A good friend of mine, C. Don Adinuba, the commissioner for information and public enlightenment of Anambra State, Nigeria (my home state) sent me this announcement below. I post it on my blog because it is a very unusual statement by a politician in Nigeria, and I fully support it. Why? Because it represents a total rejection of a key feature of Nigeria's indecent political life: the cult of public sycophancy. You have to see how much individuals, corporations, NGOs, state bureaucracies, communities, and sundry institutions are willing to spend; how much decadent extravagance is put on show to celebrate birthdays of politicians who have done little or nothing to improve the lives of the people. Here, for instance, is from the celebration of a neighboring governor's 55th birthday (Guess who paid for this postcolonial bacchanalia?}
|Imo State Governor's birthday, 2017. *Note soldiers guarding the cake?|
My point is that the statement by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State (which needs to be read by every Nigerian) is like a blast of fresh air, a clarion call for some pull back from the shameful phenomenon of political birthdays in Nigeria. I commend him for taking this initiative, and I dare his peers and other elected officials to follow his lead. I can bet you that the humongous amounts wasted on this idiotic and idolatrous, congratulatory advertisements could help the many ill-funded but impactful hospitals, charities, and social service organizations in the land.
Governor Obiano understands this.
A Plea to Those Wishing to Place Advertisements Congratulating Gov Obiano on his 63rd Birthday
1. As Governor Willie Maduabrochukwu Obiano of Anambra State will mark (not celebrate) his 63rd birthday on August 8, a lot of individuals and groups, including media organizations, have been approaching him, his family, associates and top officials of the Anambra State administration to place advertisements in the mass media congratulating Chief Obiano on his birthday.
2. Both Governor Obiano and the Anambra State government appreciate this voluntary show of love and solidarity. We are pleased that an almost countless number of persons, communities and groups not only in Anambra State but throughout the country and even beyond are satisfied with the governor’s performance in the last five years and are willing to contribute significant amounts of money to demonstrate their affection.
3. Chief Obiano has, however, counselled that these well-wishers had better pray for him and Anambra State. The well-wishers willing to spend various amounts of money to pay for the goodwill wishes in the mass media are advised to channel the various amounts to any charity of their choice. They are encouraged to donate in particular to the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a nongovernment organization founded and headed by the First Lady of Anambra State, Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano, Osodieme.
4. CAFI has been involved deeply in a lot of charity, including building houses for widows across the state and provision of artificial limbs to those who need but cannot afford them, as well as in the free treatment of persons with cleft palate and cleft lips at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, and Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
5. Money donated by members of the public in connection with the 63rd birthday of Governor Obiano will be used for the treatment of mentally challenged people and in the enhancement of their welfare. Experience and research have shown that though mentally challenged persons are just like other patients, they face acute discrimination in society, including from family members and friends. Even when they have been treated successfully, they still face discrimination. In other words, they face worse than double jeopardy in our society. One of the consequences is that people do not consult psychologists and psychiatrists when initial signs of sustained emotional instability are observed, leading to a terrible deterioration of their health status.
6. Governor Obiano is using the occasion of his 63rd anniversary to call public attention to the plight of people with mental illness and requests public-spirited individuals and groups to donate generously to their cause. God loves cheerful givers, as the Holy Writ tells us in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 9 Verses 6 and 7. God commands us to show love to one another because we cannot claim to love him, whom we have never seen, when we do not love fellow human beings whom we see (Ist John Chapter 4 Verse 20). This demonstration of solidarity with the human family has to do start with our relationship with the less privileged members of society.
7. It is incumbent on all Ndi Anambra and, indeed, all Nigerians to work towards a more humane society. Building a more caring society is a practical way of serving both our God and the human race.
God bless Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.