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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Shifting From The Status Quo

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Governance is serious business. It demands gravitas, rigour, diligence, and urgency. Those saddled with the responsibility of managing public trust must do so with circumspection, sobriety, and solemnity. The mood of the country, today, dictates temperance and moderation in dopamine-raising fiestas by those so entrusted with public utility.

At a time of national disquiet, wild celebrations over public responsibility are simply not the way to show attunement to prevailing concerns. Public service, ordinarily, should command less festivity and more solemnity.

But there seems to be a shifting from the status quo.

On Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesman, said the President would not hesitate to sack any underperforming appointee. He said: “The President has set the benchmarks. The question now is about enforcement, and the President has shown, as he did during his time in Lagos State as governor, that he is not someone who is afraid to fire anybody. He is not somebody that is afraid to levy quick sanctions to ensure that they get the results that he wants, because, ultimately, if this administration fails, they will not say a minister failed or a set of ministers failed. They will say President Bola Tinubu failed, and he will not accept failure.”

Ngelale’s statement stirred reactions – I believe for its unorthodoxy. In the past, non-performing public officials, some of them self-confessed, enjoyed uninterrupted tenures, and even re-engagement. An anomaly that hangs over the national consciousness like a wraith. But there are knowing signs that there is a shifting from that status quo.

At the inaugural federal executive council meeting, President Bola Tinubu gave members of his cabinet their marching orders. A statement issued by the presidency quoted the president to have said: “Emphasising that anyone thinking that appointments are fixed term appointments are mistaken, the President expressed confidence that the carefully selected cabinet members know that his government is a new one with a new approach and a new mandate to deliver for Nigeria without any lamentation or excuses.”

The President was also reported to have told his ministers: “You and I know that expectations are high, and these are tough times. We must work hard and move ourselves to create a buoyant economy that will serve Nigeria.”

And clearly discerning the mood of country, the President directed the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to freeze the processing of visas for all government officials seeking to travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly without proof of direct participation in UNGA’s official schedule of activities. This was said to be a part of measures to reduce the cost of governance. Under a tonnage of hardship effectuated by some very necessary and compelling reforms, Nigerians have asked the government to show concern by cutting the cost of governance. I believe the government’s gesture will be a continuum.

Things should be done differently and are beginning to be done differently. A new order from what it used to be. The otiose status quo should not be re-invented or perpetuated. Nigerians deserve a breath of crisp oxygen.

This shift from the status quo should advance further, bringing vibrancy, fecundity, and vigour to our system.

A shift from the status quo implies public officials should consider themselves as servants of the people, and not their sovereign; submitting to transparency and accountability.

A shift from the status quo means the business of governance must be done with private-sector discipline; goal-oriented, performance-driven, and with clear targets. The administration is already bringing this inclination to governance.

A shift from the status quo dictates fiscal discipline, prudence, patriotism, and competence in the management of our finances.

A shift from the status quo implies the pursuit of the national interest, unity, and peace of the country at all times.

A shift from the status quo dictates sustaining the stimulus of Renewed Hope. And it is a good start.

Good governance is the kernel of Nigeria’s development. Effective leadership will address a good number of today’s nettlesome challenges. The vexing problems with education, healthcare, security, unemployment, and electricity can be managed or palliated with responsible leadership.

But there is also the need for citizens to shift from the status quo. There is the place of leadership and there is the place of followership in building a country. Citizens have as much responsibility as the leadership. But it is fundamental for the leadership to be the rallying crucible; to be the trigger and nucleus for nation-building.

Nigerians across stations, persuasions and ideological and political leanings will need to play their role to keep the wheel steady and in forward motion. The civil society, the media, and we, occupiers of the office of the citizen, have our part to play. Nigeria is our collective patrimony. It is our responsibility to make it work. It is our responsibility to help the country blossom.


By Fredrick Nwabufo

Fredrick Nwabufo, aka Mr One-Nigeria, is the CEO of Line and Link Consulting, and publisher of TheLink.

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