IF EVERYTHING YOU DO TURNS TO DROSS
Let’s begin with the renaming of Unilag to Moshood Abiola University (MAUL).
That was supposed to be a good thing. It was supposed to be an honour to a man and his people and a nation. It was supposed to be a lot of things, all of them good. But see how terribly wrong that went. Without consulting with the true stakeholders, you just go and do something so high handed, and expect them to be grateful. Well, they were having none of it. And for once, your advisers earned their pay because they must have asked you to back down. But that was such a huge embarrassment.
Now look at this Chibok girls’ parents 100 million Naira brouhaha. Haba. The whole story, from the setup of the meeting, if news reports and gossip (thin line) are to be believed, down to this tussle about the sharing of the money, it is all a downright shame.
Here is how it was supposed to be a good thing. I believe money exchanged hands, I do. I do not think that money should have been offered at all. But I refuse to be elitist about this, who am I to say don’t give them money. It is up to the parents whether or not they know what is at stake by taking the money, and if they can present a united front if they choose to turn it down.
I am dizzy enough to choose to believe that it was not meant as a bribe. If this is true and the government had nothing to hide or be ashamed of, here is what I think could have been done differently;
- Obstruction; keeping the press out was troubling enough. The thing is this, media houses have to survive, and if you don’t give them material, they will make up their own, but they will continue to tell stories. It is that simple. What on earth was the rationale in keeping the press out of the meeting?
- Disclosure; I believe that the money should have been given with as much fanfare as the rest of the meeting commanded. No cloak and dagger, ‘don’t tell anybody o’ kind of thing. It should have been public.
- Justification; I think the president could have explained both to the parents, and to the listening nation, hell, the world, what exactly the money was for, “Uhm, please use this one and hold side while we find your children for you, consolation fee, don’t add poverty to your grief ” Whatever. But just say something. So that when people talk as they always will, you at least have a leg to stand on with the standard my intentions were good.
- Contract; All this failing, make the parents sign a non-disclosure agreement or whatever. Anything that might frighten them into silence.
- Sharing the wealth; this is the worse part of all. And probably the reason we know about the money. The government cannot be so naive as to say they don’t know the greed of these community leaders. So why on earth would they entrust this money to these people?
- Still on sharing; and these leaders. How did they decide which of the parents deserved N300,000 and which ones N300? I have no idea. Do you?
If all this had been done, there would still have been murmurs of dissent, but there will at least be an argument. Not this mass irritation and disdain. Now look at this mess. The world is still watching.