9th February, 2011
Last week the Chairman of PDP Lagos State Mr Setonji Koshoedo told The Guardian newspaper in anÂ interview that performance will not guarantee Governor Babatunde Fasholaâ€™s second term. Though ourÂ great party, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Lagos has reacted to the careless and uncouthÂ statement, I still feel the compulsion as a writer to look at the word â€˜performanceâ€™ in ourÂ contemporary society and how far we have gone as a nation. First I went into the Advanced OxfordÂ Dictionary to look at the word â€˜performanceâ€™ as it relates to the subject of discussion. It describesÂ performance as an action or achievement, considered in relation to how successful it is: anÂ impressive, a spectacular, a strong, an inspired performance by the national team â€“ performanceÂ related pay â€“ performance targets. For example, â€˜he criticized the recent poor performance of theÂ companyâ€™. Performance is also described as the ability to operate efficiently, react quickly, etc.Â high performance cables, high performance individuals e.g. â€˜he is impressed by the machineâ€™sÂ overall/all round performanceâ€™. A performer is a person who performs theatrically, or musically. ItÂ could be in school, his place of work, etc.
What of the word perform? Perform means to do, e.g. a piece of work or something or has been orderedÂ or has agreed to do, to perform a miracle, or experiment, or a remarkable feat â€“ perform an operationÂ to save somebodyâ€™s life, perform a vital service for the community, state or country, to act in anÂ official way at something, to conduct something, to carry out a duty, etc.
In civilised world and decent societies people who have done well for themselves and see themselves asÂ performers seek political offices to bring to bear their skills and wealth of experience to better theÂ lives of their people. These are common and ordinary people blessed with uncommon and extraordinaryÂ experiences and opportunities who seek power with responsibility, wealth with work and politics withÂ principles. These are people who know that you do not enter the World Series accidentally. There areÂ instruments God has used to re-brand their societies and countries. They are men of great faith, theÂ kind of faith children of God have used to wrought righteousness, subdued nations, obtained promisesÂ and even caged the mouths of lions in the days of old and even now.
These are dedicated men, tested and trusted, dependable, very deep, very decisive and determined toÂ make the difference. These are sophisticated and 21st century leaders who understand Dr John C.Â Maxwellâ€™s 17 Laws of Teamwork. They are not hut builders but builders of world class edifice. They areÂ devoted students of law of communication because they know that interaction leads to action, they areÂ committed scholars of law of the Price Tag because they know that everything has a price. They areÂ scholars of the Law of Compass because they know that vision gives the team confidence and direction.Â They are disciplined advocates of law of the big picture because they know that the goal is moreÂ important than the role. They are good followers of the law of high moral because they know that whenÂ you are winning nothing hurts, not even the wicked and callous antics of the enemies who see nothing,Â hear nothing and feel nothing.
The Chairman of PDP Lagos State Mr Setonji Koshoedo may not have the words â€˜performâ€™, â€˜performanceâ€™,Â or â€˜performerâ€™ in his lexicon because he belongs to a party of blind, clueless and warped minds. I amÂ not worried about Setonjiâ€™s age but I am deeply worried about the age of his ideas. It is not thatÂ Setonji does not know what performance is all about but he cannot get it. He cannot figure it out. HeÂ lives in the past. He is lost. In decent societies, it is a well known fact that people get to exaltedÂ positions because they have performed very well in lower positions. The world judges us by what weÂ say, and what we do. People are promoted to the next level because they have done well at a lowerÂ level. When some 10 or 20 persons are gunning for a position and the recruiters are men and women ofÂ standard, they go for the best performer after both written and oral interviews. In a nation that goesÂ for standard only the best are good enough. After degree examinations all over the world, the firstÂ class brains (the best performers) are persuaded to remain in the universities as teachers. I was aÂ witness to how the 2010 World Cup was fought for in South Africa and at the end of the day, the bestÂ performer, Spain ran away with victory.
We say that all roads lead to America today because in action and deed, Americans have showcasedÂ performance. Today, we rate the American, Japanese, German, French, Chinese, Korean, EnglishÂ technologies highest because of performance. Coach Jose Mourinho is rated the best coach in the worldÂ today because of his performance. I can go on and on but time and space will fail me to continue toÂ recount the glory of performance in everything we do. We get it right through standards set byÂ performance and it is only through performance that we can judge those fit for roles and not throughÂ pristine qualities.
Honestly, I do not expect that Setonji of PDP will know the meaning of performance judging from theÂ antecedents of his ruling party PDP in the past 12 years in Nigeria . This is a ruling party that thatÂ has earned more money in 12 years than what this country has earned from 1960 to 1999 and yet youÂ cannot point to anything tangible on ground to suggest that we have a Federal Government in place.Â They promised security and gave us insecurity, they promised us jobs but created nothing, theyÂ promised us food but gave us stones, they promised us good health but gave bad health, they promisedÂ us good educational system but gave us the poorest in the world. Judging from the ruling partyâ€™sÂ woeful and abysmal performance in the past 12 years, one can easily conclude that PDP has forfeitedÂ its right to continue to preside over the affairs of this country and they must go.
In fact as I am writing this piece, I read of the story of a Nigerian family residing in Dubai, whichÂ came home, planned to travel to Asaba but â€˜disappearedâ€™ around Ore. It was after many days that theÂ distraught father of the family, who did not travel with the rest of the family got to know that hisÂ family was involved in a deadly accident on the perennially bad Benin-Ore road. That a PDP governmentÂ cannot fix a simple road in twelve years with trillions of naira speaks of where the Setonjis andÂ their PDP are coming from. It is indeed a monumental historical disaster and all Nigerians are feelingÂ the sore effects of PDPâ€™s stay in power when they donâ€™t believe in performance.
Now coming back to Lagos where Setonji says performance alone cannot give Governor Fashola secondÂ term, please let us ask him his benchmarks for measuring leadership. If he cannot tell Lagosians hisÂ parameters for judging a sitting government like that of Governor Fashola in Lagos, I beg that heÂ should shut up. Setonji must clearly understand that he is dealing with a sophisticated people inÂ Lagos and he and his party will be judged by whatever they say. Trying very hard to whittle downÂ Fasholaâ€™s monumental service delivery in Lagos in the name of playing politics will hurt PDP more notÂ only in Lagos but the whole of Nigeria.
Governor Fashola is consulting, he is communicating with Lagosians, he is paying the Price Tag, and heÂ is showing the way forward for Nigeria. He is re-branding Nigeria; he is giving confidence andÂ direction to Nigerians. He remains the best governor in Nigeria, all things considered. He hasÂ provided the required templates and benchmarks for leadership in Nigeria. He has successfully madeÂ Nigeria and Lagos a destination of choice because he believes that leadership is all about performanceÂ and nothing else. He believes that he will only get another term when he satisfies the people and notÂ when he steals all the money to bribe and coerce the people for another term, which is the primaryÂ belief of Setonji and his PDP.
Nigeria is in dire need of heroes that will add value to leadership, give hope to the hopeless, giveÂ confidence and direction to Nigerians and Governor Fashola has done exactly that in Lagos. When heÂ finishes with Lagos in 2015, he will proceed to Abuja to show the way forward for Nigeria. This IÂ promise!
â€¢Joe Igbokwe wrote from Lagos.