Nigeria is known for certain absurdities. A lot of people have described Nigeria as a theatre of the absurd. Insanity and inanity thrive in our political culture. One example is the news of the appointment of former governor of Delta State, James Ibori as patron of the Former Governors Forum.
Sahara Reporters in its findings reveals that a letter signed by Chairman of the group and former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, and Prof Tunde Esan, the Executive Secretary, says that Ibori’s appointment took effect from July 13, 2020.
First of all, we are surprised that there is an association of former governors in Nigeria. One is compelled to ask what exactly they do in this forum. What are the objectives of this forum? In what capacity is this forum beneficial to Nigerians?
Now, back to the real issue. Ibori’s letter of appointment partly reads:“In line with the provisions of the Former Governors Forum and based on the unanimous decision of the Executive Committee of the Forum, we convey to you your appointment as Patron of the Forum.
“The Forum recognises your role not only as a former governor but equally as a respected elder statesman with passion for the promotion of unity in Nigeria, which is the major objective of the Forum. In addition, your role as Patron will be invaluable in the development of good leadership qualities among emerging leaders in Nigeria.”
Appointing someone like James Ibori as patron is not just a joke; it diminishes whatever is left of the integrity of the said forum. For the record, James Ibori is an ex-convict. He was convicted for stealing $78.5m of public funds while he was governor. He escaped prosecution in Nigeria but he wasn’t lucky in the UK.
Out of the 13 years he was sentenced to, he only served six years and came back to Nigeria. The issue here is how an ex-convict could be “a respected elder statesman with passion for the promotion of unity in Nigeria?” It’s evident that this appointment is ridiculous and it is a disgrace on leadership. We need to do better as a people.