A stark reality beyond any doubt is that journalists are writers of history while newspapers are the major source from which future historians draw their materials. Performances of government are judged either positively or negatively by what that government has been able to achieve in adding value to humanity. In his book, Descent from Xanadu, Harold Robins said, “Progress can only be built upon the granite of truth not the timbers of dry rot”.
“Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves” said Walter Anderson. William Shakespeare in one of plays, Julius Caesar said, “The evil that men do lives after them, but the good are often interred with their bones”.
The above dictum of the celebrated famous writer must have been inspired by his experience of how little the Russians appreciate their leaders, in spite of the beaming milk of human kindness, particularly Julius Caesar who because of his philosophy of what touches him shall be last treated, preferred to always serve the state at the expense of self and paid the ultimate price in the process with his life. As it was with Caesar so had it been with several leaders in history and the trend continues till date. Here I am talking of selfless leaders, kindhearted, large-hearted and highly patriotic individuals who at all times strive to lead their countries or state by playing down on personal interest, while prioritizing public interest.
One clear example of such a leader is the incumbent Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, Rt.Hon. Yakubu Dogara. However, as if to testify to Mark Anthony’s often quoted statement, most of the virtues that mark out Dogara as a unique leader are his most uncelebrated qualities. When he took over the mantle of leadership over two years ago, he promised “business unusual”, the objective of which is to change the old order of legislation and administration in the 8th House, which had brought nothing over the years than stagnation and arrested development to the country. Change is the only permanent philosophy says a popular maxim. However, the road to change is always rough, strewn with thorns and very unattractive, but beneficial at the end.
Little wonder, the late socialist and educationist, Dr. Tai Solarin reverberated the dictum “May my road be rough” on his last celebrated birth day at Ikenne, Ogun state.
The tendency to bemoan change is human, for we are always pessimistic and cynical about its The aftermath. The attitude of people, especially the beneficiaries of the old order to the wind of change that blew across the country of the virtuous is not unexpected as it cannot be divorced from the natural reaction of man to most changes, the world over. The similitude between change process and an uncompleted castle explains why people don’t desire to live in it. Hence experience has shown that those who mouth “change is all we need” are always found objecting it innocently, for it comes in ugly disguise.
But how long are the good people of Nigeria will continue to be arrested by the fear of change? Good governance is only possible when those at the helm of affairs know what to do to promote peace and security, avoid wastage and official stealing and corruption, place the interest of the people above those of individuals and encourage sanity to flourish in the system.
“Public interest is what men would choose if they saw clearly, thought rationally, acted disinterestedly and benevolently”- Walter Lippman, 1955.
Perhaps, this explains why Dogara decided to take the bull by the horn in tackling those identified problems of poor infrastructure and modern social amenities like education and health in his area of primary concern, Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state. Infrastructure and development are like twins. The two are inter-twined and wrapped like whirlwind blowing and leaving sand on the trail. The reason is that infrastructure is a precursor to economic empowerment and other development paradigms in any society, be it developed or developing, progress and good governance are often measured or based on the number and quality of infrastructure in place. It could be road, electricity, water, building infrastructure like schools, health centres or physical plant.
Basic infrastructure, to a large extent, determines the economic power of a country, state and its people. Its absence or near absence, can make or mar the legitimacy of a government in power and those behind the driving seat of government or an elected representative of the people. However, those in position of authority make conscious efforts to put some of the basic infrastructure in place, be it at the rural or urban centres; they do so for a number of reasons: to make life comfortable and more meaningful for the people and to create wealth and other spin-offs that can galvanize more economic activities. The third may be to discourage rural – urban migration in search of a better living standard. All these are against the backdrop of the fact that provision of relevant infrastructure has the potentials of opening up new frontiers and ultimately uphold the basic principle of good governance. To some leaders, it is to score political points or wriggle in vainglorious pride.
Whatever reason Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives, an apostle of good governance and a stickler of “do it right” has, he has not hidden his mission which he aptly encapsulates in his Economic Blue-Print and Infrastructural Development Agenda which are enunciated in the constituency. In it, Dogara intends to make his constituency the leading Nigerian constituency by the time he exits the 8th National Assembly with prosperous, healthy and well educated and economically buoyant constituents, living in harmony with people and nature and pursuing their legitimate interests in freedom moderated by good governance.
Pursuant to that vision, adopted multi-prong approaches to bring about infrastructural dividends throughout the length and breadth of his constituency.
It is an undisputable fact that Dogara is changing the face of representation in Bauchi state for good. He has several great things working for him. First, he belongs to a political party with a robust approach to public administration. And secondly, he came into office prepared with his blue-print, which is a function of his goodwill, experience, exposure, education, orientation, courage, among other personal qualities. Thirdly, he emerged as a Speaker at a time when all well meaning individuals and stakeholders within and outside the House of Representatives were resolute on throwing up a decent man for the job and same set of people extended him their unflinching support.
Yakubu Dogara is not leaving anyone in doubt as to his disposition to leave his constituency a better place than he met it in 2007.
Record shows that Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency and the House of Representatives since the coming of the present dispensation in 1999, has not witnessed such developmental strides as in the tenure of Yakubu Dogara. He has kept to faith and is steadily fulfilling his electoral promises. No doubt, history will be kind to him as a leader who served Nigeria with passion.
By Sanusi Muhammad