#KakandaTemple – Re: A Lesson from the ‘Little Jesus’ of Owerri

Published:27 Jan, 2013

Expectedly, a rejoinder to my last week’s column, “A lesson from the ‘Little Jesus’ of Owerri”, came in just in time, and also from the right quarter, to counterpoint my praise of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration. However, it may be unfair to echo any word from mine as the readers may still return to the piece and take apart our line of argument. Our guest columnist, Suraj Oyewale, who is the economist mentioned in my take on Governor Rochas’ populist policies, is not only a vigilant follower of Nigerian politics, but a regular commentator in the train of Nigeria’s “awakened” youths, youths possessed by a passion for change. Suraj is currently a MBA student at Edinburgh School of Business. I yield this space to him today – Kakanda   

 

Of Fashola’s ‘Elitism’, Okorocha’s ‘Welfarism’ and Kakanda’s Misjudgment

By Suraj Oyewale

 

My good friend, Gimba Kakanda, is a very brilliant fellow. For some time now, I have touted him as the next Abubakar Gimba, not only because he is a look-alike of this veteran writer, but equally because of his gift with words. Witty, yet hard-hitting, you cannot but marvel at this budding writer’s literary prowess. With sharp pen and an even sharper mind, Kakanda is not one to be equivocal about his convictions through his favourite medium – writing.  Such is the stuff of my friend, who was recently brought aboard the Blueprint Newspapers as one of its columnists.

 

Kakanda was again at his satirical best when he wrote his piece titled “A lesson from the ‘little Jesus’ of Owerri”, published in his Blueprint column of Friday, January 18, 2012, only that this time around, as was the case a couple of times on his Facebook wall, he missed the point.  Eulogizing Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha and subtly thumbing down his counterpart in Lagos, Kakanda wrote what I will summarize thus: Okorocha’s policies are welfarist and that is exactly what is needed to take the state out of the abyss past administrations had plunged it into. Governor Fashola, he wrote in contrast, is an elitist whose policies only benefit the upper class, further widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I have decided to pick just these two central postulations, ignoring the third – a jibe at economists – where my friend opted for the convenient path of puncturing controversial British clergyman-cum-political economist, Thomas Malthus’ theory on population.

 

The thing is, many Nigerians fall for cheap publicity stunts and our political class has effectively devised strategies around this and it’s working wonder for them. Let’s flip with Kakanda in commonsense: consider two political office holders, A and B. Mr. A goes to every household to distribute free bread, Mr. B constructs roads. In Nigeria’s political space, Mr A is more likely to earn more applause. That is the tragedy of our political understanding.

 

I am a longtime admirer of Okorocha. He has been a philanthropist for many years. I have known about his almost free schools, situated in different zones of Nigeria, for almost a decade now. He came to politics with a lot of goodwill. Fine. With such image, Owelle is the least person that needs populist stunts, wrongly taken to be welfarism. This is why I am disappointed in his approach to governance, which is more of needless showboating. Where do you situate wearing school uniforms a la primary school pupils and inviting press to cover that, in the context of good governance? Why must you announce that you would pay more than minimum wage to your workers when you knew your revenue can’t finance that, only to renege on this? Joining the regular queues in airports? Fine. But I need Kakanda to tell us whether this is a routine or just some one-off action to score a cheap point. How many times a month does Mr. Okorocha travel? How many times does he travel by this popular ‘queue’ route? While I don’t have any problem with a governor identifying with the common citizens, when such is done only to score points, the merit is lost. To me, the only faultless programme from the Imo governor to date is his free education policy, but probably unknown to Kakanda is the fact that public education is highly subsidised, if not free, in many other states as well. In Lagos state, registration of students for NECO examinations is free. I don’t know how much is paid as tuition fees in primary and secondary schools in public schools in Lagos state, but I am not aware of the fact that it is prohibitive enough to be a deterrent to schooling. In many northern states, what students receive as annual bursary payments in tertiary institutions is far higher than the cost of their education per year. The point here is, Okorocha’s free education policy, noble quite alright, is not something new.

 

Now, are Fashola’s programmes elitist as my friend would want us believe? The oshodi traders that suffered untold hardships in the hands of social miscreants before the Fashola clean-up are not elite sir; majority of the residents of my Langbasa domain here – who benefit from Fashola’s road construction – are not members of the upper class sir. Well, the elite are no less Lagosian and they deserve a value for their tax too, hence Fashola giving them Eko Atlantic city is not a misplacement of priority. And okada was never banned in Lagos, it was only restricted.  The ‘lowly’ okada riders can continue to make a living from plying the permissible routes.

 

Okorocha has his high point no doubt, but when we rank joining queues in airports or wearing elementary school uniforms over massive long term development-enhancing capital projects like road constructions and expansions as we see everywhere in Lagos, then there is something fundamentally wrong in our assessment criteria. My final advice to my good friend is to shine his eyes, as we say in Fashola’s Lagos.

 

Oyewale can be reached at oyewalesuraj@yahoo.com.

 

 

NB: KakandaTemple column is simultaneously run with ‘Flips of Commonsense’ in Blueprint Newspapers every friday. Follow Gimba Kakanda on Twitter: @gimbakakanda.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Governor Ahmed to launch Kwara Infrastructure Devt Fund (IFK) on Monday.

Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed will on Monday, 26 September, perform the official launch of the State Infrastructure Development Fund (IFK). The alternate Chairman of the IFK Implementation Committee, Alhaji Abdulwahab Yusuf, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, said that Governor Ahmed will also sign an agreement with the independent for trustees of the scheme. According to him, the event will hold at the Government House, Ilorin and will be witnessed by stakeholders in the banking, business, education...

#UNGA: Zamfara will benefit from my UN General Assembly trip – Yari Abubakar

The governor of Zamfara state, Yari Abubakar, who embarked on an official trip to New York for the 71st session of the UN General Assembly has promised to put to great use, some of the deductions he made at the session which lasted for several days.   Also in attendance, was the President himself who spoke so much about poverty, terrorism, unemployment, security & climate change among others.   Mr Yari Abubakar reiterated in a statement made available to the media, the importance...

‘President’ Ambode: Lagos to link inner roads to Smart city project

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said plans are afoot to link inner roads in the State to the Lagos Smart City Project, just as he expressed readiness to commence deployment of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) Cameras in October across the State. Governor Ambode, who disclosed this in Coker Aguda area of the State at the commissioning of some of the 114 roads, newly constructed in the 20 Local Government Areas (LGs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs),...

Shade Of Life: Ebonyi People are myopic, they don’t behave like Igbos – IPOB

The Indigenous People of Bifara, IPOB, has lampooned the people of Ebonyi State for spurning the sit-at-home order it passed. The group had in a circular issued few days ago, asked Ndigbo nationwide to spend the day indoor in protest against the continuous detention of the leader of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. The directive, however, witnessed non-compliance as normal activities and vehicular movements were unperturbed across Ebonyi State. The Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Ugochukwu Nweke while reacting to the development, described the...

Buhari approves 56th independence anniversary programme

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the programme of events for the commemoration of Nigeria’s 56th independence anniversary. Bolaji Adebiyi, Director of Press in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja. Mr. Adebiyi said an interdenominational thanksgiving church service had been scheduled for September 25 at the National Worship Centre, Abuja at 4p.m. A public lecture and Jumma’at prayers are slated for September 30 at 11 a.m. and 1...

PDP may declare Dariye’s seat vacant – Dachom

Former Organising Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau state, Mr. Mike Dachom, has said that the party might declare the seat of a former governor of the state, Mr. Joshua Dariye, vacant following his defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress. Dariye was governor of Plateau State under PDP from 1999 to 2007. Dariye, before his defection, represents Plateau central senatorial zone in the Senate under the PDP. He first got to the Senate under the Labour Party in...

Nigeria loses N800bn to auto policy

The President, Shippers Association, Lagos State, Mr Jonathan Nicol, said the Federal Government had lost about N800 billion to the auto policy on imported vehicles. The 70 per cent tariff and levy on imported vehicles which took effect in 2015, had reduced vehicle imports by more than 50 per cent. Nicol on Friday said that other ports outside Nigeria in Benin, Togo and Ghana now accepted the vehicles and developing their economies with proceeds from the imports. According to him, with the...

MTN denies paying bribe to reduce NCC fine

South Africa’s MTN denied it paid a bribe to Nigerian officials to reduce its fine to 330 billion naira ($1.05bn) as part of settling a dispute over disconnecting unregistered SIM cards in the West African country.   MTN said in a statement on Friday there had been allegations that a top official in the Nigerian presidency took a payment towards reducing the fine.   The telecom group was initially fined $5.2bn last October for failing to deactivate more than five million unregistered SIM...

Your anti-corruption policy scaring investors – Sen. Bruce tells Buhari

Senator Ben Bruce (PDP Bayelsa East) on Thursday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adjust his approach to the anti-corruption crusade, saying the policy was scaring investors. Bruce, who disclosed this while contributing to the Senate’s debate on the economic recession in the country, said Nigeria should not expect foreign investments as even local investors had stopped investing. He said that people who had money to invest were no longer doing so because the anti-graft agencies were harassing any person with...

EPL: Mourinho feels heat as Wenger marks anniversary

Jose Mourinho has vowed to silence the critics when Manchester United face champions Leicester, while his old rival Arsene Wenger hopes to celebrate a memorable milestone with a rare success against Chelsea on Saturday. Mourinho finds himself under fire less than two months into his United reign after three successive defeats and an unconvincing League Cup win at third tier Northampton. United are already trailing six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and another setback at Old Trafford this weekend...

Reps begin investigation into Jibrin’s budget padding allegations.

The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges on Friday in Abuja, commenced public investigation into allegations of fraud made by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin against the House. This followed Wednesday’s resolution of the House which mandated the committee to investigate the allegations, bordering on breach of privileges of members. It would be recalled that the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, accused the leadership of the National Assembly of padding the 2016 budget. In his allegation, Jibrin alluded that the corruption...

Khama should ‘go hang’ for telling Mugabe to step down – Minister

Ian Khama’s call for President Robert Mugabe to step down hasn’t gone down too well with the Zimbabwe government: the Botswana president should just “go hang” Mugabe’s former spin-doctor says. Or he should concentrate on Botswana’s desert, Jonathan Moyo says witheringly in an article for a private weekly in Zimbabwe. Khama’s call on his ageing neighbour to step down after 36 years in power was greeted thankfully by many Zimbabweans on social media, where the current wave of protests against the...

Bayelsa first lady, Rachael Dickson gives birth to quadruplet

Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and family may have to continue in celebration as after many years of childlessness, his wife and First Lady of Bayelsa State, Dr. Rachael Dickson delivered of a quadruplet – a bouncing baby boy and three baby girls.   We gathered that the mother and children are doing very well.   Saint Mienpamo, Special Assistant on Research & Social Media to the Governor says the ”Governor’s joy knows no bound.”   The latest news has been tagged a double celebration as...

Electrician jailed 3 months for stealing N11,000 phone

A Jos Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday sentenced a 22-year-old electrician, Abdulgafar Musa to three months in prison for stealing a Nokia phone valued N11,000. Musa, of No. 66, Shehu Street, Jos, was charged with theft. The Magistrate, Mr Jovita Binjin, sentenced the convict after he pleaded guilty to the crime and begged for leniency. In his plea, the convict said “It was the devil’s hand work; jobs are not coming and I needed money to eat and also give help to...

Recession: Those demanding asset sale are economic predators – Sani

A Nigerian senator, Shehu Sani, has described proponents of sale of the country’s national asset as “economic predators and profiteers who want to take advantage of the situation in the country.” Mr. Sani, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, said in a statement on Friday that “Nigeria’s capitalist forces raped Nigeria to recession and now they want to kill and bury it.” Nigeria is currently going through one of the worst recessions in its history, due...

Stop expecting too much from Buhari, pray for him – APGA chieftain

A Chieftain of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Katsina State, Alhaji Umar Tata, on Friday urged Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari with prayers to lead Nigeria out of its present predicaments. Tata, the party’s governorship candidate in 2015, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Funtua, Katsina state. He cautioned Nigerians against over reliance on the President, saying that “he is human and capable of making mistakes.” According to him, what is...

NEMA returns 5,403 citizens to their homes from IDPs camps

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the return of 5403 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to the home after their stay in Camps. The returnees include 1517 in Mafa , 750 in konduga, 1200 in Ngamboru and about 1,936 are due to return to Dikwa This is coming at a period Governor of Borno State Alh kashim shettima and a team of NEMA North East zonal staff led by Zonal coordinator Alh Muhammed Kanar spent the night in Bama in...

Police Uncover Fraudsters’ Den In Ogun

The Ogun State Police Command has uncovered a “fraudsters’ den” at Pokuku Village in the Abeokuta North Local Government Area of the state. The den, which was nicknamed “Pokuku Shrine” was until Wednesday allegedly used by suspected fraudsters to carry out different forms of criminal activities such as fraud, according to the police. The state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Ilyasu, on Wednesday said the police raided the shrine after an intelligence report on criminal activities being perpetrated there. The shrine,...

Bayelsa State Gov Dickson’s Wife Gives Birth to Quadruplets

Wife of Bayelsa State governor and first lady of the state, Rachael Dickson, has put to bed quadruplets (four babies) today. The team of four babies includes four females and one boy. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, chief Press secretary to governor Seriake Dickson said in a statement released moments ago: "This is particularly good news for the family and Bayelsans because this bundle of joy is coming after many years of praying and waiting upon the Lord. "Governor Dickson thanks friends, family members and Bayelsans...

Patience Jonathan: EFCC places witnesses against under security watch

As the trial of former aides of ex-First Lady, Patience Jonathan, begins on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has placed its 13 witnesses in the case under security watch. The witnesses, including a banker and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) are expected to tell the court how four slush accounts were opened for the former First Lady. It was gathered that the accounts were opened by the ex-First Lady’s former Senior Special Assistant (Domestic/Household and Social Events to...

Gov. Dickson hails judiciary as APC, Sylva lose at Appeal Court

The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has commended the judiciary for its steadfastness in protecting the sanctity of the ballot and upholding itself as the bastion of the nation’s democracy. Dickson’s comment came on Thursday afternoon following the judgement of the Court of Appeal, which upheld the earlier judgement of the Bayelsa State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, in his favour. Both the Tribunal and the Court of Appeal upheld the election of Dickson, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party...