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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, February 18, 2008

The man for the job

They call him many names; go slow Umoru and Baba jeje (with Hausa inflection) being my favourites. The agreed position being that most people do not mind Yar’Adua as president although his direction might as yet be unclear. Yes we get and applaud the drive for entrenchment of rule of law and due process, which has occasioned the reversal of many contentious programs, policies and projects of the last administration. What we don’t get is what Yar’Adua will systematically do outside of what must naturally happen in the course of a fairly stable democracy in an oil and gas rich economy like Nigeria.

We don’t dislike Yar’Adua but we have yet a real cause to like him. For me the word like is unimportant as I am quite happy not to like my president but need to be able to respect him as a leader and a human being. Thus far he has given no cause to disrespect him or the office he holds. He has spoken about his determination to effect the 7 point reform agenda which is not a bad thing as those are important areas of development, what is worrisome is the manner in which the talent to execute these agenda and more is sourced.

From all l have been told by “insiders’ about Mr. President, he is a great listener, a stickler for order and propriety and a simple family man. Thus it is only natural that he follows the procedure for which ministers, advisers, ambassadors and heads of major parastatals are chosen. As it stands, the ruling party (PDP in this case) is asked to nominate candidates in each state for such appointive positions and these are security screened, then ratified by the national assembly before appointment into office. Nothing wrong with that technically other than the fact that it has over the years become a platform for rewarding political jobbers, bag boys, gofers and hangers on. Whilst there is nothing wrong with rewarding loyalty/sycophancy surely there must be some Siberia like appointments to hand out for such whilst very important offices are left to the best men and women regardless of party affiliation.

The constitution does require that anyone taking such position be elect able into the house of reps; a slight inconvenience which can be corrected in 24hours with kiakia party registration.

I hear that Mr. President has set up a committee to evaluate the performance of the current ministers and others. My gut feeling is that Yar’Adua is a man committed to transparency but could be bugged down with the letter of the process, which many who benefit from such have learnt to skillfully manipulate. None is better than some civil servants who have occupied certain offices since I was in my diapers and who think technorati is some sort of new dance step by restive youths. It is therefore my hare brained suggestion that he looks into the possibility of actually putting out a paid advertorial with specific job requirements for some of these ministries, advisory positions and parastatals. The overseeing can be handed over to a competent multinational recruitment firm and the ratification by both the security agency and the national assembly. Sounds stupid but I know for sure that often times leaders mean well but naturally do not always have information and access to the best brains and talents for each job and are therefore forced to rely on subjective recommendations which promote mediocrity and nepotism. Whilst at it, can Mr. president also look at reforming the very statute that establishes certain agencies and ministries in line with present day possibilities and the desire to position Nigeria as the economic heart beat of Africa by 2020 (said with a perfectly straight face;-))



What jobs? the only jobs being created are the ones in govt. and it is sad that they only work for themselves and their cronies, and not the nigerian people!
Yar'dua is hogwash. there is no govt in Nigeria. we have the most despicable govt on earth.
When we talk about govt; we should be talking about a govt that works; not just some glorified nonentity that occupies office with just some hot air 7 point reform agenda and vision 2020 semantics.

Anonymous said...

Those names are stale now .... His current name is "Baba Stand Still". We are not moving forward one inch .....

Anonymous said...

Anyways., I don't know why there seems to be too much negative air about Nigeria.I pray everything comes together for all Nigerians to wake up and make the country great.

Ahmed said...

Funmi, you were remarkably light on this man.. I think you have been enthralled by his conduct. Really, I am a half northerner and the truth is that most Northern men are mild mannered, quiet and humble like Yar'Adua. It is in our upbringing and Yar'Adua should not really be celebrated for being a normal Northern man.

Truth is that he was Governor for 8yrs in Katsina and please visit some day and tell me what he did here that was so great that made him "earn" the presidency. The man is confused really and I dont blame because the truth is he is not prepared for this job.

Onibudo said...

My sister sometimes I wonder! Na wa O! Baba Jeje my beard. I suspect that when history judges it will find that most Nigerians have become delirious with an Anti-Obasanjo sickness that destroyed their capacity to discern. This regime is devoid of vision, purpose or direction. It panders to the gallery and egos of the Nigerian elite. Ah....... I just posted on this so I am not going to rehash. The only saving grace is the high price of Oil.

trae_z said...

I've also previously thought about advertising ministerial posts. thanks for putting it beautifully in the last paragraph.

another suggestion for Mr President would be this by Reuben Abati: The President's 'missing Ears'

Amaka Igwe said...

I dont share your gut feelings. I think the man is out of his depth and devoid of any ideas. Its one thing to head a rural setting like Zamfara, and then its another thing being the head of a country that is in dire need of progress. In dire need to join other developing nations. The problem we have in Nigeria is that we are deluded. We think that being able to watch a film in one of two available cinema's; shopping in the only proper shopping centre in the country and being able to watch foreign channels makes us a nation on the 'up'. Nigeria, to put it very mildly is a million miles away from advancement, and we will never get there if we have a Chemistry professor who has spent all his life in a classroom in charge. Wake up sister - this man is a step backwards. He is Shehu Shagari in disguise.

Zainab... said...

@ Amaka Igwe - Please get your facts right and dont really belittle the man.Zamfara is quite different from Katsina & really forms no basis for comparison.

He did not spend all his working life in a classroom. He retired as a Chemistry teacher in 1983. He worked in the private sector since then before he dabbled into politics in the early 90s. You can check his profile on Wikipedia...

Mr. Fix Nigeria said...

Hmm! Aunty Funmi, na you talk soo.

cleo.kelvin said...

well righ now pdp has won their case in my state ie abia state on false grounds and my school is on strike so till i havent started my second semester cos of increase in school fees and de vc suspended de sug officials dont mind wats on network news how can we ask for rusticated students ie ex cultists to be rtecalled all these due to de cut in education budget and the injuction dat de should fund their bills so forget de news notin was spoilt it was a peaceful demonstration.
well he had beta be careful cos education and de youths are de bedrock of every society

Funmi Iyanda said...

@nigeria politricks, yardua's job is taken and until we are ready to put our life where our mouth is it remains taken, the jobs in reference are the appointive offices which l am hoping will be reshuffled soon.

@amaka, surely you my sister knows that l don't belong to that group and as l said to politricks, until we are ready to move beyond taking to doing what is necessary to ensure a meritocracy or at least a working version of it, l will stick to my "in the absence of chicken let us manage pidgin" post. Na me go go prison for all of una abi, especially dem we siddon for obodo oyinbo ehn, the one wey l don do wey be say to get anything done na war, e neva do? let no one doubt that l am a purist in many aspects of life, l am only just learning to work within the few parameters my conscience can live with to achieve value. read between the lines peeps.
@ahmed, l know, but my focus is on what can be amended right now, i.e the appointive positions.
@onibudo, broda, no be pass mark for yardua, na request for a different method of throwing up fairly good administrators so that perchance a good accident may occur to deliver to us the structures on which we can grow, you and l know the alternative, are we ready to take it?
@cleo, these are the things that make me feel helpless, a feeling l abhor, you do know that it is an unnatural state of things and nature will not be static in that sense, or any, remember Tiananmen square, it is in that wise that l have begun to seek alternative means of achieving reforms.

Anonymous said...

Your Madeline Albright interview was brilliant. And you are a very intriguing lady. Well done.

Of course Yar'adua is incompetent. PDP could not have done otherwise. That bunch of rogues cannot throw up anything good. If they did they'd all have to go to jail.

It's ok, because one day it will all burst. But you keep doing the things you do. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Your Madeline Albright interview was brilliant. And you are a very intriguing lady. Well done.

Of course Yar'adua is incompetent. PDP could not have done otherwise. That bunch of rogues cannot throw up anything good. If they did they'd all have to go to jail.

It's ok, because one day it will all burst. But you keep doing the things you do. Cheers.