Sleeping at Departure Lounge

Chibueze Agwagom
Chibueze Agwagom

|  Vincent Agwagom  |

MOST governors are having a field day with the wealth and resources of their states and the moral standards of most of these governors have fallen below reasonable standards. The show of shame of the election of the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, is not a surprise. Today, we have two factions of the NGF and two chairmen — what a mockery? If governors cannot govern themselves, how then can they govern others? The manipulation syndrome that had characterised the activities of most governors has disgracefully lowered their sense of moral judgment to the extent that they have no values to impact on the people they rule and slave-drive.

The fact remains that while some governors like Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State are justifying the reason for the mandate given them by the people (that is for those of them who were reasonably elected by their people), some other governors are clearly sleeping.  I visited Aba recently and it was clear to me that the so-called Ochendo (shade provider) of Abia State is sleeping. Nothing on ground (especially with the horrible and horrifying state of most schools) appears to justify the huge resource that is given the state from monthly statutory allocations.. It is sad to note that this is the governor who manipulated the state legislature to pass a legislation that sent Igbos and, indeed, Nigerians of other states of origin, out of the state’s civil service without benefits. How can one imagine that civil servants from other states in Abia State’s employment who have spent dozens of years should be sacked ignominiously and heavens did not fall? We have gotten accustomed to anything hence, nothing matters any longer.

For Ebonyi State, there is another Ochendo who also doubles as Ochudo(peace maker or seeker). His praise singers and litany of sycophants who eat without working  are never tired of praising this sleeping governor. I was in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, in the second week of June, 2013 and I wondered what an elderly governor should be doing with the resources of Ebonyi State to the extent that many roads in the small area of Abakaliki Capital Territory are in very sorry state of disrepair. It is ridiculous that the famous Gunning Road towards the Abakpa Main Market and meat market axis is in terrible condition. Another thing that attracted my attention is that almost all the traffic lights recently installed at huge costs to the state are not functioning again.

Street lights were also installed at huge costs at some areas in Abakaliki Capital Territory but they have never functioned for one day. It is time for the elderly Ochendo cum Ochudo of Ebonyi State to wake up because elders do not stay and watch a goat deliver while tethered or while tied with rope. I was still in primary school when Governor Martin Nwancho Elechi was a commissioner in the former East Central State and bearing in mind that he was a prominent voice during the campaign for Ebonyi State creation, one is shocked at his lack-luster performance in Ebonyi State. During my trip to Abakaliki from Enugu on Sunday, June 9, I was singing Handel’s Halleluiah chorus and Hosanna in the highest when I saw that some aspects of  what used to be Enugu-Abakaliki express death trap has been tarred or up-graded. My Halleluia and Hosanna song turned into sighs immediately I approached the terminal part of Ezillo. The state of the express road from Ezillo through Ntezi, Ezzamgbo and Ishieke is apalling. I remember informing road safety regular marshalls I chatted with on that road that they should not only be on this road but that they should protest the horrible state of that road because such road should not even be found in the remotest village in Nigeria. The marshals simply smiled and told me that they were powerless. I was surprised when I arrived Abakaliki and found helicopters flying out and I asked questions. I learnt that the big men of Abuja and Aso Rock now fly into Abakaliki from Enugu with helicopters. Just like our public schools are eye-sores because the sons and daughters of the men and women in power will never attend them, most of our roads have become ditches and gullies because those who loot our treasury and pocket the money that should be used to rehabilitate our roads, may never travel on them even when emergency forces them to do so. And when they do, they use customised jeeps fitted with powerful shock absorbers. When our honourable minister of information and his co-travellers in the governments image laundering enterprise, talk of good governance, one often realizes how far separated they are from the travails of the common people and the naked realities of our time. It becomes clear why the Senate president was forced to refer to our information minister as a loose talker. It is, indeed, time that our sleeping governors who usurp local government funds, wake up and serve the people instead of pre-occupying themselves with uncontrollable accumulation of wealth. It is time for them to wake up by imbibing the gospel of attitudinal change. They should realise that a capital territory is an area that should be marked by conspicuous and substantial government presence unlike the exhibition of disaster we have in most states. Today is still very early for the likes of the two Ochendos of the south East to do something before they vacate office. If I had a tongue like former president Obasanjo (recall that Obasanjo had said that Alex Ekwueme had entered departure lounge when Ekwueme marked his recent birthday), I would have asked what Ochendo of Ebonyi State is doing with state resources while at departure lounge. But I know that only God knows who is at the departure lounge.

Please, our sleeping Governors, wake up and do something remarkable before you “die.”

— Jun. 24, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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