Tolu Ogunlesi: Five random things (YNaija Frontpage)

I’m still a bit confused – is LASTMA now saying they have new information that points to the fact that Mrs. Johnson didn’t in fact crush the official? What happens to the LASTMA officials who claimed she did? Is the case going to just end like that?

I’m devoting this week to a few random thoughts, which may or may not have anything to do with greatness:

1. IBM recently decided to open its first African research lab. It chose Kenya, not Nigeria. As BusinessDay has chosen to remind us, the economy of the entire Kenya is smaller than even that of Lagos. But clearly Kenya is a more favourable location. Its not surprising, if not for obvious reasons Aso Rock should be based in Accra, where it will spend less on diesel, and where its guaranteed better security. These things are not rocket science. “Foreign Investment” is not what anyone should have to go junketing around the world in search of. You create the climate for it, simple. Make things work (electricity, universities, broadband), and not only will the IBMs come, the home-grown Googles too will emerge.

2. What’s the benchmark for government performance in Nigeria? When I tweeted, yesterday, that the Ogun State government was building the state’s first flyover in Abeokuta, I got a number of responses along the line of: Is that what the people need? Will that change the people’s lives, etc. It got me thinking. Apart from confirming that there’s nothing any politician can do that will please Nigerians; it also throws up questions: Is a government not supposed to combine building roads and bridges with direct efforts at tackling poverty? Should it be either-or? I’d like to work on a benchmark mechanism for assessing performance at local, state and national levels. Our politicians are getting away with hype and silliness, in the absence of credible means of performance evaluation. Does buying okadas for young men count as a dividend of democracy? Should it? I think NEPAD has done something in that regard for African states, with its peer review mechanism.

3. I’ve been joking about how, the way Governor Fashola is going with these traffic laws in Lagos, we’re all going to end up in jail someday. All of us. We’ll be having conversations like: “So what are you in for? Me I ate gala.” “Me I played Wizkid too loud” (er, no, playing music too loud will not yet lead you to jail, unless you’re an okada rider, so consider this a joke).

With this in mind – the array of fines that LASTMA will be extorting from us – I have an idea for a LASTMA insurance scheme. Every month you’ll pay a premium of N1,000, to obtain comprehensive coverage for LASTMA fines. N12,000 per annum for coverages seems like an excellent deal.

Still on LASTMA. The agency reportedly dropped charges against Lagos banker, whom it accused of killing one of its officials. I’m still a bit confused – is LASTMA now saying they have new information that points to the fact that Mrs. Johnson didn’t in fact crush the official? What happens to the LASTMA officials who claimed she did? Is the case going to just end like that? If there had been no outcry, would Mrs. Johnson currently be facing a false charge of manslaughter? I’m not saying she’s totally faultless – she’s not contending the fact that she was guilty of a traffic violation (she was apprehended for driving in the wrong direction along a ‘one-way’) – but surely that and a manslaughter charge are miles apart?
Now spare a minute to think of Nigeria’s hordes of falsely accused persons; who may not have the clout to attract the kind of publicity Mrs Johnson attracted? Remember the Apo 6; Igbo traders murdered by police in Abuja and then passed off as armed robbers?

4. It is Sallah. One of those many seasons of celebration in Nigeria during which our politicians ply us with watery hope syrup. This and that about how Nigerians need to “unite” and “pray”, bla bla. I’ve just listened to the president and his deputy on the radio, talking about Nigeria’s impending greatness. It sounds so hollow I wonder how they manage to keep a straight face. They’re so used to telling us what they think we should do they have no time to listen to us tell them what we think they should be doing.

5. Talking about what we think the government should be doing, may I seize the opportunity to plead with the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works, to please stop playing politics with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. That road, arguably the busiest and one of the most important in this country, has lain in disrepair for years, in spite of a concession agreement to fix it. What is happening with the agreement? Bicourtney says the government is to blame for the delay in the kick-off. The government itself doesn’t seem keen to see that road fixed, sadly.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (3)

  1. "Our politicians are getting away with hype and silliness, in the absence of credible means of performance evaluation." that says it all!

  2. On Point 4: Still haven't found a reason to unmute my TV when the government officials come on air…

  3. Tolu, I agree with you on point number – if I were a senator, I would sponsor a bill to move Aso Rock to Kenya (and maybe Ghana) for the same reasons as you have stated and perhaps a few more. On point number two, I will be happy to lend my thoughts to the development of a mechanism for measuring government performance.

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