Many Nigerians will remember the story of the threat which the Oba of Lagos was said to have issued to Ndigbo who lived in Lagos during the 2015 political season. Those who decide what happens in Lagos State were in great panic. They looked into their crystal balls and found that a majority of Ndigbo in Lagos had planned to vote for Jimmy Agbaje of PDP as governor of Lagos. All the political principalities in APC in Lagos went berserk. What to do? Oba of Lagos was recruited. He summoned some of the so called Eze Ndigbo in Lagos and issued the infamous threat. They must vote for Ambode of APC or they better be prepared to be thrown into the Lagos Lagoon. It was a desperate situation that demanded desperate action.
Ambode went on to win the election. I do not know if the threat succeeded in frightening the Igbo Lagosians into voting for Ambode in order to stay alive or if it did not. But that threat actually awakened the Igbo, both in Lagos and elsewhere in Nigeria. When later in 2017, the Arewa Youths gave ultimatum to Ndigbo to move away from Northern Nigeria before 1st October, many Igbo finally (hopefully) came to the conclusion that they remain in a precarious situation in Nigeria. And the Nigerian government kept mute as Ndigbo went through these psychological terror campaign from our compatriots. As if these were not enough to break a people, this same Government visited additional terror on the people with operation Python dance 1 & 2 and Operation Crocodile tears. Yet paradoxically, the Igbo remain the most committed to the unity of Nigeria, as they continue to water the tree of Nigerian unity with their blood.
Thank God that the Oba of Lagos did not carry out the threat and Ndigbo have continued to live and do their businesses in peace in Lagos and the Arewa Youths eventually rescinded their ultimatum and Ndigbo have continued to build more houses and set up more businesses in every part of the North of Nigeria and indeed in every other part of Nigeria, perhaps until the next political eruptions! But now, it looks like Ambode for whom the Ndigbo in Lagos would have been thrown into the lagoon seem to have himself now ended in the Lagos Lagoon. What happened?
Lagos has been run essentially on a strategic plan laid out by Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) when he came into office in 1999. Like him or hate him, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a strategic leader. I had the privilege of joining the rank of the greats like Professor Olikoye Ransome Kuti to serve as a member of the transition committee that helped Asiwaju to plot the strategic plan for governing Lagos State. Bola chose a broad range of great Nigerians who live (or lived) in Lagos to help him chart the strategic plan. I also served as the Chairman of the Planning Committee of the first Lagos State Economic Summit. I did not know Asiwaju from Adam, but he got me and many like me to support his vision. I truly believe that one of Bola's strongest virtues as a strategic leader is his uncanny ability to pick good men or good people to work with or for him. His cabinet in 1999 was star studded, many from the Private Sector. It is to his credit that many of those who worked with him at that time are now the people running the Nation at the centre - Yemi Osinbajo (VP), Babatunde Raji Fashola (Minister of Works, Power and Housing), Lai Mohammed (Minister of Information & National Orientation), Tunde Fowler (Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service), Ade Ipaye (Deputy Chief of Staff in the Presidency), etc
When Asiwaju Bola Tinubu chose Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF) to succeed him, many were rattled. For many, BRF did not belong to the first eleven. After all, he only became the Chief of Staff,when Bola had despatched Lai Mohammed to go and take up political position in Kwara State. In 2007, when as the President of the  Business Club Ikeja (BCI), I organized a Private-sector driven debate for the Gubernatorial candidates in Lagos, I must confess that I did not see what Bola had seen in BRF. But from 2007-2011, BRF dazzled all Lagosians. He literally transformed Lagos. He boldly cleaned up Lagos, dealt with chaotic Lagos traffic and brought crime down.  
I do not know exactly what Fashola did to Tinubu that, he considered not allowing him run for a second term. But Lagosians had fallen in love with Fashola and were prepared to rebel against the lion of Bourdillon. Being a smart leader, Asiwaju retreated and gave in to what was essentially public pressure and allowed him run. BRF did so well that President Muhammadu Buhari rewarded him by making him the defacto Prime Minister of Nigeria. Now enter Akinwunmi Ambode. Again when Tinubu brought up a retired civil servant to succeed BRF, many Lagosians cried foul especially when we seemed to have a suffice of great materials in the mould of BRF. But as usual, Asiwaju stood his ground, touting the great success of BRF as evidence that he knew who would deliver best among his team. At last the Lagosians gave him the benefit of doubt and elected Ambode.
If you ask me I will say that Ambode has done well but not as stellar as BRF. So why did the people not rise up to defend him against Asiwaju's 'mid term crisis' as they did for BRF? First, Visionscape. From nowhere, Ambode decided to change the working refuse clearance system in Lagos initiated by BAT and perfected by BRF.  Lagosians were shocked by the return of filth to Lagos after many years of not seeing refuse dumps on Lagos streets. This was very disappointing to many. Indeed, some thought it had to do with Asiwaju , but later, we got to know that he did not have a hand in it. Then Ambode began to repair and construct many roads at the same time, returning Lagos to the traffic gridlocks it experienced last when Fela was still living at Ojuelegba and driving against the traffic. Though I believe this was for good cause, but many Lagosians were really sad. Up till Ambode was thrown into the lagoon, I had no idea, he had other problems with the people of Lagos and the King makers.
But I have since read and heard of the so many 'sins' of Ambode, from what he did to the Chaplain of the State house chapel to how he sacked several Permanent Secretaries without apparent cause and how inaccessible he was. I have generally seen these as effort to call a dog a bad name to justify why it was hanged. Nevertheless, one matter ran through all the stories including first hand stories told me by some close friends who are top notchers in APC in Lagos - the man forgot those who held the ladder for him to climb up. So the guys quietly took away the ladder and Ambode had no other way to climb down than to jump. And unfortunately he landed in the lagoon, the same one the Oba had prepared for the recalcitrant Igbo Lagosians who would not vote for Ambode. How the tide changes!
To be true, the popular view amongst many Nigerians is that BAT purposely pushed Ambo into the Lagoon for his own selfish reasons. Well may be BAT often suffers from such 'malady' at mid-term, but because BRF stood with the people, he was saved from the Ambo treatment. It therefore makes sense to always stand with the people, especially those you met on your way up, because you are most likely to meet them on your way back. Now we may be back to where we were in 2015. The old war horse Jimmy Agbaje is back on beat. I wish to believe that both the Oba of Lagos and the new darling of Lagos APC - Babajide Sanwo-Olu( BSO) will not adopt any such desperate measures and threats. There may always be the 'midterm crisis' and what goes round often comes round. Eko oni baje: ju bayi lo!, then itesiwaju ipinle eko..oje wa logun, what next for Eko?
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR


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RACISM, ETHNICITY AND TRIBALISM .... What's the difference?

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This has led many Nigerians to allow the local and State governments get away with With 'blue murder' while holding only the federal government to account,even if feebly. While it is justifiable to blame government for poor infrastructure, poor education, poor healthcare, high unemployment, high insecurity, and even for hunger, corruption and traffic hold ups, it is beginning to look to me that this is an orchestrated ploy by some Nigerians to take a permanent flight from being held responsible for our individual and group conducts. In the first place, the governments we blame so frequently for failing us are run by Nigerians. Indeed the irony is that some of those who blame government for everything are in government themselves! Sometimes, it looks like that there is a mystery man called 'government'. But no, government is no mystery man, but a collection of persons who are first citizens and who run the government on behalf of and for the good of all the citizens. For convenience, they are grouped into the EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATURE AND JUDICIARY. And that includes politicians, civil servants, public servants, professionals and non professionals of all cadres and categories; from cleaners,security men and permanent secretaries to ministers; from legislative aids to the House Speaker and Senate President; from the court bailiff to the Policeman, to the Registrar and to the Supreme Court Judge; from the gatemen to the Director Generals of Parastatals and Agencies, they are all constituent parts of the government, agents of the State. And that's why they are paid from the tax payers money.Every action, each one of them takes or omits to take reflects on the effectiveness or in effectiveness of the government they are part of. But it looks to me that this realization does not exist sufficiently. Some how, you get the impression that the President or the State Governor alone is the government and everybody else is either the governed, observer, bystander, supporter,complainant or critic. Perhaps this may explain why there is a woeful failure of the"government " to satisfy the expectations of Nigerians. It is practically impossible for only the President to satisfy the 170 million Nigerians or the Governor to satisfy all the over 12 million people in Lagos for example. Everywhere you go,you meet people who work in the government institutions who act as if they care very little about the success or citizen perception of the government they serve in. When you complain about the poor service you are getting,the same people who are part or agents of the government turn around to blame the 'government', absolving themselves of any blame and often the complaining citizen seems to either agree or empathize with the government employee that the problem is with the mystery ' Mr Government ' Early this year, I wanted to make a trip to the United Kingdom and applied for the UK Visa. Few days after submitting my visa application, I received a call from the British Embassy that there was no space left in my passport to affix the visa. I quickly collected my passport and ran to the passport office in Ikoyi Lagos to get a new one. It took me six visits to the passport office over a period of six weeks to collect a new passport.Reasons ranged from missing file to long queues, mismatch of finger prints, the absence of the engineer and late approval from Abuja. It was an ordeal. Mean while I missed the trip to the Uk and was almost missing a trip to the USA because my subsisting US visa was in my old passport which had been 'quarantined' in the passport office. At the end of this rigmarole I was still expected to show 'gratitude' In August last year, I went to renew my driving license and I was told to fill out forms and make payments. Thereafter I was asked to come back one year after in July this year at the FRSC camp in Ojodu, Lagos for what they called 'capture'. I wondered why it would take a year to come for the 'capture'. I was told that many people were on the queue and their 'capture' equipments were few. I was told that a photocopy of my form on which the July date had been written would serve as my temporary driving license until that date. I shook my head and left. On the assigned date and at the stipulated time of 7am, I arrived. First, it took a lot of pleading to let me drive in through the gate. With one year scheduling, I had expected few people but was shocked by the large crowd milling around the place. I moved from place to place and after several hours when I arrived in front of the 'capture' machine, I was told that my name had not dropped. 'From where ?' I asked. I made three other visits over a period of five weeks, because either, my name was still traveling from wherever to the 'capture' machine, or because there was no 'network' to capture me. I finally got another temporary driving license. And so I will have to return to Ojodu in 60 days when it expires or wait to be called to come and collect the permanent driving license when it is ready and who knows how many more trips that will take, because I saw People who had been called to come and collect, and they came, only to be told that the license was not yet ready. I do not know of any other country in the World where citizens are subjected to this kind of torture just to obtain a driving license. When my son-in-law heard my story, he sympathized with me because he went through an 'agent' and got his with ease! I suffered the same fate in trying to renew my plate numbers as demanded by FRSC. I have completed my registration for the National Identity card at a special unit set up by the National Identity Commission at an interaction in Lagos. I was given a temporary National Identity card. I do not know when I will get the permanent one. Now I have been asked by the Central bank to go to my bank and obtain another Universal identity card. I do not know how many trips I will have to make to obtain a temporary card before I struggle to get the permanent one. I will still go for my voters card and do biometrics and for my Pension, another set of biometrics and identity card. How many Identity cards is a normal law-abiding Nigerian expected to carry?.Why the National identity card can not suffice for all these is what I am asking. I am searching for Mr Government to ask him, because that is what I am asked to do. Can't these government agencies and officers who are asking for these many identity cards share information ? Or is it the fault of Mr government ? Why do we relish in making life difficult for fellow Nigerian citizens and then blame government. Any where Nigerians are to receive service from a government agency, the story of misery and denigration of human dignity is repeated. Who is government? What can be the problem? Is it a matter of lack of a compelling vision, or lack of motivation, or lack of empowerment or plain lack of commitment. What ever it is, I believe that something must be done urgently and in a holistic manner to remedy this anomaly which is creating a lot of problem for the citizens in Nigeria. The unnecessary suffering to which Nigerians are subjected to at every point can not continue this way. What is worse is that the pains intensify when people are doing their best to obey the laws and be responsible citizens. This backlash may seem to promote deviant behavior or corner cutting. Some are 'compelled' to 'settle' police on the highway than go through the torture of trying to get a driving license. All those who are part of government at all levels will need to undergo a fresh orientation to make them understand that point, that a chain is as strong as its weakest link. That Government is not about a single person but a chain of persons who deliver service to the Citizens and that the best President or best Governor will achieve little if all other parties are not playing their roles with the same efficiency and consistency. The leaders of our Governments must therefore take appropriate initiatives on building this consciousness in all persons in government. For empowerment and motivation, the leaders must ensure proper skilling up and motivation of all those involved in the governance process. The right persons must be put in the right positions to ensure the integrity of the chain.For commitment,the leaders must demand evidence of performance down the line. This must be measured and rewarded so that the unskilled for the assignment, the unprepared and the indolent are weeded from the system, so that the impact of good governance can be felt by citizens leading to improved quality of life and the reduction of the misery index. It seems this is perhaps the most critical responsibility of the leaders of the different tiers and arms of government and may actually be the differentiating characteristic of the effective government leaders. Sitting at the capital and hoping that all the 'beautiful' policies, projects and programmes are yielding the desired result will not do. If those who are part of government are blaming the government,one can then understand why some other Nigerians make a past time of blaming government for every problem. If the gutter overflows, it is the government that must be blamed and nothing to do with the citizens who throw pure water satchets and sundry rubbish into the gutter. When the road is blocked, it is the government and nothing to do with the indiscipline of citizen drivers who refuse to give way to each other. In those Countries that we admire and aspire to be like, most Citizens regulate themselves and accept responsibilities for the good order of the society, thus allowing the regulatory enforcement agencies to effectively contain the few deviants. If everybody is a deviant, no government can effectively manage public order. That is my point and it does not in any way absolve the government in power from its statutory responsibilities. There is a role for the government and there is a role for the citizen. Any dereliction on either side will create problems for the society, just as we are having,Period. Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR