Yesterday on my Twitter handle, I announced that my response on the disengagement from Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) shall be the subject of discussion in my column today. So, where we are! Tuesday, December 10, 2019, my tenure as the chairman of AMCON would seem to have expired upon the nomination of Mr. Edward Adamu as the new chairman of the bad loan vehicle. News about this development came to me while in London in the middle of a crash education programme.
The negatively interesting aspect of it is the lamentations that trailed the announcement by some friends and associates who, in my view, had a disconnect between purpose of service and the relief that naturally accompanies the disengagement of an appointee with an alternative contact address. Barely 24 hours before the presidential nomination of a new chairman for AMCON over which I presided, Mr. Tunde Fowler was replaced in his chairmanship of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office by another appointee of Mr. President. Interestingly, I was disturbed with complaints and murmurs by some people who read lots of insinuations into the development and were apparently in a mourning mood, as if disengagement from a political appointment was tantamount to bereavement.
My position on the Fowler issue was simply appreciation of his service and contributions to the nation. In my view, he cannot and must not have any regrets once he is convinced of having discharged his duty meritoriously. The grumbling from the supposed well-wishers underscores the problematic aspect of Nigerians as a people who see appointments into political offices as open sesame to riches and an opportunity for self-enrichment.
Whereas, in saner climes, political offices are seen as opportunities to serve humanity, to the glory of God, in Nigeria, it is seen as an opportunity for self-enrichment. It is only in Nigeria that friends and “well-wishers” roll out the drums, make uniforms (aso ebi) and rent newspaper pages congratulating a new appointee or a newly elected public servant on his “rare achievement.”
The purpose of this outlandish display of craziness is just to ingratiate themselves with the appointee for him to remember each and every one of them in his “father’s kingdom,” which they consider political appointments to represent.
Representatives from his village, religious congregation, in-laws and several newly self-discovered relatives would bombard his doorstep in celebration of his new status and achievement. No one thinks of challenges the appointee is likely to meet in office or whether he would succeed in his responsibilities or not. At times, such nominees do not even know how to navigate the new terrain.
From this unfortunate moment, demands would start piling up on his back; those whose children and wards have been sent away from school for failing to pay school fees would appoint him an emergency Rockefeller. Those who want to celebrate birthdays, those who want to pay hospital bills and so many more would turn his doorstep to a Father Christmas yard where goodies from public coffers are meant to be shared in unrestrained generousity.