“Do not celebrate me; cry with me for my beloved country, Nigeria” Dr Adegoke Adegoroye

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

“Do not celebrate me; cry with me for my beloved country, Nigeria” Dr Adegoke Adegoroye

…..Words from a heart Heavy For a Positive/Better Nigeria, When will We Celebrate?

Courtesy Guardian Newspaper ‘How To Make Presidency More Efficient’

Sunday, 29 August 2010 00:00 From Martins Oloja, Abuja Bureau Chief News – National

A permanent secretary, who retired from the Federal bureaucracy, Dr Adegoke Adegoroye, at the weekend, has called for a radical overhauling of the Presidency for effective service delivery.

Adegoroye, who retired on Friday as Permanent Secretary of the FCT, was celebrated by the authorities and colleagues at the Banguet Hall of the Transcorp Hilton hotel, Abuja.

He had raised some dust in the early hours of Friday when he made unusual statements on the state of the nation in an addressed he concluded with the original title of a nine-page address: “Do Not Celebrate Me, Cry With Me For My Beloved Country.”

In the Jeremiad delivered in the presence of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Mahmud Yayale Ahmed, Adegoroye described as my “mentor and my tormentor” in the service, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammed, Chief Olu Falae, Former SGF, former FCT Minister Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, among others, Adegoroye declared that Professor Wole Soyinka’s lamentation in 1984, when he turned 50, that he belonged to the “wasted generation” was an understatement when juxtaposed with the fact that the Nobel laureate was after all lucky, quite unlike many Nigerians today.

“It is now 26 years on, and it is my turn to lament that I belong to the wasted generation. Wole Soyinka had the luxury of winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, just two years later, in 1986, as a global confirmation that he was, after all not a waste but a gift to his generation.  I am not that lucky; just like most of us here….”

Adegoroye, who, as permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Education in 2008, delivered a controversial president’s address at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife as Visitor’s representative, took a hard and scholarly look at his 35 years of service and declared that it was a waste after all because, like his past colleagues, there is nothing to celebrate in Nigeria they have purportedly served.

His words: “Where is the effect of my 35 years of Service and of the service of other Public Servants before me who have now left the stage?  In my 35 years of Service how have we progressed as a nation.

I have seen many of the thriving industries of the 70s shut down or relocated to other nations, from Pharmaceutical industries, to the Textiles industries, etc.

“I have seen our National Carriers, the Nigerian Airways; Nigerian National Shipping Line gone into oblivion.

Our cities have become less safe.

“Our moral values have been seriously eroded.

Individual wealth has blossomed at the expense of social wealth and we do not find it absurd to drive our Hummer Jeeps and Rolls Royce etc, pass garbage dumps on our pot-holed roads to the chagrin of fellow community members who can barely eke a living.

“I have seen on the national scene and political landscape the sudden emergence of people without traceable antecedents and pedigree; people of questionable track record, making it to top positions in government.

“Jos, Plateau state, the melting pot of racial diversity in the 70s is now a smoldering cauldron of ethnic cleansing, where we have turned our vibrant energy on ourselves….”

He did not stop there without providing insight into why he was lamenting. These are his reasons and rationale within the figurative context of 35 years:

• “…the 35 years of Service that we are celebrating here is enough to give birth to a child and install him/her as Governor or President of the Senate i.e. No.3 Citizen in the Land!

Certainly  5 years more than what is required to give birth to and install that child as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

• Please remember that we already had a Head of State at 32 and two others who got into that position before attaining the age of 40.   And the 35 years we are celebrating is 35 full years of Service, exclusive of what is required to prepare for that Service.  In the case of most of us, Public Servants seated here, and certainly in my case, the education qualification to commence that service is not school certificate or its equivalent but University Degree.

• Also note that the 35 years we are talking about is more than a generation.  More than what it took to transform:

Singapore from 3rd World to First; China to move now to 2nd Largest economy in the World; and Dubai, Malaysia and Brazil from sleepy to vibrant economies, etc. The situation for my country Nigeria contrasts sharply with above listed countries….”

The Akure Prince and pioneer Director-General/ Permanent Secretary of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) who presented a classical book on his service years entiled, Beyond Yours Faithfully on the same valedictory occasion also quoted from a recent revelation from a published letter of Professor Jubril Aminu in Professor Akinkugbe’s recently launched book, Footprints, to drive home his points.

His words: “From the Olu Falaes, the Fikas, Ahmed Joda, and Philip Asiodu, believe me, they, like most of us sitting, all set out to do good; And yet at the end of the day, at the end of our services, what we are left with, are unfulfilled dreams and lost opportunities for the nation.

“Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe recently launched his book, Footprints and Footnotes, an Autobiography.  In the book is a letter written by Prof. Jibril Aminu, his former student at Ibadan.  The letter was written in 1995 on the occasion of Prof. Akinkugbe’s retirement.  Prof. Aminu, as you all know, is a first class scholar – the best in his medical class at Ibadan; and I thought he had great and privileged opportunities as a Nigerian:

• Pioneer Executive Secretary of the National University Commission;

•Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri;

•Minister of Education,  Minister of Petroleum Resources, etc.

But he said: “…..I was fortunate to know you, to work with you and to benefit greatly from that association.  Unfortunately, for all of us, we exit from public service leaving the country, the institutions and organisations in which we worked and society at large worse off than we found each of them.  But that does not mean that we did not try.  It is just that the man- made adversarial forces have been so formidable and so overwhelming….”

But Dr Adegoroye, who was also honoured at the weekend with Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Award for Courage and Solidarity at a Head of Service Dinner in Hilton, did not allow the diatribe he delivered to frustrate him, as he suggested copiously how to overhaul the presidency for maximum effectiveness.

His words: “Arising from what I have witnessed in working at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and across Ministries, and based on my apolitical stance on issues, these are my humble views on the way forward.

“On the Bureaucracy:

First, we must recognize and begin to operate in the true meaning of Presidency.  In order to do this, we must recognise that the President is never the wisest, most intelligent or even most experienced person in the land.  Reagan was not; and Obama is certainly not.

“Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Civil Service of the Federation and Chief Executives of Agencies should be conscious of the import of their offices as extensions of the Presidency, performing delegated functions and should therefore demonstrate enough confidence and courage to carry out their tasks, and desist from what I would call pendulum delegation; (i.e. reciprocally delegating back to your principal the authority already conferred upon you by your appointment).

“By our current practice of always seeking the approval of the President on issues that ordinarily should have been dispatched with at the levels of Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Head of Civil Service of the Federation, if the President of Nigeria is to function effectively, he would require an immediate transmutation to a Hydra-headed President, with at least 50 heads, one for each Ministry and Central office and Major Corporations!

“Frequent seeking of approvals for issues that are squarely within the purview and authority of our offices, smacks of either lack of confidence, seeking of an alibi or official cover-up for untoward intents.

“What is needed is a strong commitment to abide by the Oath of office that we all swore to at the commencement of our tenure; an oath which in the constitution prescribes that we “will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ………and will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decision…….that I will do right to all manner of people according to Law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will……….etc.

“As political appointees and public office holders, all we need to guide us in doing our jobs are covered in this Oath, and the system should demonstrate courage to hold each one of us accountable to the Oath.

“It is imperative for the president to bring his weight to bear on both the Federal Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Head of Service to enable system have competent civil servants who can serve the nation with confidence, courage, integrity, absolute professionalism for the protection of national interest and public trust.”

“Besides, the man who obtained his doctorate from Vancouver British Columbia University, Canada suggested that the transition programme should not end with throwing away all the ministers and advisers of the outgoing government to have institutional memory beyond the permanent secretaries who are not FCC members, anyway, His words of advice:

“On Transition from one Administration to the other: The current practice of exiting all Ministers and political appointees at end of tenure of a sitting President has robbed our country of the immense benefit inherent in institutional memory and it places the new administration at the mercy of residual actors who most often end up as information viruses, as they are more inclined to serving themselves and settling old scores with rivals who have now exited.

“Permanent Secretaries, being non-federal executive council members do not have full complement of institutional memory. The most efficient way is to ensure that we allow in-coming administration the benefit of having a transition team composed of both the bureaucratic and political appointees as residual actors for the in-coming administration. My suggestion is to turn key Ministers of an outgoing Administration into a core group of Honorary Advisers, for a period of six to 12 months as complement to sitting permanent secretaries to be at the disposal of the incoming Administration to cross check on critical issues of governance.”

The man the SGF, Yayale Ahmed described as one of the best officers in the federal bureaucracy also noted that if a democratic system is people-centred, there will be stability.

His treatise: “On the political side: We must allow the will of the people to prevail.  Our years of manipulating choice of candidates, from the ward level to the Presidency and going on to determine the outcome of the election proper, should now convince us of the futility of our actions as it has only ended up heating the polity and eroding public trust and respect for the political leadership.

“We must shun the pretence of praying to God to give us good leaders while at the same time we constitute ourselves to playing God by determining what should be.  If we can submit to allowing the will of the people to prevail, even if the best man has not been elected, because it is the will of the people, the same people would easily be mobilised to rally round their choice and steer him/her to success.”

The former Director-General of FEPA, who was advised to join politics by Yayale and El-rufai at the colourful occasion, received a standing ovation when he berated the political leaders who are clamouring for state creation.

His alternative for that political gimmick:

“Anybody who loves Nigeria should not advocate State creation.  Instead, we should be working towards state aggregation into Regions, to enable us mobilise and shift resources from bureaucracy to development.”

The former Permanent secretary in Culture and National Orientation Ministry, who said he would not like to join politics also talked about the danger of toying with mediocrity concept in the polity as it erodes confidence in the system.

His homily: “As a matter of principle, in all we do, as a nation, we must give room for the best person or candidate to emerge in positions of governance and bureaucracy.  Our current and pervading culture of connection and phantom appointments is depriving Nigeria of the spirit of individual self determination, which is a core ingredient of nation building.

“Let us all, in the name of Almighty Allah, appeal to those adversorial forces that Jibril Aminu spoke about to Let Nigeria be; Let us all Leave politics out of religion and take religion out of politics.  (It is an offence in Singapore to talk on ethnicity or religion in Politics).

“In choosing and electing our Leaders, let us take the benefits interred in generational energy, balance and weigh Experience and Youthful Energy against the encumbrances of being too long on the political stage.

“I believe that if we can try to abide faithfully by the above stated suggestions, we should be on our way to doing what Singapore and other countries I have mentioned above have done.

“Until then, I would rather say, do not celebrate me; cry with me for my beloved country, Nigeria”

Rhealyz Naija

Be Positive   Do Something   Show Some Love    Start Now


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