Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Lessons from Port-Harcourt Part 2

Port-Harcourt could be said to be a city under (re)construction even though it is as old as most other major cities across the nation and I have been sharing with us some of the lessons I learned from the Governor's approach to this onerous task. I discovered in the governor three qualities that have made this task, though every daunting, a mission well in progress. We looked at the first which is conviction in part1 (click here to read the part1) and will be dealing with the others viz the law of intolerance and the law of implemenation in the post. I just hope there will be no part3, cos there is one more lesson i intend sharing as well. I didn't include it among the three because it is not a quality but nonetheless, its something worth sharing.

We saw in part 1 the power of conviction and how that without conviction one is bound to compromise on certains issues when push comes to shove. We also saw how lack of conviction on the part of leadership has been the reasons certain national malaise like corruption has not been effectively tackled.

So lets make progress and look at the other lessons as well.

The Law of Intolerance

"What you tolerate, you can not change"-Unknown

Looking at the passion with which Gov. Amaechi goes about restoring the graden city status of PHC, I see this law at work, It was as though he had been obsessed with the condition of the city even while he was the speaker of the state house and has been waiting for an opportunity like this.

We , as individuals and as a nation, all need a measure of this intolerance to get us out of the present mess we are in. We still seem to tolerate corruption, injustice and illegality and as for our leaders, they don't only tolerate, they are comfortable with them. This sums up why we are where we are as a nation. Our leaders will always take us for a ride until such a time when our collective intolerance reaches a boiling point. I mean a point of zero tolerance.

I don't know what mess in your life that has refused to go away. It could be because you still have a soft spot for it whether it be a challenge or a habit. Have you tried to rebuke a child of its folly but he wouldn't listen until a point when it sees (or senses) the anger in your eyes and voice? At this point you have become intolerant of his folly.

Some of us still battle with certain sins. It is one thing to avoid sin, it is quite another to hate it. Those who only avoid it, compromise with reasons when presented with an opporunity to do it.
It was Jesus who taught this law of intolerance when He said, "if your right hand or eye causes you to sin, cut or pluck it off...". There are certain problems and challenges of life that do not understand any langauge other than that of Matthew11:12 "...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent taketh it by force" They understand and respond only to this langauge and until you speak and act in this manner to them nothing happens.

What you are comfortable with, you can not confront and what you do not confront, you can not conquer- Unknown

Do you still have reasons why you put up with that habit?
My pastor once told a story of a woman who was praying fervently, "God take it away from me, God take it away from me". The intensity with which she repeated this statement prompted her pastor to call her and find out what actually it was that she wanted God to take away from her. So, when asked, she told the pastor that it was her snuff box, that she wanted to quite snuff. Surprisingly, when the pastor asked her where the box was, she said it was around her waiste wrapped up in her wrapper. lol
That is the issue with some fellow, they are physically or emotionaly tied to thier condition. If you want to be free from poverty, you must hate poverty. If you want to be free from sin, the same principle applies. You can't hate poverty and don't love prosperity. You can't hate sin and don't love righteousness, you can't hate failure and don't love success. It is mutually exclusive! So when i said hate, I am invariably saying love the opposite. If you ask most of the self-made millioniares with poor background how they made it, you will discover that they hated poverty with a passion and overcoming it became a daily challenge to them.
Let me shock you! God does not use men who are comfortable with the status quo whenever He wants to send revival or deliverance to a people. This was the secret behind His choice of men like Moses, Gideon and Nehemiah. Moses demonstrated his intolerant, albeit prematurely, when he killed that Egyptian. If he was tolerant of the condition the Isrealites were in then, he wouldn't have bothered. After all he lacked nothing as an Egyptian Prince. Most of us describe Gideon as a coward but I beg to differ. I see in him a man saddened and burdened by the situation of his people at the time. His questions to the angel revealed this. Judges 6:13 "And Gideon said unto him (the angel who appeared unto him), Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of..." No! Gideon wasn't a coward, no wonder he was called a mighty man of valour and was told to "go in this thy might and thou shalt save Isreal..."
I don't know how comfortable you are in that condition you find yourself. Somebody may say but the Bible admonishes us "to be content with our state" (Hebrews 13:5). Yes! this admonition was given as a panacea to a life of greed. It was given to guard against murmuring and complaining and its never a licence to stagnation. It is a necessary foundation for a life of thanksgiving and gratitude. It helps us thank God for what we have or our situation per time while we have our eyes set on better things "reaching unto those things that are before"
Whenever God finds a man of conviction who is intolerant of the status quo, then He has found an insturment of change-Prince
The Law of Implementation
Behind every unachieved plan, is the lack of implementation-Prince
Gov. Ameachi's work seems to be cut out for him since they claim that there is an existing master plan. Although, he just unvailed a new master plan, The Greater Port-Harcourt Developtment Master Plan, it baffles me that previous administrations have all behaved as though PH never had a plan. Infact the original plan was drafted by the first military administrator of the state HRM King Afred Diete Spiff. I remember telling someone that if the immediate past administration has done what Gov. Amaechi is doing today, we would have been reaping the benefits by now.
This brings us to another reasons why Nigeria is where it is today-lack of proper implementation of programmes and policies.
I for one, I believe our problem as a nation is not lack of planning but lact of dispassionate implementation of government policies and programmes. In the education sector for instance, the 6-3-3-4 system will soon be history as the nation fully embrace the universal basic system. We are quick to embrace or copy any programme esp. when formulated by world bodies. The problem is not the system but the implemenation of it. You would agree with me that our parents, teachers and elder ones who studied under the previous system (prior to 6-3-3-4) are better off than us.
We now have a ministry of planning or something like that but I would suggest we also create one for implementaion. A watchdog sort off to ensure proper implementation of goverment policies and programmes.
How many times have we had cases of non-implementation of budgets. Why should there be unspent funds after a whole year? Does it mean there was nothing for which those monies were released for? Wonders shall never end!
For crying out loud, our problem is lack of implementation. Every government that comes to power is quick to abandone his predecessor's programmes and come up with his only to abandone them even before take off. Vision 2010, vision 2020, the 7-point agenda or whatever you call them are basically the same in soul although the colour of thier skins may differ.
We now hear of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to which our government was signatory to. But up until now how many of that goals have been pursued and achieved even though the life span for this project is 2015? Pls keep the answer to yourself!
The other day I heard that the FG released a list of those entitle to police escorts and use of sirens. The question I asked my landlord on whose radio I heard the news was, "will they implement it?". You need to come to PHC and see how flagrantly this order is been violated esp. by company executives. Not only do they go with military (not just police) escorts with deafening sirens, they violate traffic rules with impunity. You mean they are not aware of the FG's directive? They are but they also know it will remain just that- another news item, or just an announcement, without any efforts to to enforce it.

The difference between planning and achieving that which has been planned for is implementation

Lack of implementation is a culture that runs deep in our lives as Nigerians. Hope you know that nothing works until you work them. Your plan no matter how good it is, is lifeless until you work it out. Implementation is the junction where men are separated from boys, doers from talkers, and visioners from day-dreamers.
Except one is not sincere about implementing his plans from the word go, one of the major reasons people fail to implement thier plans is distractions and this is because they lack focus. Focus is the backbone of implementation.
There's a lot to write about implementation but let me hang up on it at this point so that we can look at the fourth lesson as promised earlier.

Lesson Four

Every meaningful reformation, development or positive change is often preceeded by an aparent discomfort, sacrifice, and pains.

Nature has so ordain it to be so. Life is in stages and the arrival of each of these stages is always announced by crisis or challenges. Our progression and development from foetus to embrayo through childhood to adulthood is laced with several of such experiences.

If we look at the pains, we may never count the gains. One of the reasons why Mile I market has been left as batcher over the years is because of the pains the traders will have to go through. And yet they have been forced through such pains by the many fire outbreaks that have gutted the place.

My heart goes out to all those who in one way or the other were affected in the ongoing reconstrcution exercise especially the residents, traders and tenants who are the most hit. Most landlords were duly compensated while thier tenants were left to count thier losses. In fact we all have been affected in several ways. The road where our place of worship (church building) is situated has been marked for dualization and all buildings along it will be affected.

Though painfull, we know PHC will be better off for it.