By Solomon Adebayo
To write a good thing about any Nigerian politician should be one of the most difficult jobs for journalists. It becomes more herculean when you are an investigative reporter who has seen them all.
An average Nigerian politician has three major objectives for seeking public office: The first is self-interest, the second is self-interest and the third is self-interest period. The same goes for many public servants in Nigeria. But, in my many years of investigating corruption, human rights abuses, and abuse of public trust in Nigeria, I came across very few upright and dedicated public servants. Dr.
Evans Onyekele who retired as a Director in the FCT Health and Human Services Department and Major General Emmanuel Atewe RTD, a former Commander of the Guards Brigades are the very few I have come in contact with. Very few, but good men still exist.
TJ Yusuf currently represents my constituency in the House of Representatives but that’s not a consideration for this piece. He is a cut-off from an average Nigerian politician whose only reason for seeking elective office is to satisfy himself. I know this because I’ve had personal interaction with him and have experienced his tenacity to put people above himself.
I won’t go into the statistics of how many people from his constituency he has helped to facilitate employment or reel out how many projects or what they call empowerment programs he has executed, facilitated or carried out. His PR team can handle those. I would limit myself to my personal experience with him.
One fateful day during my days in FRCN, I overheard that my then DG Mallam Yusuf Nuhu was giving out employment letters the Nigerian way. I picked up my phone around 5 pm and called TJ and told him to please book an appointment to see my DG and beg for a slot.
TJ called back and told me that he had an appointment to see my DG. TJ came the following day, met the DG, and was able to secure employment for someone. The person is still working in FRCN today.
I later got to hear the interaction between my DG and TJ. The DG was said to have asked TJ
” Is that why you came to see me? When TJ answered in the affirmative, my DG was said to have expressed shock that,TJ was the first member of the National Assembly would book an appointment to come and see him to seek employment for someone.’They always come for contract or money” he said.
And that’s the gospel truth. The man who represented the same constituency; Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu before TJ and who was the Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Communication is a different breed from TJ.
I was also in FRCN when as Chairman of the House Committee of Information and Communications House member visited Radio House. After the visit, the DG presented him with FRCN souvenirs and he shouted at the DG; monetize it, monetize it and refused to leave.
The DG quickly summoned the Director of Accounts who is now retired to go and mop up any available money in the accounts department for the house member Ana committee chairman. The Director came back with two million naira which was handed over to him and he left.
Why do I tell these contrasting stories? To show that in the midst of the Augean stable of Nigeria politics, there are still good men standing.
And for those who may come out for political purposes to say TJ influenced me to write this piece, I have not spoken with TJ in over a year and I last saw him in person over 5 years ago.
I’m sure he would be shocked to read this and may have even forgotten the event I narrated here.
But, I owe prosperity a duty to relate this.