Between Governors And Housewives

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye  

What really is the difference between what housewives do for their families and what State Governors do in Nigeria? The answer, if you ask me, should be obvious, but I am very reluctant, for a very obvious reason, to answer it with just one word: None! Certainly, I do not want to start this Wednesday morning with placard-wielding housewives thronging the front of my office, protesting an unfair comparison.   And so, I will be fair. But, first, let’s look at one clear similarity: A husband labours, earns some money, invites his wife to one corner of their house, and gives her the “monthly allocation” for the family upkeep. Nigeria also takes its God-given oil, markets it, and then State Governors are invited to Abuja, to cart away their own “monthly allocations” for the upkeep of their respective States. 

 Is there any difference? Yes, I think there still is. At least, we now have wives who also work hard to help diversify the sources of   revenue for their families, unlike many Governors whose only understanding of governance is, like housewives of old, to sit still and eagerly await the monthly allocation from the Federation Account, a fraction of which they spend to make some impressions here and there, and then call press conferences and buy spaces in national newspapers to showcase their “wonderful performances.”


 A housewife in Plateau State: Who says she can’t be a refreshing

alternative to a thieving and inept Governor

They do N1 work and advertise it with N100.  It is really a great tragedy. Now, tell me: why should any Governor with any brains in his skull, and the slightest hint of self-esteem, expect me to clap for him for renovating (or even, in most cases, merely repainting) a few school buildings and filling a couple of potholes on some roads? Even if he builds new roads, new schools and hospitals, has he done anything extraordinary? Shouldn’t all those form   part of his routine duty?   By the way, what is he supposed to do with the billions he carts away from Abuja every month? Hide it in his wife’s bedroom, and then begin to use it to gallivant about town, to increase the number of his girlfriends and the leisure spots he had explored? Now, what extraordinary talent is required to pay salaries to workers (out of the billions duly packaged and given to someone who is an adult) or clean up a few streets in a State capital?  Even my small daughter in the Primary School can do better than that! Please, let’s stop turning ourselves into laughing stocks before sensible and civilized people out there. Assuming oil was not flowing beneath us here, and so no monthly allocations or “excess crude earnings” to share in Abuja, what then would be the work of a Governor in a Federal State like Nigeria?  Or, are we to take it that no one would have agreed to become a Governor if such a situation existed? Whatever happened to great ideas and insights for generation of opportunities and wealth creation with which talented administrators are distinguished? Why has Nigeria reduced governance to mere routine assignments like provision of power, potable water, roads and exercise books for  pupils? So, if I pay my children’s school fees or fuel my car, I should expect any person to applaud my “great achievements”, even though I sweat out the money, unlike the Governors that merely receive theirs?  Do our so-called leaders ever bother to listen to the vision statements of their colleagues outside here? Well, what more can I say? I was making these points the other day and somebody just looked me in the face and bellowed: You should be grateful that there are some Governors who are even willing to spend some bits of the money to fill potholes and repaint school buildings; what about those who just pocket the entire money and jet out of the country to dump them in coded accounts? What are you going to do about that? So, just praise those who agree to do something.  


 L-R Chairman of Governors’Forum, Dr Bukola Saraki (Kwara)[middle] Niger State Gov., Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Benue State Gov., Gabriel Turwua Suswan, Gov [Arc.]Nnenadi Sambo of Kaduna State, at Governors’ Forum meeting in Abuja [March 8, 2008]

Can you beat that? Does anyone see what our country has become? Maybe, our salvation might actually lie in the housewives whom we have always relegated to the background. Maybe, Nigeria would become better, if the Governors are immediately replaced with housewives and housewives with Governors.  As is evident, most husbands have little or nothing to complain about how their wives manage the “monthly allocations” in their homes. They return virtually everyday grateful that their homes are in good hands, and that virtually everything that ought to be done had been done. The housewives not only buy into their husband’s visions and aspirations for the prosperity of the home, they also generate their own ideas which any husband spurns to his own hurt, and would readily contribute their own lot to ensure their realisation.  But what majority of our Governors do is to just sabotage our hopes and aspirations with their boundless greed and callousness. They could be likened to irresponsible housewives who alienate themselves from their husbands’ good dreams, and ensure they never come to fruition. Instead of investing the “monthly allocations” to move the home forward, irresponsible housewives stash them away to prosecute their own selfish agendas. Some spend it on younger lovers or on other equally obscene preoccupations. At the end of the day, the home would suffer untold setback, and sadness and despair would then settle down as prominent guests.  This is the situation in many States today. No doubt, most Nigerians believe that their Governors are mostly wayward and underemployed. Some of them cannot even think beyond how to squander the monthly allocations on several indulgences of the baser sort. Others, seeking to “internally generate” revenue, would almost kill the people with taxes. Lagosians are yet to forget what they saw under Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The man almost taxed everything, including rats and cockroaches, that is, if he didn’t. Yet, Lagos remained the dirtiest and most chaotic State known to modern man. So, where did the money go? Well, imagine a housewife forcing the children to part with a larger chunk of their pocket-money to service her greed, frivolities and wild fancies.  


Gov Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State: This, too, is Governor in Nigeria….

I am not bothered that some people may laugh at my position today, but our Governors have failed us so much that I keep wondering if Nigeria’s political class is capable of ever producing a committed, altruistic and visionary leader with sound, workable ideas. Will Nigeria ever witness responsible leadership till the end of time?  I am glad that those who, like me, are almost giving up on Nigeria will agree with the analogy here today, because I have met several men who kept boasting that their lives are almost entirely managed by their wives, while they concentrate their entire energy accumulating resources for the family. Some say they don’t even know when they need new clothes, shoes or even undergarments. They would just return home, go to their wardrobes and discover that those things have been dully purchased and neatly placed at the right places for them. Would such a man be reluctant to fully appreciate, support and be fully committed to his wife? One man even told me that if his wife goes today, he would simply die. Now, these are not loafers or layabouts, but very successful and highly principled men managing very big and flourishing outfits.  Can’t these wives be made to transfer these managerial abilities to the State Houses, so we can be relieved of the empty noise makers encumbering the ground at those places today?  Now, who would you prefer: a housewife whose testimony you have heard, and whom you have not given any opportunity to prove her worth, or the Governor who has continually failed you? I repeat: perhaps, this nation may move forward if we shove aside all these loquacious parasites in our Government Houses and replace them with housewives, even if the latter did not go to school? If you ask me, I am yet to see anything our “highly educated” Governors have done to prove that they posses better ideas and abilities than even housewives in remote villages. And I am not joking.  Sadly, we are stuck with Governors with little or no ideas about what to do to move their various states forward. Some of them even appear so blank that one is left wondering whether they just woke up one morning and were told they had become Governors. Even when they want to impress you with some poorly plagiarized ideas, it would be too obvious they are yet to even comprehend the convoluted theories they are tormenting you with, so how then would you expect them to implement them. I am yet to see anything to make me believe that some Governors ever lose any sleep at all because of the enormous problems in their States, unlike a housewife that would even yoke herself with undue stress just because they are expecting a guest in the home.  


Former Gov Alams of Bayelsa: Tried and convicted for corruption

Indeed, any Governor in Nigeria with the slightest hint of commitment to and concern for the welfare of the masses would be wishing he had more than twenty-four hours in a day, because the problems are so much. Yet, our Governors are hopping around town without any care in the world, as if there are no very urgent matters craving their attention, attending one frivolous function or the other.  Have you heard that the Governor’s Forum is about to pour away N5.8 billion to build an owambe Secretariat for themselves in Abuja, where they would gather occasionally to laugh, hug backslap and generally have good time at our expense, before hitting town with the boys?   Have you also heard  that Gov Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State is frittering away N6.7 billion  to build himself a “befitting” Government House in Uyo, because, the equally magnificent one there now, built not too long ago, is beneath his status? That’s what they all think about. Men without the gravity of mind to appreciate the enormity of responsibility on their shoulders.  With so much money at their disposal them and without any sense of direction, all they can think about are vanities and  frivolous projects that do not advance the well-being of the masses. I wonder how they even muster the presence of mind to indulge in this revolting profligacy.  A housewife would certainly be more considerate and compassionate. Whoever unleashed this army of unrelenting leeches on the nation must be its greatest enemy. What a sad situation.  ================================== 


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