In governance, it is an ancient observation that a government and its structures can only get as good as those who staff it. As it would be more an aberration than a miracle for a calf to come from a crocodile, it would even be farther fetched to see a government transcending those who form it. This is because in government, the phrase ` garbage in, garbage out’ acquires even greater gravitas.
Nigeria`s federalism has been a festival of the farcical and the flawed – a freefall into high-level folly. With power unjustifiably concentrated in the center feast of the absurd always abound at the zenith of Nigeria`s state power.
With a center and its satellites aping far-flung federal states, and states hooked on monthly revenue allocations like some cheap but gripping opioids, it does not exactly take a soothsayer to see that it is the sore at the center that has left the scars in the satellites. The apple does not fall far from the tree after all.
As governance has struggled in Nigeria, tossed around and then torn apart by those for whom governance is all about perks and never the pain, Nigerians have been transfixed by the yawning gap in the country through which democratic goods fall and never return.
As successive federal governments have struggled to leave their mark in the lives of Nigerians, bad governance has also seeped into the states, with many do-nothing state governments mirroring the inertia at the center.
And, like ministers in the center, like commissioners in the states. The bad governance crippling many states in Nigeria has been gleefully borne on the shoulders of the commissioners who make up the governments and the nauseating tendency they have to blow hot and cold. Champion political appointees that they are, the expertise of many of them is in obsequiousness and odiousness.
On May 12,2022, as a murderous mob foaming at the mouth with righteous indignation over a perceived insult to religion descended on 22-year-old Ms. Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Home Economics education at the Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, beat her to death and burnt her to ashes, antennas around the country were especially pricked to pick up the soundbites of those whose words about the heinous murder would amount to something because of the positions they hold in the society.
Fearing harm to their political fortunes, many contenders in next year`s elections chose the convenient cowardice of silence over words pulsing with a warning for the enemies of the country. A leading contender for the presidential ticket of one of the major political parties in the country made a statement on one of his social media accounts before hastily taking it down as the backlash from a section of Nigerians ricocheted.
However, one of the most disturbing statements about the incident came from the mouth of Mr. Aliyu Tilde, the Commissioner for Education in Bauchi State. Mr. Tilde did not only express support for Ms. Deborah`s killers, he also combatively recommended psychiatric sessions for those who disagreed with him.
Mr. Tilde`s shameful take is yet another apocalyptic addition to the odious choir of government officials, clerics and everyday Nigerians who by their unfortunate words since the incident have contributed to Ms. Deborah`s gruesome fate as surely as if they held the stones, clubs and match sticks which sealed her fate with such indignity.
Mr. Tilde has been the commissioner for Education in Bauchi State for a couple of years now and were the Bauchi State Government serious about its education sector, Mr. Tilde would have since lost his job.
A supposedly respected northern intellectual, his mentality relentlessly and remorsely aired in the public betrays him as someone unfit to hold any public office. With someone like him who openly supports mob justice and religious fanaticism heading the Bauchi State Ministry Education, no one should wonder anymore why education in Bauchi State is where it is. He it is who has no respect for the rights of others to express themselves freely. He it is who needs a psychiatric examination cum evaluation.
The somewhat celebratory tones which some Nigerians have used while reacting to Ms. Yakubu`s murder must greatly alarm every well-meaning Nigerian who wants a united Nigeria. The road to Nigeria`s unity is a forbiddingly long one. This is because there are those who do not want a united country but only a country twisted into their grotesque images.
The battle to keep them from having their way is a constant one. To give it up is to give up the Nigeria of our dreams.