whole problem for the world as a unit, I just listen and allow my mind to wander, and before you know it, African governments as if hypnotized, embrace it hook, line and sinker and most often to the ruin of their citizens and nations. We adopted democracy and in many African nations after many years, elections can hardly be credible, free and fair; we talk of liberty yet dignity is for a few, our police, army and even administrative officials behave as if they are conquerors and lords and this is within a democratic set up. Today only those with money can have a voice yet freedom of expression is a cardinal principle of democracy.

Space would not allow me talk about what they taught us about human rights and now globalization. So I have reservations with this corruption issue especially the process for the fight. For sure we can criminalize and demonize the leadership class and raise doubts about our ability to solve simple problems, but I know after this with poor economy with few survival spaces that is its feature, removal and denial of social entitlements, poor leadership recruitment process and absence of national ethics, corruption would rather grow than diminish. Investigating Metuh and others is good but dehumanizing them is not acceptable to me. It is offensive when the arrowhead of an alleged crime is treated very well and an appendage is humiliated. (Source: The Sun)

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