What Files Are on GEJ’s Table?

Mischief has got me again. But not an idle mischief but one that empathises with the man who makes the most important decisions in my country.
There is something about leaders which impresses their subjects. Every leader who shows a remarkable understanding of the lives and pains of his people gets a lot of support from them. During the campaigns for the last election in Nigeria, Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos State delighted audiences with his first-hand acquaintance with Lagos. He knew the land like the back of his hands and knew the statistics that powered his government. He was a very difficult nut to crack.
Having seen and liked that display, I asked myself how the governor was able to keep such details and how he gathered them. It must have been contributions from competent people who ran the different outlets for him. To gather all that information, he would have entrusted the duties to people he could trust to be thorough and unbiased. They must have been people who did not share narrow bloc philosophies and people who were not available for the buying. For indeed, one wrong detail would have put the governor in very unpleasant situation.
But what happens when a leader is surrounded by self-seeking sycophants and people who have other allegiances other than to their employers and the state. It means that is easy to crowd out a leader who does not have the unalloyed support of his aides. They could blind him to what they please, misinform him when they please, colour their reports and counsel when it pleases them and quarantine people and information with which they do not want their boss to come in contact. Here are two examples.
During the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo, there was a point when the retail price of kerosene was higher than of petrol. The situation persisted for a while before the president did something to redress that. The papers reported that the president said he did not know that the pump price of petrol was lower than of kerosene.
The second example is one I heard in a taxi while on my way to Abuja. The journey is a long one and usually passengers become friends and talk freely. The person who tols the story was at pains to explain he also heard it. The story is about Adolphus Wagbara, the Senate President that Obasanjo had thrown out for alleged fraudulent practices. The story is that removed from office, Sunday morning came and he did not know his way to his church.
The point here is that people who work with a leader, given a chance and with the right inducements, can actually starve their principal of vital information they need to work. In the situations mentioned above, it might just be that the Senate President and the President had too many ineffective aides flocking around them. They can in fact prevent the leader from knowing the things that he would need to know in order to be seen as responsive by his people.
Now I really wonder about GEJ. I am not overtly interested in his men. I just want to focus on his table. I wonder how large it is and how many drawers it has. I wonder if the essential files are on a table or on shelves in the office. I wonder if he uses a laptop and how well he can conceal the information in it from his aides. Perhaps he uses an Apple product to manage his information. Perhaps the things he needs are found and uploaded for him and he does not have to worry about anything. As idle as my thoughts run today, please recognize that this is enough to keep a government running or bring it down. For indeed I wonder at some things. Does GEJ know of and approve some of the actions of his security aides, like raiding the offices of The Nation and arresting and detaining its editors. Their offence is claiming OBJ wrote Goodluck a letter. Is that the way to go, especially when people see the events as impacting directly on the integrity of the president? Is he aware everytime the security operatives call one of those pointless meetings where they tell us how they intercepted two bombs or one Boko Haram general. Do they tell him every time they decide to arrest El Rufai for shooting off. You may think they should have some autonomy. I agree, but they do not have autonomy when it comes to things that colour the government or decisions that could bring the government into disrepute. Consider what happened in Edo State when former governor Samuel Ogbemudia’s house was demolished. The property was said to be his wife’s and the reasons for demolitions were trumped up. The building was not in violation and the Chairman of the Task Force was pursing an agenda the government did not approve. Governor Adams Oshiomole ordered his arrest and bundled him to court for prosecution. What this tells people like me is that I will be held responsible for things that happen under my watch and my oversight must be handled personally or by trusted people for whose actions I must take responsibility. Ask Richard Nixon or Charles Colson what Watergate did to the president and his government.
So I wonder, what if he has files on his table, which would it be? Perhaps Boko Haram and the various reports will be there. There would also be files on the unfortunate foibles of the security apparatuses to deal with it. There might be a file on Ayo Salami and another on the reactions that followed his removal. There would be another on the power sector and the vexed issue of epileptic power supply and another on the powers that block the achieving meaningful supply. There would be a file on Bola Tinubu and another on key figures like NLC adn TUC presidents, Adams Oshiomole and Rauf Aregbesola. There would be a file labelled NNPC DO NOT OPEN! The worms from the file could eat the table maybe. One file each would take care of OPC, MOSSOB, MEND and other splinter groups. One file would be on the former leaders of the country and another on people who oppose PDP at federal level. Al Mustapha’s file might just be there and an update on Ibori might make the table.
Each day, new files may be added. For instance, files like Fuel Subsidy, 6yr Single Term, Lessons from Gaddafi, Rescue Plan for PDP Men on Trial, ASUU Again. What about the surveillance reports on trouble makers? Wikileaks sure deserves a file just as much as the foreign missions and their activities. Newspaper clippings …what about that? Does he read the papers himself or does he read the quick review or articles marked ‘For Your Attention’?
There must be countless files. I just wonder how he keeps tabs on the many things he has to deal with. Finally, I wonder if the accusation of being ‘ever so clueless’ is his failing or the deliberate sabotage by the people he is paying to keep him smart. I am just wondering… are you beginning to wonder too? If yes, I just infected you.


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