My fears about the future

The thing that sustains life mainly is hope. And you ask yourself, where is the hope for Imo state of the future? I can’t yet see realistically the good material that will succeed Rochas Okorocha as governor. A vacuum cannot be there when he leaves. And not just anybody can be there. It must be someone who can do the job much better than what we have at the moment. That’s a problem. Who is capable of righting the wrongs? Maybe not wrongs, but certainly the massive dislocations and dismal state of affairs in Imo state. For it is impossible to understand what is going on in the widening of all roads, where we are headed with it, and what the future holds in stock when that has completely ruined the economy.
These things must be promptly fixed as soon as the next governor goes in. It is easier to destroy than to build. The Imo case will prove that. Where is the money to do all that? Who will tone down the wounded feelings of all those who are crying for being displaced from both their abode and place of work, which is a double jeopardy for them? A lot of people have been hurt during this regime’s tenure. Who will rehabilitate them; someone with a compassionate heart. The state may be infinitely unlucky to get another Rochas type who goes in there to continue with the tempest. How do we avoid that?
Let’s look at what the new era must bring. It must not be a government that sees governance as only building and construction. Roads and houses must not be the only thing government does, leaving all other things. Everything must not be done by contract and contractors. Direct labor must be used in most projects to prove the state’s capabilities. The advantage is that local contents are utilized. By so doing more people gain experience. Local expertise is enhanced. Technical self-reliance grows, which is partly what development is about. This creates jobs. It boosts the economy. It creates wealth. It is the antidote for poverty.
There are things that give me the greatest concern. One of them is what to do when a governor becomes eze onye a gwala m, as Louis Onwunali (HOHA) terms the present man there. I call such people o megbu oha or nna m oha. This society cannot continue to be helpless about any governor who solidifies in office to become such despicable things. I recommend that a way must be found to remove him or her promptly. The person must get the hell out of the place, even if not by impeachment or any constitutional means.
I love South Africa for the way they did theirs. President Jacob Zuma was brought down by a mere no confidence vote at the party level, and a proper replacement was found for him immediately without a presidential election in which the people’s wish can be still be thwarted. They did not have to wait to end his tenure. They did not have to wait for the next election. The populace was fed up with him. The courts prevaricated in indicting him of corruption and several other offences. It dragged on for years. But the people were impatient with this. They pressured him to resign. He refused. They kicked him out and put in their choice. He went home and the people took back their office and moved on, proving indeed that power belongs to them. The president elected by them cannot override them. They dealt with him summarily. The people had their say and their way. The challenge for our democracy is to, in the same manner call the bluff of their leaders by making the removal of stupid office holders very easy. This is the only cure for a tyrant and anyone who thinks we have become his slaves because he governs us. We must make a so-called governor realize that he serves us rather than governs us. If you call him your governor he tends to be swollen headed because he gets the wrong impression of the role for which he was voted. A governor in the US is a servant. He is not lord and master where he is governor. He serves with loyalty and humility. The day he acts governor is the day they will show him the way out with ignominy. This is what we need here. It is not up to the governor to readjust and behave well. It is the people who must revolt against the wrong predisposition of people in high office to do as they like and stomach no intrusion from us, the people.
The next issue of great concern and irritation to me is the irrelevant, pointless and noisy role of the mass media in this country. I don’t see why a country will use so much money to have so many radio and TV stations, only for them to be pure noise-makers, playing music (and the worst type of ganja music we don’t understand what they are saying) day in day out, all the year round.  Have you considered the economic waste? Yet there are so many pesky issues that need to be addressed in the media. The impression is created in our media that all is well. There is no problem or cause for alarm.
Yet the country is on the precipice. The country’s politics is in tatters. The administration is in disarray and directionless. Corruption as they call it has not been defined. Neither has what is called development. Lots of people are perishing. Do we want to be ourselves? Do we want to be like others, who, which country? If the leaders don’t know what to do, the mass media are there to direct them. That’s their unequivocal role. With the so many universities around intellectual resources abound who can go into the media if invited and fearlessly point the way forward and re-order things. Rather than do age-old, boring request programs that deal with things we have long outgrown, why not stretch the imagination a bit in areas that can lift this society from its morass? I mean sending greetings on air to mamas, papas, aunties and uncles, etc is pretty outdated. For how long shall we persist in this anachronism in radio/TV programming? Are the days of Ukonu’s Club not supposed to over by now? In this, the electronic media are the worst offenders. They all have a mentality that once pictures and sound go out through them, they are doing great. They don’t think of the frivolities in the things they currently do and the need for change. They don’t consider the relevance of their output to the growth of the society. Their only and major interest is making the governor happy, as well as other high office holders. They think they achieve that by white-washing them, exaggerating their performances; telling lies about them, promoting their ego and selfish interests, what we can call praise-singing and hero-worshiping, if any of them is at all a hero. I have been told by my colleagues not to broach this matter because they claim they are protecting their jobs. Yes. But I know the lazy man will always have an apology. If it is the use of words, sound and vision, and it is a professional there’s always a way out. You can play infinitely with those tools. You can outwit the fool who thinks he will dictate to the journalist and/or the broadcaster. That’s why it is a professional job. Nothing distracts you from the objective of serving the people, not the governor. It is a different terrain all right. But see what the media in America and other developed countries do with their despotic leaders. If Trump for instance had his way American media would have been emasculated or rendered powerless long ago, but they won’t let him. The harder he comes the harder they go at him. He will never win. They will dispatch him the day he touches any journalist or broadcaster.
What does it call for here? It calls for uncommon courage, risk-taking, professional solidarity to use the overwhelming power of the pen to remain true to our professional obligation to uphold the truth, defend the general good, aiming at the democratic society, in which the happiness of the majority is superior and outweighs the interest of the governor. I remain on the governor for now and leave the president for another day. His case is much weightier, more delicate, touchy and sensitive. He holds the remote control of the electronic media in Nigeria. But he doesn’t let the hand of the clock move. If it moves it will set off the time bomb that will blow up the place and unseat him. So he holds the remote tight. A free media is the undoing of despots. They know it.
The other useless routine is the election that is around the corner. The hidden secret about it is how the candidates will predictably corruptly emerge which I want to reveal. This stage is called in the US style, the Primaries.
Only those who have money have signified interest to contest as usual. Don’t waste your time if you don’t have a sufficient load of money in all major world currencies because you will be required to bring your bribe in any currency they want and you must comply to have a chance. No question about it. It is the party chairman you pay. All the aspiring contestants go and give what they have. Naturally, the ones who bring the most money win the chairman and consequently the party’s support. The money is un-refundable. The first 2, 3, 4, 5 who pay the highest are lined up to stand the election for the ticket of the party. The next people to be paid are the delegates. But first the ward chairman must be given a reasonable amount to ensure that only the people who must vote the favored candidate (who paid the most) are elected as delegates by hook or crook. The person to get the party ticket is pre-determined. But the end result depends on how much money that finally gets to each of the voting delegates. If the party chairman is fair he will help with what each of the delegates gets from what he received. But most are not. They keep the money to themselves and let the aspirants sort out the delegates themselves individually. They get unthinkably rotten rich after every contest for the party ticket. They never miss the chance. This process of money-sharing has not been streamlined and that is the complication that makes all primaries never transparent and conclusive. The laws are blind to this, not shy about it. This is the money-spinning aspect of elections and the most difficult stage for all politicians. This is the gambling stage of every election.
Any attempt to cleanse this system will only overthrow the power structure and remove those who have always monopolized power in Nigeria. They will never allow it. That’s where we’re stuck. When the people spend all this money to get in, whatever you say, they will not look back in taking state money in bulk to replace what they lost and to save for another election. Knowing that the money it requires is not in this world, they virtually empty the state coffers into their pocket.

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