Decisions

… plugged ears and discarded earphones…

Apparently, there is something terribly wrong with our decision makers. It clearly isn’t the Decisions. It is that those who take the Decisions are wearing earphones on wax plugged earsand cannot hear or have discarded the hearing aids – and cannot hear.

A suggestion made in times of dire need or crisis is usually, although a common cliché, is most apt,that ” desperate situation demands a desperate solution”. Some of us may have made – and will continue to make suggestions – for improvement of services, in these times of the CoronaVirus. Provision of optimal service should be the new normal, not shoddy, haphazard and you – can – do- nothing attitude. Oga, it’s no longer business as usual.

Conditional Cash Transfer – Unequivocal Failure

There is no doubt that the Hon Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and her advisers have refused to listen to reason. Hers is the stubbornness of ignorance. While she has admitted before the Hon Speaker of the House of Representatives, that she met a mess in her Ministry; We know she admitted that the operations of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the highly touted but failed School Feeding Programme(HGSFP) are not “perfect”, but, she has maintained her stubbornness of ignorance. While she believes that having convinced Mr President that the payment system is good, I want to assure her that posterity will rubbish her tenure. It is insulting that in the 21st Century, we have a Minister supervising the payment of cash to selected Nigerians,whom she has dubbed “the poorest of the poor”.As I stated in my earlier blog post, the Very Honourable, uninformed, unprepared ( for the job mentally) Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, did not give the Conditional Cash Transfer any thought. She did not pause to weigh the merits and adverse publicity and attendant security implications of table payment. This is even worsened by the fact that while she and her staff were geared up in PPE, the so-called ” poorest of the poor” queued up and watched by large crowds, in defiance of CoronaVirus. Maybe, she savoured the publicity( I learnt that she had a coterie of newspeople and NTA crew,in tow). She did not pause and ask herself that in these straitened times, the One hundred million Naira, she is giving out to 5000 persons at twenty thousand per, can be given to 10000 households. Honestly, in these days of CoronaVirus and the lack of money in each household, # 10000(ten thousand naira) is a princely sum. But,then, even if she has heard, will she listen? No. I understand that she has agreed to use the BVN of the lucky beneficiaries in her holy Social Register. We urge her to calculate the number of lives she will touch, by splitting twenty thousand naira to two households. Madam, why are you frowning? It’s just advice,Ma. We may not have Social Security, but, the recent flurry of financial activities that brought in microfinance, mortgage and ordinary banks, since OBJ, have ensured that 90% of Nigerians have a bank account – urban and rural. And you know! Please heed advice.

Furthermore, in days to come, after Covid 19, there will be numerous queries about certain monies. The Hon Minister must be prepared. For instance, has anyone in her Ministry ever heard of “in alphabetical order”? This has being the mode of sharing or giving out, to forestall cries of partiality and inequity. Already, there are outrages of lopsided payments – some Northern States getting huge payouts.

Again, on the School Feeding Programme

The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo,is a very sedate person. Yet, I still can’t fathom how he fell for the School Feeding Programme (HGSFP). I have seen all manner of tricks,at embezzlement,but, honestly,the HGSFP, took the icing and the cream. As the Yoruba will say, ” o thief gbogbo é”.Now, if the briefing given to the Hon Speaker,is full and fair,then, it means, the Programme has been gulping ordinary twenty billion Naira, monthly. No wonder, some crazied people ( by their greed)are saying the Programme should continue,even in this Lockdown. Over high sense!

NLC and Pensions Fund

Some years back, a Nollywood film, titled, Died Wretched, (Buried in 3.2 million casket) featuring Tony Umez, was the rave. It highlighted our Nigerian society’s misplaced priorities. Today, I heard the Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) President, Mr Ayuba Wabba,was screeching all over the media that nobody should touch the Pensions Fund. That it is for the retirement benefits of Workers. I would have thought,as any reasonable person would ,that the Oga, would have suggested that the Federal Government “borrow” the money and pay all Nigerians,at least #10,000 per household, to numb the effects of the Lockdown. Does he know how many workers are at the end of the rope? If he cherishes his workers, I had expected such a bold gesture.

The general failure of the NLC has being glaring for some time. From the beginning of the Goodluck Jonathan Presidency, there has being a cosiness between Government and the NLC. I get the uncomfortable feeling that the NLC has become a Department of the Ministry of Labour.Ditto, the States’ NLC branches. In Benue, the State Government instituted an ingenious salary payment schedule: Owe workers the September, October, and November 2019 salaries; pay, Dec2019 and Jan 2020,then,owe Feb and Mar 2020,then, pay Sep 2019, in February 2020. As you can see, one gets lost in the Sudoku of the payment schedule. The Benue State NLC keeps applauding.

…And still on Benue State. I need help in unraveling Dr Ortom’s ( he’s the State Governor) great logic: From May, 2017 to May 2019, he was the State Governor under the All Progressives Congress (APC). Then, in 2019, he decamped back to the PDP and won the Governorship Election. Fair enough and smooth narrative. But, here is my problem. He has told the workers that it is the APC Government, not his PDP Government, that is owing them. I’m lost. Help me understand.

And the State Governors

As usual, each State Governor in Nigeria now struggles, valiantly and relentlessly, to get body bags of CoronaVirus victims.

Some mothers do have them!

Stretching from Anambra State, where Mr Willie( not Nelson) Obiano, has eased restrictions on all church services, this weekend. He says that he will open schools soon. And in Oyo State, the new enfant terriblé of Nigerian politics, Governor Seyi Makinde, has eased restrictions and is asking senior civil servants to return to work. Remember, Mr Makinde organized the National mega rally, of the opposition PDP, in defiance of CoronaVirus.We are awaiting the cascades of the fallout!

Truly, some mothers do have them

And not to be outdone,two highly educated men. One a professor and the other a PhD holder. One the Governor of Bornu State. That’s the Professor. Professor Babagana Zulum. He has eased all restrictions during the Ramadan. Thirty days to ask a favour. Thirty days sought for grace from Coronavirus. I hope Covid obliges him…or turns him to a Covidiot. For while the Christians can chant, dance and writhe in rapture, but, observing social distancing, Moslems cannot. Islam expects shoulder to shoulder standing and near simultaneous movements for sujuud and ruku,at congregational prayers. Only Allah knows what a cough or sneeze can do.

His friend, Governor Ganduje, in Kano, is at his wit’s end.He is the other one with a PhD. Fittingly so. He has hitherto taken the fight as a joke. A big joke. Excellency, you cannot be the bigger Defender of the Faith than the Custodian of the Two Holiest Mosques of Islam – in Mecca and Medina; nor,indeed, can you be more Moslem than His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto( the Supreme Leader of Nigerian Moslems). Did you listen to President Buhari’s Address? He reminded us that Islam’s holiest sites were on lockdown, as is Christianity’s holiest headquarters – the Vatican.

So, here we are,as prominent citizens are dying , the masses will soon follow en masse. They are the drivers, the cooks, the mai gadis, the vegetables sellers, the market goers, the market men and women, the prostitutes (” hidden” from the Hisbah). The masses include the tight short- skirted, wig wearing Southern girls, who drive our boys crazy.

Some mothers do have them!

And from ordinary Ghana ( my apologies) comes news and pictures of the deployment of their Armed Forces to deliver house to house palliatives. I can hear snickers about the small size of that country. But, I’m not talking size. I’m talking about organization and leadership. And accountability and transparency. In addition, we have the personnel We have the food. There are Armed Forces, Police, Civil Defence, Prison, Customs, Immigration and the Vigilante in all the States. We can mobilize; and within two weeks, every household, will have money and food.

Tomorrow is for the living…

Conclusion

I want to beg our decision makers that they should listen to the rumours. First, there are rumours of food trucks been diverted; then, the almost suicidal table payment, then, the refusal by the Oyo State Government, of the rice donations. A few decades ago, I was in the Kano State Emergency Relief Agency. We had hundreds of bags filled with weevil. It was such a herculean ( and mostly, hopeless) task. And that is the indiscipline and dereliction of duty, we cry about. There are people employed to oversee the silos. Why should the grains get spoilt? Our people had granaries.Remember?

And please note, we shouldn’t allow the distribution of palliatives to be based on Party lines. We all know what politicians can do. And then, eye Service. It had been rumoured that some time back , the Saudi Government donated trucks of debino ( date palm) for the IDPs. We heard the lady in charge diverted several truckloads to Katsina. Why? These cartons later found their way to the precincts of the National Mosque in Abuja. I understand the Saudi Ambassador heard. Went and verified. If this was true, then, the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry’s state of alertness and monitoring must be doubled. In this era of lockdown, we cannot afford rumours!

Postscript

Next week : Mr Emefiele’s CBN’s 4-point Covid 19 Palliatives and post COVID-19 crazy plans. Is it the cart before the horse Or a cart and no horse?