Between Fayose and El-Rufai
I have an award for good governance to give and the choice of a winner is between Governors Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State. One is APC and the other PDP. On this alone, I am seeking to be properly guided in this difficult choice to escape the charge of partisanship. It will also be unwieldy if too many factors are loaded into the assessment. I have therefore limited the scope to recent happenings, like the way the two governors have engaged workers in their respective states.
First, Kaduna State. Governor el-Rufai woke up one morning and sacked 22,000 primary school teachers in the state. Less than a week after and when the furor of the first massive sack had not settled, there was a follow up with the sack of more than 4,000 workers across the 23 local government councils in the state.
Altogether, some 26,000 persons were made jobless (and perhaps, homeless too) in less than two weeks. According to the governor, the sacked workers had been profiled and found to be grossly unfit for public sector operations in Kaduna State. Naturally, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) failed to appreciate the argument of Governor el-Rufai that the 22,000 teachers failed basic test for competence and had become more of an affliction on than a solution to the pupils. The council workers were mainly sacked for redundancy.
Beyond these arguments, el-Rufai usually loves to leave behind big scars wherever he steps. He wants to be remembered as one who marched through where even angels dreaded to tip-toe. If you like, call him the Nigerian equivalent of Donald Trump. He believes strongly in the rightness of his cause. As minister of the Federal Capital Territory, against all entreaties and subtle threats, he moved to pull down strongholds in an exaggerated effort to restore the distorted plan of the FCT to its original format.
At the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), where he also held sway, he cannot be easily forgotten even till tomorrow. At the risk of losing the plump job, he named two senators who allegedly asked to be paid N50 million each to facilitate Senate’s confirmation of his appointment as the Director-general of BPE by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
And so, el-Rufai would not be doing strange things for the first time with his recent decisions in Kaduna. It is just that often than not, it is difficult to tell which between desire for a better society and desire for limelight actually propels el-Rufai into periodic display of real madness.
In his latest display for instance, what is coming across, listening to him, is a strong desire to rid Kaduna State of persons who naturally and socially are under-endowed to be considered workers. He is seeking absolute dissolution as a solution. This is not different from the Nazi kind of Final Solution in which persons with real or perceived inadequacies were consigned for liquidation to yield the entire natural space for the perpetuation of the Aryan superior breed of humans.
I am only trying to understand how, in real terms, the sacking of 26,000 workers will help the social conditions in Kaduna State. Let me simplify it. What it means is that a 26,000-man strong force has just been added to the existing army of unemployed people in Kaduna State and the fellow who did that diabolic deployment is boasting of having delivered good governance and expecting everyone in the state to retire home and sleep soundly with both eyes firmly closed.
There is no better definition of madness. And to think this madness has been applauded to high heavens by certain quarters, including President Muhammadu Buhari, makes it even more painful. In this part of the world, good governance is interpreted from the convenient point of the governor not the governed. Agreed that the 26,000 people in Kaduna State are not good enough for the purposes of teaching primary school pupils and administration at the council level, yet, the search for an efficient work force does not lie in ostracizing a multitude into a life of void.
Cutting down on the cost of running government has become a standard explanation of any bizarre act against the people by the political leadership. It infuriates me almost to the point of wanting to pick-up a gun to take out all the people that make government looks callous in Nigeria. Government everywhere is not profit-oriented. It is not a thrift cooperative that conserves resources even in the face of social deficits.
Governments exist to create happiness and any government that cannot guarantee that automatically loses its essence and becomes like salt that has lost its taste. When salt loses its taste, it is not any different from white sand.
In economics generally, there are two broad perspectives; the Adam Smith and Karl Marx perspectives. In the modern world, no economy runs entirely on one perspective, which is why even in Adam Smith’s enclaves in Europe and America, there is something called social welfare scheme which is a cross-ideological construct to bring Adam Smith and Karl Marx on the same page in the management of human societies.
The el-Rufai and by extension, the APC reductionism is not helpful to the economy and the people of Nigeria. That is why the so-called exit from economic recession is only felt in the books of government and not among Nigerians. Often, our governments burden the people and not themselves to increase reserves. They are like ritualists who kill to make more money. In Kaduna State, Governor el-Rufai, by his twin executive moves, is killing Kaduna people to make more money for himself.
About 600 kilometres away in Ado-Ekiti, Governor Fayose is also pulling some administrative stunts of different kind. He has actually been on this path since his second coming to Government House Ado Ekiti, in 2014 and he calls it Stomach Infrastructure policy, by which he aspires to reduce the elaborate concept of governance to just putting food on the tables of citizens. His latest along this trajectory is a decision to make Christmas dresses for 10,000 indigent children of Ekiti State.
If you took this matter to the British economist, Lord John Maynard Keynes, who constructed the key economic vessel that ferried the United States of America and most of the world across the Great Depression of the 1930s to prosperity, he would say that by making 10,000 dresses for children at Christmas, Fayose has created multiple layers of wealth. Wealth for the fabric manufacturer, wealth for the fabric seller, wealth for the sewing machines seller, wealth for the garment accessories seller and finally wealth for the garment maker.
The multiplier is times five (X5). It means if a dress is valued at say N3,000, the value of the N30 million that will be used to make 10,000 dresses, will be replicated at five levels of human activity. Coming from Fayose with his characteristic theatrics, it may sound stupid. But well analyzed, that is how the big economies in Europe, America and elsewhere are operated. The planners consciously generate human activities to create an economy.
Whether it is in the production of goods or services, no economy builds outside human activity. Pause a while and think of the economy that attends the hosting of the Olympics Games and the World Cup. Instead of seeking to kill people that are termed unfit as it has happened in Kaduna State, government at all levels in Nigeria should seek, by their policies, to generate or induce activities to engage the productive population for a thriving economy. No human, including physically and mentally challenged persons, is created to be useless by God.
Within the given circumstances, I want to leave you with the decision of, who, between el-Rufai and Fayose, should go home with my prestigious prize of good governance.
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