by Stanley Azuakola
MEMO: TO ALL ELECTED PUBLIC OFFICIALS.
The Nigeria that you lead is a land of too many critics. Whoever came up with the concept of free speech had obviously never met Nigerians. Such impossible people! I salute your courage and humility in seeking to be their ‘servant leaders’.
They have come again. This time, they want repair of bad roads. They are complaining about the loss of man hours in traffic, the difficulty in transporting goods, the road accidents, and the loss of revenue to government coffers (as though you are not the government). They haven’t seen the other side of the story; otherwise they would have appreciated the benefits of bad roads to them. They would have revered you, am sure, instead of this reviling. I adjure your high-mightinesses not to pay them any heed; don’t buckle under their pressure or consider even for a minute the repair of any of the roads. Ok, maybe you can touch one or two, those leading directly to the state houses and assembly complexes, but that’s all. I’m sure you know why, however let me reiterate.
Nigeria roads must maintain their role as the backbone of government’s welfare policy for our policemen and roadside beggars. The clamorers for road repairs do not have the interest of these patriots at heart, otherwise why can’t they see how helpful the slowing down of vehicles at potholes is for beggars, policemen and their dependants. Are people so myopic that they don’t notice the huge savings the government makes from this scheme? Drafting and implementing a welfare policy for beggars and policemen is not desirable at this point at all. After all the little N20 or N50 that motorists drop do not remove anything from them, they should quit complaining and see it as Police Compensation and Appreciation Package (PCAP).
You know how abnormal and irregular the eating habits of Nigerians are. The man who takes 6 wraps of ‘eba’ before setting out for work in the morning would ordinarily be heavy, lazy and unproductive in the workplace. But thanks to our roads, the digestion process would be long completed before he reaches the office. I dare your critics to come up with a more effective health policy.
Our rugged roads could serve as a huge revenue source and foreign exchange earner for the nation. Let me explain. I’m sure you’re aware that amid fears of a terrorist attack in 2008, the Dakar Motor Rally was moved from Dakar to South America. Nigeria can immediately bid for its return to Africa, not in Dakar anymore but in Benin, Nigeria or some other Nigerian city noted for terrible roads. The kind of roads the competitors traverse cannot be found in South America or even Dakar but in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. We could realize millions of dollars yearly from tourist visits alone. The issue of terrorism doesn’t arise because despite the campaign of calumny against us by foreign media, the attacks within our shores haven’t been too serious. Didn’t you see how terrorists like Nasir El-Rufai were recently dealt with? There’s no cause for alarm.
Just remember that winning the bid depends on how well you package it. The best packaging is a Ghana-must-go bag. Every organization has an Amos Adamu. Locate him and grease his palms appropriately. Then rebrand the bid into something like “NIGERIA: GOOD PEOPLE, BAD ROADS.” Publicize our bad roads in such a way that those with good ones would pity their bad luck. They would praise our Good luck. The wisdom in this is that the money you could have used for unnecessary repairs would be channeled into paying consultants like Reno Omokiri and Oronto Douglas who will push this noble idea into new frontiers. In a few years, countries would be falling over each other to copy our model. For once, we would be leading an innovation.
We have more important things to do with our money. There are still ‘asho-ebis’ and T-shirts to be distributed with your humble faces crafted on them. (You know how important those materials are to our people in these times. Families really need materials bearing your names and faces to serve as point of contact when they’re praying for you.) There are still investigative and advisory committees to be formed and funded. NB: You don’t have to accept the recommendations of the committees.
Once again, I salute your Excellencies for your patriotism and service. I anticipate no change in your approach to governance. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Follow A Pinch… @stanleyazuakola