The Errand Boy And His Many Masters
GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, though the president-elect, is being boxed from four corners. His case can be likened to an errand boy, Wazobia, in a quirky establishment.
The outfit was run aground by a team of bad administrators, until the board came up with a caretaker management committee, mandated to turn its fortune round. In the meantime, it could only have some offices pending when things improved. Thus, of the four heads of departments, only one messenger was assigned to them. And being a young man with friendly disposition stewed in humility, Wazobia cut equal admiration of his bosses. To each of them, he should grow with the company.
But on a fateful day, and as early as 9am, one of his bosses summoned him and listed out errands he should run for him. He nodded deferentially and stepped out of his office. And immediately, he got another summon by the second official for another set of assignment. He acceded promisingly to deliver.
Still, just about five minutes after, the third boss sent for him and loaded his head with a set of errands, which he accepted to execute dutifully. Thinking within him on how to manage the timing, alas the bell rang from the fourth boss, who wanted him to urgently dash off to a nearby office to pick some documents. “I’ll do that, sir,” he muttered under his breath and sauntered out of his giant office block with his head full of assignment on how to deliver within a limited time and space.
He was just still at the gate with his index finger in his mouth re-planning his movement when one of his bosses came out of the balcony and sighted him standing, in a state of confusion. He bellowed from there: “Wazobia, what are you standing there doing? Have you run the errand I sent you?” Confused, he lacked the word to explain what he was doing then.
In between the time that this query was on the poor man, the other head of department overheard his colleague’s voice, and as if invited to the discussion, came out and also charged on the errand boy. So did the rest, each accusing him of lousiness, ineptitude and failing to perform. To them, he has exhibited incompetence and disobedience, which could lead to his job being put on the line. And this is despite his avowed determination to serve them unconditionally. Even as he tried to throw up defence, the clatter of noise from the environment, coupled with emotion of his assessors denied him being heard clearly.
However, none of them cared to know what has become of their one- time amicable and loyal boy. Neither did they care to know what burden he was bearing. Would he have performed better if the four didn’t engage his services at the same time? But that was left for debate.
How does this relate to Buhari? It can be easily said that virtually, all that should be written or opinionated for an upcoming president in the circumstances that Nigeria finds itself have been done since March 28, 2015, when the much-vaulted election saw him clinch the excited prize. Whatever must have been put in for him all this while, terms of advice which have reportedly adorned his table can be better summarized as agenda from his admirers and his critics for a new helmsman of the most populated Black country in the world.
Anywhere, our sympathy must go for him. He has just emerged the winner of most canvassed poll at an era when much expectations and disappointments played roles and counter-roles in creating a new set of awareness among the populace. This is no thanks to the inability of the hitherto ruling gulag to have pointed out any single achievement in sixteen years that it has been sitting atop the commonwealth. This failure has made it possible for any other party with a candidate, who can flaunt a pedigree to easily wrestle mantle of leadership from it.
Without trying to stoke up any ill-feeling, it may be necessary to point out here that given the failure of the outgoing administration to cling on to any accomplishment out of the seven-point agenda it (by inheritance) came up with in 2007 and retained till today. The point has been made somewhere that not delivering on any of the promises created room for any serious-minded politician with a mantra of offering new things to reap from the much-needed change of the status quo of inertia, which is seen in almost all areas that the country needs improvement on.
However, given that much has been posted to Buhari, in secret and open memoranda or open letters or opinionated articles, and which are now estimated to have hit about 2000 as at April 25, he has more than enough to work with. But of all that I have come across, the one from a budding columnist, Alex Kachi, seems to have captured the essence of a template for performance for the soon-to-be sworn in President. And without trying to repeat his idea, which has advised the one-time Head of State to shun pressure to take up many items, he recommends two for him. But would I rather recommend one: a bohemia, which bears all other ills in its forte. Buhari has already termed this indiscipline/corruption and I cannot agree more.
Take this sample. Yours truly was stunned recently, when with a colleague, visited the headquarters of a parastatal for payment of service rendered to our firm, costing N300, 000. The voucher had been approved but officials would not process the cheque.
• Eke is Editor-in-Chief, e-Magazine online (www.e-magazine-voice.com)