Osita Chidoka a Minister? Oh no!!!

I do not know Osita Chidoka personally. So this is not an attack on Osita Chidoka the person. On the contrary, it is an attack on Osita Chidoka the public administrator, who has recently been nominated for confirmation as a Minister by President Goodluck Jonathan. People say he will fill the aviation slot vacated by Princess Stella Oduah and this scares the hell out of me. Why? Well, in his time as FRSC boss, he presided over some dodgy reforms in our road transport sector. I speak of his vehicle registration and driver’s licensing efforts.

 

1. Vehicle Registration – I remember in the late 80s, when my dad changed the registration number of his Renault 9 GTL from OY 727 X to BF 727 BDJ. Dr. Olu Agunloye (him I know personally) had been appointed Corps Marshal and this move was ostensibly to fix the government’s database and computerise all the records. Over the past 2 years or so, Osita Chidoka, has been telling us that the FRSC has been absolute rubbish at keeping records, so many of the Agunloye-time plates were not fully captured on issue. The FRSC lost many records in transit between the various licensing centres and the headquarters in Abuja. The worst part was that Nigerians had to pay to fix this wholly government-sided mess. Chidoka’s people then swapped the positioning of the characters on the license plate (e.g. to BDJ 727 BF) and slapped a messy green watermark in the shape of the Nigerian map behind them. Of course, the process could only be completed on time through touts. Several courts have ruled the process not to be properly backed by law but this being Nigeria, it’s probably safer to be our usual docile selves and just get the new plates to prevent harassment on the highways.

 

2. Driver’s Licenses – Again, Chidoka decided to decree a uniform expiry date on driver’s licenses, regardless of actual expiration and demand that we all get new ones. Cue the frantic rush to procure the interim papers that say you went to a state-approved driving school and passed a test (LOL, ROTFL), and thereafter be given an appointment to report for data capture. This FRSC data capture is the loooooooooooooooongest process in the world. You are assigned a date several months in the future only for that date arrive and the venue is a typical disorderly mess. Why there are so few centres, why the FRSC refuses to harness 2014 technology, why getting your picture and fingerprints recorded takes longer than NASA plans a rocket launch is absolutely beyond me.

 

I reckon Chidoka will have similar “reforms” in mind for the aviation sector. All aircraft will need recertification from a single authorised testing centre on the Bebi strip ( all 100 metres of it). So a tout will take your original papers to Bebi where there’ll be a couple of liaison officers from the government agency all in on the massive racket. They will frequently go on 3-day lunch breaks, you know, just because. I am not saying Chidoka is racketeer. However the implementation of his reforms to date has empowered racketeers.

 

Reform is a great thing. In fact, the good book encourages us to daily renew our minds. Reform is scriptural. Amen! But a reform that preserves the old, stinking order is no renewal. A reform that merely shrouds the status quo in a cloak of pseudo-progressiveness is utterly condemnable.

 

I have read somewhere that Chidoka has a masters degree in some relevant transportation subject from George Mason, so perhaps his attempts to reform are killed by the septic environment of the Nigerian civil service. Perhaps that will be his challenge when he becomes a Minister – to Nigeria-proof his reforms. Otherwise, do not be surprised if in 6 months from now, you will barred from flying locally without the snazzy new Biometric Utility Long Life Safety Harnessing Identity Ticket. You see my acronym?

The March RoundUp

 THE BIRTHDAY OF TEX

We start our roundup this month with the most awesome thing about March – one celebrated one’s birthday and commemorated the occasion with a limerick:

 

There once was a tweeter named Tex

His specialty was in the lex

On Ides minus 2

His birthday, woohoo!

So dig deep & pull out some cheques!

 

Sadly, no cheques yet. Maybe next year…

 

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Nigeria’s controversial national conference started this month. After squabbling about religion, marginalisation, voting rules, respect for elders, the right to doze off without the press covering it AAAAAND receiving their first allowances of N1.4million each, it does not seem as if things will get moving for another week yet. Still, we celebrate some of the more famous delegates in the limericks below:

 

When Jimmy was head of the sports

His case shoulda gone to the courts

A great innovator

Showed a generator

When started, man, it teleports.

 

A cross-dressing fugitive man

Was impeached then forgiven and

Despite his disgrace

Will yet be the face

Of Bayelsa’s conferencing band

 

What really is two-thirds 19?

Is it 12 or is it 13?

Ol’Richie returns

To raise these concerns

When all the delegates convene

 

An ex-gov’ning husband of judge

In landmarking judicial sludge

Forever denied

The risk of being tried

An “elder statesman”, oh what fudge!

 

OOH LA LA!

After being dubbed a specialist in failure by the Special Punk, Jose Mourinho, Gooners all over  the world licked their chomps in anticipation of the showdown between Arsenal and Chelsea. Like the protagonist in a Kung-Fu movie, we all expected Arsene Wenger to “take his revenge”. The prospect received additional spice because it was Arsen’s 1000th game in charge of Arsenal. Things didn’t quite play out as expected. In fact, Arsenal shipped 6 goals without reply that day, prompting Professeur Wenger to attempt dodging the post-match press conference. The following limerick, as salve for our North London wounds…

There once was a French coach named Wenger

In-club for a thousand game bender

Got stuffed by José

Well, hip hip hooray

Our specialist, legend forever

 

ROAD SAFETY REFORM MEETS ROADBLOCK

A learned colleague recently obtained a judgement from the Federal High Court, restraining the Federal Road Safety Corps from impounding cars that do not have the new number plates. You can read the story here. Unconstitutional and illegal. Does this mean that cars with the new plates are improperly registered? We cannot say. Will the FRSC adhere to the judgement? We’ll just have to wait and see. Will you get a refund for the unconstitutional and illegal number plates on your car? This limerick is for you.

It turns out our old number plates

Now don’t have expiry dates

But no reimbursement

Will come from the gov’ment

To those who had paid the new rates

 

“KORO” LAMENTS MARGINALISATION IN LAGOS

Senator Ambassador Honourable Musiliu Obanikoro was in the press twice this month. Luckily, we feature both events in our roundup. In one, he is reported as lamenting the dearth of “shonz of de shoil”, indigenes of Lagos, in the management of the State’s affairs. Perhaps Lagosians should have their own sovereign conference to resolve this matter…

It’s something that makes Koro bitter

How Aliens in Lagos now litter

The armchairs of power

Indigenes, this hour

Must rise to defend this bullshitter

 

Koro reportedly also played a role in the “did-he-didn’t-he” that followed reports of the resignation of the newly appointed defence minister (Koro is his junior minister, his expertise in defending, uhm, his fellow Lagosians coming in very useful here).  The minister, retired General Gusau, quickly denied news of his resignation, but something very clearly happened between the ministers and the joint chiefs as news of their reconciliation was roundly received with relief. In honour of the purported resignation however, the following –

Nigeria’s joint chiefs weren’t inclined

To meet with Gusau, how unkind

The head of defence

In pure common-sense

He picked up his pen & resigned

 

NATIONAL IMMIGRATION SERVICE [SHAM] RECRUITMENT TRAGEDY

In a truly heart-wrenching sequence of events, the National Immigration Service charged 6 million applicants N1000 each, so that it could invite 500,000 thousand of them to a test at various stadiums around the country, intending to offer only about 4,000 of them employment.  There were stampedes in almost each stadium, 19 people died and hundreds more were injured. Now, first question is, how the hell do the NIS, who have 2 people stamping each passport at the airports, need 4,000 more staff? Then, where did the Minister for the Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, find the nerve to come on television and blame the multiple stampedes on the “impatience” of the applicants? Then, our president, Goodluck Jonathan, incomprehensibly decides to award 3 employment slots to the families of those who died and automatic employment for everyone injured in the stampede. Unsurprisingly, he nearly caused another stampede at the National Hospital, with people feigning injury and clamouring to be put on the automatic employment list… [*deep, deep, breaths*]

 

A stampede as stamping HQ

Recruited for stampers brand new

Like dreams they were crushed

As applicants rushed

To 19, we now say adieu

 

A stampede, as stamping HQ

Recruited, but all went askew

500k tried

And then 19 died

The polity heated, a-stew.

 

The head of our troubled interior

In garbage from oral posterior

Has asked us to blame

The dead & now lame

And ignore his motives, ulterior

 

The head of our country has tried

In satire personified

To placate the mob

By giving a job

To families of seekers that died

 

Have u been maimed in a stampede?

Or just maimed, but still full of need?

Then go to Abuja

The gov’ment will give ya

A job as their penance for greed

 

May the souls of the departed rest in peace. May those whose negligence led to their deaths not receive the customary golden parachute and silver handshake from the federal employer.

 

AND IN INTERNATIONAL NEWS…

President Goodluck Jonathan went to Europe and informed his audience that corruption in Nigeria is blown out of proportion; things aren’t as bad as we know them to be… Okay, then.

Our country is full of distortion

Especially talking corruption

We exaggerate

Discombobulate

And blow it all out of proportion

 

… and Russia is giving the rest of the world its middle finger in Ukraine.

There oncce was a country, ‪#Crimea

Whose borders’ll now disappear

Cos Vladimir Putin

Is sticking the boot in

Regardless of ‪#Ukraine‘s despair

 

As they say in Russia, dasvidaniya! Until the next roundup.