Away with 100 days hype, please



WHY the avoidable expenditure of time resource and scarce recourses? That is the question making the rounds now. There is a frenzy of activities to foist socio-economic and political fantasy world on the people, to showcase quick-win projects, knowing very well that within a short period of time those projects will be down. In the frenzy, the principle of thoroughness is sacrificed on the altar of expediency.

Yes, the inauguration of the President and some State governors on May 29, 2015 tapers to 100 days this September. Everywhere and at every turn, the mantra is 100 days in office.

Ever since one of America’s president initiated 100 days in office, the fad has caught on. Both federal and some state governments now fall over each other with messages and special packages of “America wonder achievements” within the milestone of 100days in office.

It is doubtful that a cost-benefit analysis would uphold the wisdom of such a theatrical distraction, with more heat than light. What will the leaders be expected to do within the 100 days in office that will radically depart from their inaugural speeches, firming up their plans and probably girding their loins, especially when some elected officers are yet to wriggle out of the conundrum of their circumstances or secure their legitimacy? Proponents of 100 days in office are quick to depose that the trend in modern governance is to embrace openness and accountability.

They argue that those charged with the sacred duty of directing the ship of the state at the various levels must be prepared to account for their actions, misactions and inactions.

Their insistence is hinged on the fact that in a democracy, power belongs to the people and public officials hold their positions only on trust. And that the mantra of 100 days in office will keep our leaders on their toes.

Germane as this point of view may seem, it suffers fundamental denudation. Leadership and good governance have a lot more to do with clarity of vision, diligence of preparation and earnestness of efforts than with orchestrated propaganda and bravado.

Government we all know is a human invention for actualising the collective aspiration of a people. As such, good governance is not about the capacity of politicians to create the illusions of magic; it is about the capacity and willingness of leaders to summon human ingenuity and steadfast efforts in tackling and overcoming the many problems that face society.

As a citizen of Nigeria of Enugu State extraction, permit me to focus on Enugu State. Enugu State as in Nigeria is peopled by cerebrally gifted men and women, prone to many possibilities including mischief, yet endowed with plenty of resources.

This has made leadership in the state not only attractive but also downright challenging and intriguing. Everybody appears a natural critic. Every dialectal nationality or community is skilled in the chant of marginalization.

Everybody seems to have an answer to the puzzle of leadership. At the end, the leader is made to work the cross. Of recent, Governor Ugwuanyi was the butt of these critics.

He was taunted as being slow and indecisive. Of course, such critics’ opinions were far from objective. They lose sight of the wisdom inherent in the age long global dictum; “slow and steady wins the race”.

Just as a good athlete surveys the pitch before take-off in a race, in order to know what favourable direction to take as soon as the whistle is blown, so also when a leader comes to power he has to look at a number of things to have a clear focus as to where to start even as he may not have come to power as a tabla rassa.

He needs some time to look at situations and be advised properly. He has to get his acts together, set the pace, and build confidence before stepping on the gas pedal.

To do otherwise will be tantamount to jumping into a boxing arena blindfolded. Did I hear anybody say, “it’s no rocket science”? Well rocket science could be said to be the simplest thing to accomplish. With an array of formulae strictly and carefully applied, you decode it.

But matters are never that simple in leading people. Leading people is far more complex because of the dynamics of a society. People have to be galvanised to move in concert, to rise above selfishness, to identify common causes and to pull together to achieve them.

Otherwise their energies and capabilities end up at cross-purposes, visiting all manner of clogs in the wheel of progress. In other words, dealing with human beings defies the precision of mathematics.

This perhaps explains Isaac Newton’s lamentation when he invested in shares and shortly after the stock market crashed and he lost heavily. He confessed that he could calculate the motions of the heavenly bodies but not the madness of the human mind.

That’s just a whiff of the vagaries/nuances of human nature in the management of man and material. Cognisant of the pros and cons of 100 days in office and the criticism in some quarters that elected officers should talk less and do more, and not being a loquacious person by nature, Governor Ugwuanyi has been working assiduously

. Most important, he has used the opportunity of the inauguration address and other fora to articulate specific areas and issues he tends to pursue with relentless resolve, hence his pragmatic approach in addressing issues since he assumed office.

In the light of the above, Governor Ugwuanyi should not be stampeded into quick-win projects or distracted with the hype of 100 days in office.

He should continue to profit from the adage that says “whoever plans well shall not fail” to put appropriate planning first and speedy execution second; to enable Ndi-Enugu to go to sleep at night, knowing full well that when they wake up they have a government taking them forward. • Anekwe wrote from Odenigbo Nsukka.

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