By Tonnie Iredia
The current high level of insecurity in Nigeria notwithstanding, her citizens still manage to relax and engage in humorous debates in parts of the country. No wonder some researchers once said Nigerians were the happiest people on earth! Two days ago, I witnessed a free for all debate, with no chairman and no moderator.
It was so exciting and engaging that a report on it as the topic of today’s piece, easily displaced what I had thought was trending in Nigeria and which I had worked on all week. When i arrived the venue of a seminar where I was to serve as guest speaker, I met an intriguing debate on how poorly some federal agencies were and are still performing.
In order to follow the debate, i tried to ascertain the real boundary of the discussion. What I first heard on arrival was about some federal agencies leaving me to wonder why private bodies such as banks werealso being harshly criticised. I was then informed that the debate had expanded to include all “useless” societal institutions both public and private adding that the reason it started with federal agencies was because of a media report during the week that government was about to implement the Oronsaye report which had recommended among other things, that some public agencies of the federal government be scrapped.
But would that really happen considering the culture in government whereby some two to three more committees would be successively constituted to review, rework and harmonise Oronsaye’s work before a white paper team would emerge? As if I invited trouble, one of the chaps politely requested me as an elder to name one entity that I felt always performed below average. Taken aback, I quickly stabilized and called one name which not less than four speakers jointly rejected with an indication that they were talking about poorly performed organizations, not those that don’t perform at all. I understandably spent the next 20mins just listening.
Expectedly so much was said about our federal legislature. One popular view was that lawmakers ought to be the first to be called out because of their bogus remuneration. Here, the consensus was that Nigeria does need two chambers of the National Assembly (NASS) and that members of the House of Representatives alone are sufficiently widespread enough to represent all constituencies.