• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Ngige, Mind Your Sef 2 and… Micah,6:7

Chris Ngige

A good friend of mine and a brother to Ngige, Nze PE Egwuonwu had, after reading my treatise last week, asked me: Ichie, what has Ngige done to you? And I replied him with the words of our elders (by the way, he is one of the elders) that there is no need pinching a parcel that would soon be opened up. And so, for him and others who were wandering what my “grouse” with Ngige is, here we are.

In April 2019, Ngige, a medical doctor and our honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity told the whole world through Channels TV, our global broadcast octopus, that he was not worried about medical brain-drain because we had more than enough of them. All efforts made by his hosts to make him call himself to order failed as he went on to reemphasise his assertion. “Who said we don’t have enough doctors? We have more than enough; you can quote me; there is nothing wrong with their travelling out!”

In this Nigeria, where some people still travel tens of kilometres to see a doctor? Of course, he came under raw fire from his colleagues, sundry organisations and public commentators.  Is his assertion true? Obviously not. Should he know the true situation? Sure! Even if it were true should he have said so given his status? I doubt. For a medical doctor and Minister of Labour to say so in a country where 40,000 doctors were attending to 200 million patients left a sour taste in the mouth. I made a little comment about it then and decided to face other matters and let Ngige be.

A few days later, our dear Minister of labour, who should be telling us what his ministry has done under the change agenda to improve the worrisome unemployment situation, rather told us: “you ain’t seen nothing yet!” He told his bewildered compatriots that the unemployment rate should hit 33.5% by 2020.  As if that was not enough, he reminded us that we were the poverty capital of the word, a trophy which India gladly handed over to us and that Nigeria suffering from high level of crimes and criminality! If he wanted to play the prophet, he failed because we are already in 2020. But why should an official of a “next level government” tell those expecting the amoebic dividends of democracy from him and his colleagues, that more suffering awaited them?

He then went on to ask no one in particular, questions, which he was (and is) in the best position to answer: “what is the government not doing right; what changes are needed in policies and strategies; why do we employ expatriates for jobs Nigerians can do or why can’t Nigerians do those jobs…”  As Omawumi would say: “if you ask me, na whom I go ask?” Luckily, his doomful prediction has mercifully not materialised but even if it would have, was he the best person to make such prophecy? Obviously not. Even Lai Mohammed would not have loved to make that kind of pronouncement.

As a professional, a bureaucrat and a politician, he is well placed to situate things in proper perspectives; to make statements that give people hope and to optimise the science and art of diplomacy. After all, diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they eagerly prepare for the trip!

Of course, if he were serious about those questions, he should have contracted Muo & Muo Consulting unlimited for fail-proof answers.  I found it odd that a minister was demarketing himself, his ministry and his government, but I kept my peace.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was his advice to our teaming unemployed youths: “don’t rely on government jobs”. In other words, there is not much my ministry and this government can do for you!  He based his argument on the fact that “the richest youth of the world, are not employees of government but smart entrepreneurs…”  Sure, everybody knows that governments are not meant to be the sole sources of employment. Everybody knows that the Nigerian government will not go out of its way to create jobs for the ordinary folks but will surely do so for those who are connected to those who are connected to the source. But should a minister tell his compatriots who are looking up to his ministry for succour to look elsewhere?

Surely entrepreneurship is thriving and is a better source of wealth but what has Ngige and the government which he serves done to make the environment favourable for entrepreneurial exploits? In my recent outing on entrepreneurship (Ik Muo, 2018: Entrepreneurship in a changing environment, lessons from experience. Enugu, Potter Creations), only 10 percent of the sample had anything good to say of the government; the rest recounted the frustrating impact of government activities and inactivity. Is that the environment in which entrepreneurship will thrive?

Ngige is a medical doctor and rose to the directorate level in federal civil service before jumping into the murky (but lucrative) waters of Nigerian politics. As a professional, a bureaucrat and a politician, he is well placed to situate things in proper perspectives; to make statements that give people hope and to optimise the science and art of diplomacy. After all, diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they eagerly prepare for the trip!  It is a source of worry when a minister creates hopelessness for his constituents by saying right or wrong this at the wrong time in the wrong way. And that is why I am publicly telling him; “mind your sef” You are all my witnesses.

And by the way for those who are “labourers” (labour union executives) who regularly contend with Ngige  I wish to remind them of the words of our elders which has been in existence long before Ngige was born: that whenever a cock perches on a rope (Ngige), neither the cock nor the rope will ever be at peace; because both the cock and the rope will continue to engage in a limitless, restless “kurukere” dance.

Other Matters: Micah,7:6-7; Household Wickedness

We are still discussing the frightening level of household wickedness in which parents’ children and spouses are engaged in indescribable wickedness against each other. Years ago, Prophet Micah foresaw the era in which “son dishonours father; daughter rises against mother and daughter­-in-law against mother-in-law. A man’s enemy are members of his household (Micah,7:6-7). Our Lord Jesus Christ later reiterated that prophesy (Matthew, 10.36). It did not start today. After all, in the early days of creation, Cain murdered Abel, who did not offend him in any way! Athalia murdered all her grandchildren in a desperate quest to take over the kingdom after the death of her own son. Joseph narrowly escaped death in the hands of his brothers who sold him into slavery (Genesis,37) while Absalom led an insurrection against his father. The burial of 4 kids aged 2-9, (1/3/2020) murdered by their father, due to the mothers alleged infidelity in South Africa is still fresh in our minds. It shows that this household wickedness has been take a notch far above what we ever imagined.

So, what has gone wrong? Is it the end times as some of our “casting and binding” brethren have been reminding us? The family is the nucleus and foundation of the society and if the foundation be destroyed, what is the fate and future of the society (Psalm 11:3)? One Bisi Adewale recently asked all right the questions on social media and I join him/her in asking “What has come over us; where did we get it wrong; were we like this before? What is happening?” Indeed, WHAT IS HAPPENING?


Ik Muo