20April2014

 

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Kill The Continuity Syndrome

Editor:A situation in which a successor must follow the footsteps of his predecessor has its strong and weak points. The strong point is that the successor would not abandon all completed and yet-to-be completed projects. But, following a predecessor’s footsteps blindly can be as retrogressive as abandoning everything done by one’s predecessor. The solution is an objective and dispassionate evaluation of whatever one meets on ground, including the cost, financial and otherwise.

I take Kwara State as an example. The former governor, Akanbi Lawal, did his best in terms of road construction and provision of potable water, which appeared unprecedented in the state capital. He set a standard, which his predecessor could only ignore at his or her own peril. Yet, he also did some things that should be undone. For instance, he dualised some single lanes without expanding them, which created gridlocks in some streets in Ilorin. Indeed, that was the only reason I did not regret he lost his re-election bid. What is more, that was the first thing I know his successor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, immediately undid.

Unfortunately, after Saraki’s two-term tenure, the song that rent the air from his supporters was: “continuity”, and his successor who he appeared to have handpicked, Dr. AbdulFatah Ahmed, seems to have no choice but to follow his footsteps, strictly. What that means is that Ahmed cannot undo whatever was done by Saraki, whether good or bad. That is the tyranny of “continuity”. It is idolatrous, because it makes an individual to become a tin god, which is the trademark of dictatorship.

Today’s idols live in expensive houses built from misappropriated billions of public funds. Some ex-military leaders who played with public funds are one category. Today’s rulers build houses for God from public funds or ask public functionaries to come and “open” the house. Yes, it is corruption, and that is why the church and mosque cannot guide the politicians aright.

How the Kwarans will overcome the dynasty trap is yet to be seen. Continuity syndrome? No, it does not exist in University of Ilorin, particularly since that is a federal university. You can trust that if it is tried, the labour unions, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), will kick against it. Yes, the union will function normally as an organ of the national ASUU; University of Ilorin is better by far. One Dr. Imam Abubakre Aliagan, from that university, is always condemning what he calls “continuity in error” (in his Friday radio programme), while the continuity drummers turn blind eye to its negative aspects. To say that corruption is not the only issue in bad governance is either a psychiatry case, or callousness at its worst.

Pius Abioje, University of Ilorin.