Gov. Dikko Umar Radda: The Poster Boy Of Correctness.


By Abdu Labaran Malumfashi.

Recently, Governor Dr. Dikko Umar Radda, PhD, CON, of Katsina State was reported to have rejected a so called ‘gift’ of 100 special breed rams sent to him by a ‘businessman’ for his Sallah slaughter.

He was said to have told the person who received the rams on his behalf to return them to the giver, and that the giver should instead give them to the needy in the society, some of whom can barely afford to eat one meal in the whole day.

The Katsina state governor was also said to have advised his fellow high office holders that they should reject all manner of gifts sent to them by the so called business people because it was a ‘Trojan Gift’ and the sender expects to get ‘something’ big in return for the earlier gifts. He admonished the ‘givers’ to channel their ‘generousity’ to where it would be appreciated most, if it was actually done in good faith.

The news reminds me of the story told by a former US Secretary of State, whose name I have not been given permission to mention. According to him, whatever presents or gifts were given to an office holder, whatever the item or items might be, belonged to the office NOT to the office holder (person). That should be the case.

He said that as a professor in one of the elite universities in the US, from where he was picked up for the office of the US Secretary of State, he was invited as a guest speaker in another university ‘hundreds of miles away’ from his then Washington District of Columbia (DC) base.

According to him, the invitation letter always came with a return ticket to and from the town of the lecture,  booking for accommodation and food and a chauffeur driven car from his hotel to the venue of the lecture and back. The same thing would be done the following year, and it continued that way up to the time he exited from the office of the US Secretary of State.

The invitation for the lecture continued even when he returned to the university as a classroom professor. This time however, the invitation to him came without the additional ‘information’ of hotel rooms, food and chauffeur driven car. All of these he was to make private arrangements even though he was invited to the lecture as the key speaker.

He therefore advised top office holders to always be prepared for ‘life after the big office’, and to also keep in mind that ‘those perks and extras’ were meant for the office and not the occupier. This is what is done in the advanced societies of the western hemisphere. 

It is one of the good qualities of the Western World which we lack here despite the fact that ours is supposed to be a religious country, in which we belong to one religion or another. Even the few irreligious ones among us, do sometimes invoke the almighty God when things get really tough for them.

However, many of us on these shores do seem to find the debased culture of the so called ‘civilised’ Western Society so attractive as to be worthy of aping. Such bad cultural practices include, but not limited to, nakedness, hard drug abuse, fornication, same sex relationship and other forms of behaviours unacceptable in saner societies.

Apart from lapping up most of the bad aspects of the Western culture on these shores, we tend to consider every gifts or presents that come to the office holder as his own to keep. The office holder ‘forgets’ to ask himself why there were no such ‘gifts’ to him when he was an ‘ordinary’ citizen. Or the fact that he did not need anybody’s assistance in that regard, especially in a society where there are many people who are as poor as the proverbial church rat. Such people can hardly afford a meal in a day, not to talk of affording to buy a ram for the slaughter on Sallah day.

The ‘gift’ of the rams reminded me also of the sour experience of a two-time military regime minister. During his first service as a minister, he received a trailer load of food and clothing items from a Kano businessman as ‘gift’. He was said to be shocked by the ‘gift’ because his ouster from office as a minister was announced over the radio a few moments earlier. But when the Kano ‘businessman’ later learned of the removal of the man as a minister, he recalled the driver to come back with the ‘gift’ to Kano and say it was sent to him in error. Fortunately, the driver had not yet offloaded the items from the vehicle. So he went back with them to Kano.

On learning about the former minister’s reappointment as a minister, the Kano businessman shamelessly sent another truck-load of similar items, this time more than the previous one. When the minister learned that the ‘gift’ was from the Kano businessman, he declined the items and told the driver of the truck to tell the sender that “this minister does not receive items sent to him in error”. His message being that even the earlier one was not sent in good faith.

Although the elected officer may come to the new office fired by his conscience to do good to his people, but those around him, whose goal is to get as much money as they could for themselves, would always try to make him ‘abandon’ his good intentions, and see it their way. And their way he would most of the time see, especially when the power starts to go into his head.

Elected officials should ignore such people and all those who are made of the same stuff as them, because they do not mean well to anybody but themselves, since they have no other people’s mandate to protect and no promises to fulfil. The only mandate and promise they know and care about are their insatiable pockets and how to fill them up with money, regardless of how they make it.

Since the rejection of the ‘Trojan Gift’ was done about the time Governor Dr. Radda notched his first year in office, the gesture should be seen as a plus for him.

What Governor Malam Dikko Radda of Katsina State did (the rejection of the 100 rams) was the correct thing worthy of emulation by his fellow top office holders. And he should continue the same way, and not allow the ‘yes, your Excellency people’ to dissuade him from doing what is decidedly correct, politically or otherwise. The only thoughts of such people is NOW, and NOT the posterity that would judge those in positions of authority, such as governors.

Malam Malumfashi wrote from Abuja.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *