Thickening My Skin To The Acerbic Flays Of Buharists (15/8/15)
My media diary today commenced with my debut interview or guesting on City105.1fm. Adesege, popularly known as “Westsyde”, the anchor of the station’s City Talk Saturday morning talkshow (whose “birthing” into bigtime radio broadcast journalism by the industry icon, Femi Sowoolu, wasn’t totally unknown to yours truly) called me two days ago to beg me to honour him with my presence on the programme. As a youngman whose superlative presentation skills are dwarfed by his arresting comedic persona, I couldn’t say NO to him.
It was quite easy for me to flow from the humorous to the damned serious in prosecuting his topic: The N150b Budget Of The NASS. Perfidious though it looks, and indeed it’s, if one were to look at the national legislators’ productive value thus far in this democratic dispensation. But there are some cultural baggage that we’ve laden our perverted form of liberal democracy with; one, many constituents see their legislators as personified ATM machines! Two, similarly, many ignorant constituents wrongly believe that any elected official of state must inherently have residual executive powers to implement projects; hence the extra-constitutional award of “constituency project allowance”, amongst the endless list of befuddling allowances that our senators and reps in the national assembly are entitled to.
I closed by enjoining our electors to steadfastly be holding the elected officers of state to account. Boy, did I enjoy myself?
My second and last media engagement of the day was on the set of Sam Omatseye’s STANDPOINT talkshow on TVC. The topics, in the following order, were: “Threat by NUPENG and PENGANSSON to strike as a result of the sackings in NNPC”; and “ICPC’s order to Okiro, Police Service Commission’s chair, to refund N130m”.
On the first topic I started with a confession that I’ll like to reiterate here: “As a proud self-confessed capitalist,I naturally detest the opportunistic theatrics of labour unionists; albeit I, as a democrat, believe that they have their relevance in society and should be engaged in industrial decision-making”. I indeed went further to state my disgust for the majority of labour leaders, some of whom I referred to as “opportunistic leeches”! I know it’s a bit to hard an ideological punch…
However, I immediately pointed out that the news I heard was inconsistent with the moderator’s frame of the topic; what I heard in the news bulletins I monitored was that the two aforementioned unions implored PMB to enjoin the new GMD of NNPC to carry them along in his reforms of, with the concomitant sackings in, the organisation. As far as I was concerned the unions concerns were reasonable. Because insomuch as the prunings in NNPC is imperative to cleanse the Augean stable of corruption that the entity has become, it cannot be totally discountenanced that amongst the 8 EDs and 36 Senior Managers already sacked on the one hand and the rationalisation or cuts in operating departments on the other hand, some victimisations may not be found.
Therefore, I opined, in agreement with Barr. Oshoma who posited a review of the GMD’s decisions, that a latent body could review the sackings without seemingly undermining the revolutionary GMD’s effectiveness. After making this point I then expressed my misgivings with PMB’s half-measured method of solving problems that are desirous of systemic solutions. As commendable as the GMD’s reforms are, it behoves the government to seek legislation that’ll separate NNPC’s regulatory role from its industry player’s role! This residual omnipotence organically lures the agency to be corrupt.
On the second topic, I berated the extra-judicial drama-queen-like tendencies of some investigative agencies of state (like ICPC, EFCC and even more disturbing Prof Itsay Sagie–chair of The Anti-Corruption Committee) pretending to be acting as courts of competent jurisdictions and making what are akin to judicial sentences on the pages of newspapers! These agencies ought to carry out investigations, garner indicting evidences, pass such incriminating information to state prosecutors whose job it’s to prosecute the accused in courts of competent jurisdictions and get convictions and refunds from the alleged looters. But in order to impress PMB, entities that have for years been comatose are now daily dancing to the media gallery.
And on one of the very few things I think PMB has done right in his depressingly sluggish start at governance, the composition of the Prof Sagie anti-corruption committee, with the brief, amongst others, to suggest reforms for our rickety criminal justice system. It was so disappointing for me that instead of approaching the job with the intellectual rigour that he’s known for; the Prof too started romancing the cheap media gallery by telling those who have stolen to come and confess! If that’s his best shot at his laudable assignment, he’ll do well to go get a voodoo incision on his tongue to call suspects ineluctibly to confession.
Three of the four callers into the live programme lambasted me for been impatient with “Saint PMB of Assisi”, as I once jocularly referred to him during the show. Even when I suggested practical global standards of governance mechanism, the antagonistic callers felt I was too critical.