Chi­dokaa is dis­robed!

Daily Trust - - OPINION - Eu­gene Ena­horo dr_e­na­horo@ya­

The story of the Em­peror’s new clothes is meant to teach chil­dren the value of hu­mil­ity. It’s about a leader who was so vain­glo­ri­ous he couldn’t see that he was mak­ing a fool of him­self strut­ting around pompously, wal­low­ing in praise for wear­ing clothes which only he could see. It took an in­no­cent child who didn’t know how to lie to cry out that the Em­peror was naked! It re­minds me of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Corps Mar­shal Osita Chi­doka. When ap­pointed FRSC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive in 2007 he had never pre­vi­ously held any ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment po­si­tion, never spent more than three years in any one job, had no track record in pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion, and was ba­si­cally a po­lit­i­cal ap­pointee with no cor­po­rate work ex­pe­ri­ence.

Many FRSC staff op­posed the ap­point­ment on the grounds that Chi­doka’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence and ap­par­ent im­ma­tu­rity would hand­i­cap the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s de­vel­op­ment. They have been proved right. Un­der his watch the once highly re­spected and ad­mired Corps has de­gen­er­ated into a pub­lic nui­sance, ex­tort­ing money from driv­ers and con­tribut­ing lit­tle to preven­tion of death on our high­ways. The once proud FRSC has lost fo­cus, squan­dered the good­will of the pop­u­lace, and failed to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the death rate on our high­ways. While FRSC ex­ec­u­tives oc­cupy them­selves by ar­rang­ing ex­tor­tion schemes, there is un­abated daily slaugh­ter on our roads. Ob­sessed with van­ity and self-pro­mo­tion the FRSC Corps Mar­shal trav­els con­stantly seek­ing only photo op­por­tu­ni­ties.

On an al­most daily ba­sis, Chi­doka ap­pears in news­pa­pers do­ing noth­ing but preen­ing him­self. Now un­der him the FRSC has hit an all-time low with a Federal High Court in La­gos declar­ing him naked! De­liv­er­ing judg­ment in a suit filed against the FRSC the Court said it was un­law­ful for the Com­mis­sion to im­pose new num­ber plates on Nige­ri­ans where no ex­ist­ing law per­mit­ted it. Who would ever have thought that one of Chi­doka’s other po­lit­i­cal ap­point­ments was as Spe­cial Ad­viser to the Pres­i­dent on “le­gal mat­ters”! There are dif­fer­ent lev­els of vi­cious­ness in our so­ci­ety and Chi­doka ex­hib­ited the most base level when he ex­pressed his pre­pared­ness to in­flict un­nec­es­sary suf­fer­ing on mil­lions of his fel­low coun­try­men. He ap­peared on tele­vi­sion ar­ro­gantly and in­so­lently threat­en­ing that he would or­der his men to im­pound all ve­hi­cles with­out his new num­ber plate. The Federal High Court ruled that he can­not force Nige­ri­ans to ac­quire new num­ber plates by im­pound­ing ve­hi­cles with­out the back­ing of any law. There are cer­tain ac­tions which dis­grace and dis­hon­our hu­man­ity, and prof­it­ing from hu­man mis­ery is one of them. It is even more scan­dalous when the of­fender is a govern­ment agency. The Corps Mar­shal ev­i­dently suf­fers from a form of spir­i­tual poverty which doesn’t al­low him to em­pathize with the suf­fer­ings of his fel­low hu­man be­ings. All over the world, the coun­tries that pros­per are those that have con­sid­er­a­tion for their cit­i­zens. It beats the imag­i­na­tion how we ever ex­pect to achieve what they achieve when such crass in­con­sid­er­a­tion, im­punity and ex­ec­u­tive ar­ro­gance is be­com­ing ram­pant in govern­ment. FRSC in par­tic­u­lar has re­peat­edly launched hare­brained schemes like their im­mensely silly and in­fan­tile re­flec­tor stick­ers which prove to be an ill-con­ceived waste of time and money. The Judg­ment against FRSC, which makes it clear that they can­not at a whim de­clare legally reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles il­le­gal, is only com­mon­sense. It is legally, morally and spir­i­tu­ally right. Be­sides which If Chi­doka can just turn around and uni­lat­er­ally de­clare le­gal num­ber plates in­valid, then what as­sur­ance is there that his suc­ces­sor will not in­tro­duce a new more ex­pen­sive ver­sion? Af­ter all not only is the present ad­min­is­tra­tion no­to­ri­ous for se­rial breach of trust and con­fi­dence of the cit­i­zenry, but also this is the sec­ond time FRSC is forc­ing the pub­lic to buy new num­ber plates for the same ve­hi­cle!

No mean­ing­ful jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in terms of im­prov­ing safety has been given for the new plates, no sen­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion given for the ex­or­bi­tant costs, and no as­sur­ance given that they will not be changed again in the near fu­ture. The whole episode reeks of a vi­sion­less lack of con­cern for cit­i­zen’s rights, af­ter all the coun­tries with the safest roads in the world don’t have any spe­cial road safety corps. To make mat­ters worse FRSC can only point out the ben­e­fits to them­selves of the new num­ber plates and not one gen­uine ben­e­fit to the pub­lic. There is no fo­cused or se­ri­ous minded anal­y­sis of fac­tors caus­ing high ac­ci­dent rates in the na­tion, which will bring up the is­sue of car num­ber plates. The learned Federal High Court Judge may have just saved us all from an­other round of bru­tal­iza­tion and death sim­i­lar to the im­mi­gra­tion job fi­asco. Quite apart from act­ing il­le­gally, the FRSC was about to en­cour­age open dis­con­tent and re­bel­lion. They have nei­ther the com­pe­tence nor the ca­pac­ity to reg­is­ter all ve­hi­cles in the na­tion within the given time frame. Fights and quar­rels in­volv­ing frus­trated cit­i­zens break out reg­u­larly in FRSC of­fices. Chi­doka should in­quire from most states as to the in­creas­ing num­ber of pub­lic as­saults on staff of traf­fic man­age­ment agencies. It is no longer an un­usual sight to see the pub­lic join­ing in to beat up traf­fic staff and re­lease seized ve­hi­cles. Chi­doka is ev­i­dently so cal­lous and en­grossed in his own self- im­por­tance that he is pre­pared for FRSC staff to be as­saulted by irate cit­i­zens when they start ar­rest­ing moth­ers tak­ing their chil­dren to school, commercial driv­ers try­ing to earn an hon­est days’ pay, and all cat­e­gories of law abid­ing cit­i­zens. The role of our so-called “leg­is­la­tors” in the whole sorry mess must be high­lighted. In­stead of stand­ing up for the rights of cit­i­zens they soiled them­selves by ac­tu­ally co-op­er­at­ing with FRSC in the il­le­gal­ity! As for Mr Chi­doka, he would do well to try and dis­pel the widely held be­lief that all the ur­gency and un­re­al­is­tic dead­lines arose from sug­ges­tion that be­cause he is due to end his terms of of­fice soon, he wants to make sure that he over­sees the spend­ing of the bil­lions to be re­al­ized.

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