REFLECTIONS ON GOVERNANCE
A TALE OF THE TWO STATE GOVERNOR THAT INVALIDATES A YORUBA PROVERB & OBAFEMI AWOLOWO’S SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS
God has been tremendously kind to me in terms of locating me for some appointments on five administrations in Osun State. I have always disclosed that I might not have been the most qualified at those periods when the appointments came almost effortlessly. That is the way my God and Father works so that no one will share His glory. And God has always notified me earlier because He does nothing without revealing these to His prophets. (Amos 3:7) It is only the precise date of manifestation and how it would come that the Almighty God never disclosed. Glory be to His Holy Name.
The introduction is on a lighter note but very factual. I owe all to HIM alone. I have some very interesting lifetime experiences acquired during my service years for my memoirs. I have the burden to share this with our loyal readers. And it is about an occurrence that has proved a Yoruba adage wrong. Yoruba would say: ‘’No two people go to court and come back as friends’’ I disagree and I am of the opinion that the adage be expunged from the dictionary, if it is accommodated.
A TALE OF THE TWO STATE GOVERNORS THAT INVALIDATES A YORUBA PROVERB
This discourse is about the case of two State governors who were locked in a contest for the governorship seat of a State. The struggle took about four (4) years before it was finally resolved by the arbiters. The older governor usually called Egbon by the younger governor never spoke for years. The younger governor took his Egbon, the older governor to a tribunal in order to nail and blacklist him politically. It never worked. Three years later, the older governor and the younger governor found themselves in the same political party and worked together to the admiration and consternation of their political followers. (Depending on which side you were).
Later, they ate together and also strategized together. And that was after taking themselves to the Election Petition Tribunal and the State organized tribunal to nail the older governor. People know the older governor as a very magnanimous personality. Does that adage still hold? Our opinion is that it is no longer valid since that incident occurred. Or is it a case of there is no permanent interests and enemies in partisan politics? Please respond to this discourse on our sites and email to promote discourse. Please remember our plea for readers not to respond with hate and libelous reactions. In a related incident, I also found that the older governor and his deputy while in office agreed to some terms. One of these was that anybody who wanted to gossip about the governor or his deputy should be prepared to say so in the presence of both of them. That was, the State governor and his deputy minimized friction to the barest minimum. I doubt if anybody show up in 8 years during which by human nature, it was impossible for them not to have offended themselves.
PART TWO – MEMORABLE QUOTES
‘’I think that the only way by which we could achieve understanding among ourselves, when we meet on an occasion like this, is to try to tell each other the hard facts, the truth about matters, instead of speaking about them behind. ‘’It is most important that we become frank in Africa’’ –Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; in his speech at the inauguration of the Organization of African Unity – May 25, 1963.
“You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.” – Nelson Mandela
If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future. Winston Churchill
It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences. (Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States)
‘’No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. ‘’So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better’’ — Jim Young King:
.”Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Matthew 18:21-22
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1–4
PRAY FOR PEOPLE IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY
The last passage teaches us about the need for us to pray for people in positions of authority. And these include people in all spheres of human activities whose decisions affect the populace directly or indirectly. That great and blessed missionary, Apostle Paul wrote these words to Timothy because prayer and actively living out the love of Jesus are two things the Holy Spirit uses to draw people to an understanding of the truth. Have you prayed for political leaders today? Have you prayed for spiritual leaders who pray ceaselessly and stand in the gap for our dear country even if only for five minutes? Let me recount an experience. In 1995, I was Chief Press Secretary to the Military Administrator of Osun State. One man usually favoured for one political reason walked into my office (nobody was requested to complete visitors’ form to see me. He came in and asked me if his request for a huge supply had been approved. I told him I never knew because I never attended Tenders Board meetings where such matters were considered. The man who was not highly literate held his head in awe! I requested to know why.
The man, an Alhaji said he included my name in the list of names given to his spiritualists as among government officials that would consider his matter for approval. I couldn’t help laughing for several minutes. I told him he just wasted his money. He hissed and went out. Now, consider how many of such prayers (deadly and positive) would be sent on a daily basis to Aso Rock Villa and Government Houses all over the country to bind government officials? This is why me must pray ceaselessly according to the charge of God. There is nobody who could bind the Holy Spirit. If you are in government and refuse to pray in our clime, you are bound to crash very early and badly too. This is the end-time with horrible agents of satan going on the prowl to feast of preys. Governance is one of the hardest of tasks.
I have shared a few times with a colleague and friend, Folu Olamiti my observation that I have never heard that children of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his grandchildren abused old people, or even younger elements for speaking ill-advisedly against the great Nigerian. If anything, Yorubaland was where he had the strongest opposition to his ambition of governing Nigeria, specifically between 19831 and 1983 when Concord Newspapers appeared on the scene with a bang. Olamiti was like a member of Baba Awolowo’s household and I branded him the permanent reporter on Awolowo’s campaign trail..We recalled how Obafemi Awolowo refused to violate traffic regulations by blowing a siren. The occasions when he did was when he was escorted by Unity Party of Nigeria governors. The scenario is like this: Ambrose Alli’s entourage would lead Awolowo’s convoy to Akure for Adekunle Ajasin to take over. Ajasin would lead the convoy to Asejire near Ibadan for Bola Ige to take over. From Ibadan, Bola Ige led him to Abeokuta for Bisi Onabanjo to take over and finally, Onabanjo leads the convoy to Lagos for Lateef Jakande to take over. Ebenezer Babatope and MCK Ajuluchukwu perfected all plans from the UPN headquarters, who couldn’t afford to make a shoddy preparation for a great Nigerian with a huge organizational brain. I was researching when I ran into a beautiful piece written by one of the finest and fearless investigative journalists and writers in Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Osoba published by The News/PM Magazine. There are lessons to be learnt from this piece reproduced below:
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO VS MKO ABIOLA
Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo
By Olusegun Osoba
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was at home one sultry day in the mid-80s when he was informed that an unlikely visitor had come to visit him. When he heard was told it was Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, his archenemy, so to speak, Awolowo was stunned. It sounded like an April Fools’ Day joke, but he decided to receive the visitor if only to find out his mission. As Abiola spotted the old man coming in his direction, he threw himself flat on the ground in the Yoruba obeisance reserved for an elder.
On getting up, Abiola embraced his old nemesis, apologizing for breezing into the old man’s home without notification. He did not stop at apology; he demanded food
. “Baba, I have come to eat lunch in your house today”, Abiola announced. “Eat lunch in my house?” a surprised Awo asked as if he wasn’t too sure what he, adding “As a rule and habit, I don’t eat lunch.” “Baba, I am hungry. I want to eat eba,” Abiola insisted. As arrangement was being made to prepare lunch, Awo sat there bemused. After some waiting, lunch finally arrived and Abiola ate like a truly hungry man. He cleared every morsel on his plate – a sign that he enjoyed the food.
After lunch, Abiola formally explained his mission. He had come for peace. He had come to ask the old man to forgive him of all his political transgressions. Everything, he had done, he informed the old man, was political, not personal. He said that even while playing politics he still respected and admired Awo as a leader whose achievements would forever remain evergreen in history. Awolowo was touched; he agreed to forgive Abiola and even prayed for him. Chief Abiola was a paradox- a man of complex extremes, a man you could love to hate and yet hate to love at the same time. He was a man of destiny. Fate beckoned him to toss that into the political arena to vie to be Nigeria’s President under the transition programme of the military government of our mutual friend, General Ibrahim Babangida.
A wealthy man, Abiola was also an epitome of generosity, who supported people and causes he believed in. He was a man with a large heart. I had not always been his friend, though I had never regarded him as an enemy. Our relationship had started on a quarrelsome note. March 1986 afforded me the opportunity to appraise him publicly. I was a guest at the New Nigerian Newspaper forum in Kaduna where I was asked a question about him and I bared my mind about this stupendously rich man whose wealth naturally put him under all kinds of pressure and made him behave sometimes inappropriately. I told the New Nigerian in an interview published on April 1,1986. Each time I think of Chief MKO Abiola, rather than hate him in spite of all that he has done to me, I have great sympathy and pity for him. Any human being who stumbles on the kind of money that Chief MKO Abiola stumbled on would naturally go through all kinds of pressures. Extended family pressure will be there, societal pressure will be there, group pressure will be there, ethnic pressure will be there.
On top of all these, you have sycophants putting their pressures, flatterers and flag wavers putting their pressures on such an individual. I suspect that all these pressures are working on Chief MKO Abiola in terms of his attitude to certain people, especially in relation to me. This is why I say I have great sympathy because Chief Abiola doesn’t know me at all. He and I have never had an occasion to sit down like this for any reasonable length of time. I have never been to his house and don’t know the way he lives; he doesn’t know the way I live. I have never been to his office. I have only been to his residence in London once when Dele Giwa and I travelled, and he arranged that I meet Chief MKO Abiola. So you find that Chief Abiola based his approach and attitude towards me on hearsay. On what he has heard from other people, I take my case as an example of how he arrives at some of his attitude to people. https://www.thenewsnigeria.com.ng/2019/07/day-abiola-visited-and-begged-awo-for-forgiveness/ Monday July 15, 2019.
KOGI & BAYELSA STATES; As Kogi and Bayelsa States plan for their governorship elections, Terrific Headlines urges the electorate and agencies involved in the exercise to make it a huge success. We wish all contestants well and publish some quotes below for their reading pleasure.
MEMORABLE QUOTES: ‘’The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence. Nigerians love freedom and hate oppression. ‘’Why do you do it to yourselves? …. ‘’What do young Nigerians think about your leaders and their country and Africa? Do you teach them history? Do you have lessons on how your past leaders stood by us and gave us large amounts of money? You know I hear from Angolans and Mozambicans and Zimbabweans how your people opened their hearts and their homes to them. ‘’I was in prison then, but we know how your leaders punished western companies who supported Apartheid’’. – NELSON MANDELA
Violence never settles anything right: apart from injuring your own soul, it injures the best cause. It lingers on long after the object of hate has disappeared from the scene to plague the lives of those who have employed it against their foes. – Obafemi Awolowo.
“Violence has never been an instrument used by us, as founding fathers of the Nigerian Republic, to solve political problems. In the British tradition, we talked the Colonial Office into accepting our challenges for the demerits and merits of our case for self-government. After six constitutional conferences in 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960, Great Britain conceded to us the right to assert our political independence as from October 1, 1960. None of the Nigerian political parties ever adopted violent means to gain our political freedom; and we are happy to claim that not a drop of British or Nigerian blood was shed in the course of our national struggle for our place in the sun. ‘’This historical fact enabled me to state publicly in Nigeria that Her Majesty’s Government has presented self-government to us on a platter of gold. ‘’Of course, my contemporaries scorned at me, but the facts of history are irrefutable. ‘’I consider it most unfortunate that our ‘Young Turks’ decided to introduce the element of violent revolution into Nigerian politics. No matter how they and our general public might have been provoked by obstinate and perhaps grasping politicians, it is an unwise policy.’’ — Nnamdi Azikiwe; in his reaction to the first military coup in Nigeria, published on 16th January, 1966.
‘’We must continue to expect disagreements among people, as wrangling or contention has a human trait, which will be exhibited under all, and any circumstances. “Even if all our problems were solved by God in one go, with all mankind having enough to eat and to wear; decent houses to live in, sound education, good health, happy homes, big cars, political freedom, godly and truly public-spirited rulers to administer our affairs etc., we will still argue among ourselves, at least, as to why God should bestow His bounty so generously on everyone!” — Obafemi Awolowo; in one of his publications: ‘My March Through Prison’ published by Macmillan Nigeria Publishers.
‘’I am convinced, and I want you also to be convinced, that the future of this vast country must depend, in the main, on the efforts of ourselves to help ourselves. This we cannot do if we do not work together in unity. Indeed, unity today is our greatest concern, and it is the duty of every one of us to work, so that we may strengthen it. This morning, I said in the House of Representatives that bitterness due to political differences would carry Nigeria nowhere, and I appealed to the political leaders throughout the country to control their party extremists. To you who are listening tonight, I repeat that appeal — Let us put away bitterness and go forward in friendship to Independence‘’— Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; In his in his first speech as the Prime Minister of Nigeria, 1957.
“In the final analysis, the Nigerian tragedy has been bedeviled by a set of oppositions: generalized, stereotype, not necessarily of the same order and may be imaginary, yet each widening the wound and reducing the hope of healing it: north vs south, Islam vs Christianity, alleged feudalism vs assumed socialism, Federal vs unitary preferences, traditional authority vs achieved elitism, haves vs have-nots; each with sinister undertones of tension, irreconcilability and threatened withdrawal. “Each opposing set of these forces, had sufficient seed of truth within it to permit, and even fertilize the growth of feared fact from the semi-fiction of its existence. ‘’The search for the roots of the disaster of 1966, through the first military incursion into Nigerian politics, and subsequent destabilization of the political scene could be directed at the aforementioned factors; each sufficient to erupt into a political volcano.’’ – British Historian, AHM Kirk-Greene in his book: ‘Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria’.
May the Good Lord bless Nigeria!