SALAKO Azeem Oladimeji.
13th Nov 2020.
In the early hour of Monday afternoon- 10th November 2020. My friend Gbolaga Nurudeen, an alumnus at the University of Ibadan and who is an indigene and resident of Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital opened a chat with me on my private WhatsApp wall. In his first chat of the dispersed conversation, he requested for a talking time with me on Ogun state politics. In his word;
“Hello CASO (my pseudonym), I have been following your articles with reference to Ogun state politics and would want to know why you have continually claimed that the Ogun state government under Dapo Abiodun is a corrupt one”
He went ahead in a follow-up message to remind me of my professional prestige. He noted that I am a trained political scientist and whose opinion as a pundit carries weight with wide degree of diffusion and autority. He stated, quoting him in verbatim;
“Being a political scientist and one who features constantly on the national media space. You understand the magnitude of political concepts and the overarching consequence of its usage. I would want to know if this claim of yours, that; “the Ogun state government under Dapo Abiodun is corrupt” goes beyond hearsay.” “This, I will so appreciate if supported with a lucid analysis” – he concluded.
Meanwhile the below text but with a slight review was my response……
Well, if critically dissect and without turning political analysis into a common place, the incumbent Ogun state government led by Mr. Dapo Abiodun is one that must be adjudged to be adamantly corrupt. Perhaps, what has only remain inconstant and probably by means of conceptualization is the form and dimension of its corruption delivery.
The forms oscillate and escalate from profligacy, abuse use of office, desecrating cultural code, violation of constitutional order, to lumping and dragging intellectual and governance standard into a rancid state- with its unique dimension traversing subtlety, neopatrimonialism, and acute favoritism.
The phenomenon “corruption” except when used loosely cannot be restricted to economic standpoint which mostly take the form of graft, financial mismanagement, misappropriation, money laundering etc. etc. In the broadest sense, corruption shows tendencies and thrives in all aspect and spheres of life. Its defining elements majorly are two; a deliberate act of compromise and a corresponding adverse consequence. In other words; corruption can be said to have taking place when the two dysfunctionality have been sufficiently established.
For illustration – when a public servant compromises the protocol of public spending, or personalizes a commonwealth that consequently deny the people good access to basic human needs – we can refer to economic corruption.
In another circumstance, corruption implies the upturning of a provision of the constitution by a government. It is the same when a government at own comfort or by virtue of its own convenience select the section of the constitution she obeys. A notable example is the case with the incumbent Ogun state government wherein the governor Mr. Dapo Abiodun continue to withhold and usurp the power, responsibilities and developmental prospect of the local government in the state.
Although, like the United States of America, Nigeria operate federalism but unlike her (US), she adopts a tripod federalism whereas the local government exist as a third tier of government, constituted by law with its functions explicitly preserved in the fourth schedule of the 1999 Nigeria constitution as amended. Conversely, the reality of local government under the incumbent government has abysmally turned to a mere governor’s appendage which sadly in turn serve as a means of servicing, satisfying and rewarding political patronage at the expense of grassroots development and meaningful local governance system.
The argument that the state is not buoyant to conduct the local government election and or lacking adequate resources to run an effective local government is watery and does not make sense in any serious governance discourse. The governor need be educated that the local government just like the state and federal government is a constitutional creature that essentially and legalistically enjoys a devolutionary (not delegation) power. It is to this extent scandalous and undemocratic of any state governor to construct for it an agencification posturing. The local government should independently source for its fund as detailed in the legal book without any unbridled and excessive interference from any other levels of government; state or federal.
It is also corruption perhaps its cultural variant for a government to compromise established, innocuous, and popular traditional values, conventions and norms that plummet government into promoting cultural abhorrence.
And while claiming scarce resources. For a government that failed to address the myriads of social problems that confronts her citizens but yet pronounce humongous financial and material reward for a morally deficient “yeyebrity”; a pervasion of celebrity (as seen with Mr. Dapo Abiodun when he acted on behalf of the government to reward the winner of a morally decadence, controversial and criticized show; Big Brother Nigeria a cash gift, house, and political appointment) can only depict a government of acute wastage syndrome cum profligacy – say abuse use of state institutions.
Furthermore. Till date the state government is yet to provide the federal order issued by the federal government that disapproves the request of Ogun state government or denying the state government the authority to take-over the failed roads across the state with particular reference to Ogun West senatorial district where the largest industrial concentration and the heart of the state economy resides. It is therefore instructive to note that corruption also include the deliberate withholding of public information or being deceptive about it. Any government that is shrouded in secrecy only thrives in corruption.
In same vein, contradicting a global impression and replacing a modern standard with ancient, and primordial approach as a sophistry to meet ones egoistic and selfish demand is “intellectual corruption” but which I will prefer to term “corruption of intellectuality”. The former strictly illustrates the fraud in the academic parlance while the latter impress the plunging and condescending of a standard of some sort into a commonplace, pedestrian, controllable and diminishing order.
During a Virtual Town Consultative Meeting on 2020-2021 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and 2021 Budget separately organized for the three Senatorial Districts. The governor was quoted to have made two contradictory statements.
Firstly, during the Ogun central town meeting, he said “his administration pledges to accord Abeokuta the “deserved” attention as the Capital City of the State. Conversely, in the meeting with Ogun West stakeholders. He said; “his government has promised to give “equal” attention to all the three Senatorial Districts in terms of project execution and provision of basic amenities.”
However, in critical discourse analysis, the language “deserved” as used by the governor signaled; focus, necessity and inequality which are in direct contrast to “equality” that depicts sameness of groups; in terms of access, opportunity, and participation – notwithstanding their differentiation in terms of output, viability, and productivity.
However, demystifying the self-contradicting statements of the governor cannot be the intention of this article. In essence, they were mere and ordinary political statements aimed at quelling the resentment, intercepting civil disobedience, establishing a false-consciousness and to furnish the peculiar expectations of the different senatorial districts with farces in the government’ desperate bid to douse the tensed and pressured environment that her treacherousness, naivety and insincerity created but which has inundated its clout and poor sophistication.
This column is also not targeted at interrogating the implement-ability of the Governor’s pronouncement, claiming that his government will treat all sections of the state equally. In essence, the governor’s understanding of “equality” has been manifestly proven by his recent approved reconstruction of twelve (12) roads across the state.
According to his illustration of equality; Ogun East (the Governor’s district and where he must aggressively develop in his long-term preparation to retire as a senator) gets 31.5KM of seven (7) roads including a flyover, the Ogun central district (a civil service territory) gets 11.1 KM of three (3) roads, and Ogun West (the economic blood of the state) sympathetically dashed two (2) roads of 5.2KM in the equality mantra that the governor’s and his protégé’s chants boastfully. Their subjects also patronize it hook, line and sinker or are left with the option of resigning to fate hoping that the reign of impunity, favoritism and pre-bendalism which this government has surreptitiously and adequately institutionalized will exit one day.
The focus of this article however is to provide another witness to the truth about this government as one that is adamantly corrupt and to which its corruptibility has now escalated into “corruption of intellectuality” – the corruption that lower the bar and complete the destruction of good governance.
One would think that the production of governance ought to be informed by certain guiding principle or frameworks that intellectualizes governance to ensure efficiency and effective public service delivery. These principles includes but not limited to; derivation, needs assessment, population importance, urban renewal or and rural-urban interaction etc. etc. This is because government and governance delivery are not rocket science. It leaves one dejected and bemoaned seeing the level to which this government operates cheaply and without any mental toughness and acumen. It has oversimplify everything into a spurious, fake and manipulative equality thereby turned to a government that is operated by operators without innovation, competence and sophistication.
For example, the consideration and concentration of government on inessential roads cannot be at equilibrium with essential ones. Aside this, it defies any logical economic sense to prescribe ‘equality” as a framework for processing and delivering good governance particularly in the absence of a corresponding (equal) economic contribution, output and viability.
It is even inconceivable to suggest such vapid strategy in a plural society, while it is a misnomer in federalism. In fact, in a more technical sense, democracy which is gloriously an offshoot of capitalism is an anti-thesis to equality – a nuance that is associated with socialism. Whereas, as a methodology for developmental drive, democracy function well when the sharing and distribution of public services is based on equitability which assures fairness, competition, motivation and reward and not an equality that breeds vapidity, laziness and conservation.
No intellectual government can impose an equation of three (3) roads per one (1) LG as its guiding principle of infrastructural governance. The basic implication of this is that unnecessary, insignificant, unproductive and economically insensitive roads are likely to be considered under this pedestrian arrangement at the expense of viable ones.
There is unfortunately a huge vacuum between what ought to be (ideal) and what is (reality) in the Nigeria governance environment. Regrettably, some citizens also dignify this discrepancy with consent, and in some cases destiny. The glorification, and justification of the popular narrative in Nigeria’s political system “theory is different from practice” is one of the embarrassment of education in Nigeria and it continue to plunge and soil the prospect of the nation’s national development. Governance is not a child’s play. Hence, it must not be oversimplified to the level and understanding of inchoate and fickle minded individuals that dominate the political circle. Doing that plummets and confines good governance into fate and not rationale choices that it’s expected to be. It desecrate the elements, principles and appurtenances of democracy.
The governor should note that the relevance pinned with equitable (not equality) sharing of good governance can boost the confidence and self-esteem of the people, and in effect will unlock their full potential, opportunities and involvement particularly in areas of economic participation. It will equally foster peaceful coexistence among the people in the larger society, and essentially consolidate fairness, competition, reward, and justice which democracy incontrovertibly guaranteed.