By Leye Igbabo
Few days ago, and in what appeared like a display of loyalty, the body of commissioners in Ondo State met and passed a vote of confidence on the ailing Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu SAN.
Frankly speaking, I have no qualms against any appointees of a governor passing a vote of confidence, at least to convey their unalloyed support and loyalty to the one who is making them relevant in the sunshine state as of today. That should be a proper thing to do. But my concern is the inability, failure or refusal of the commissioners to understand the time and the season. Unlike the men of Issachar who understood and knew what to do at any particular time, this current body of commissioners failed beyond redemption, to discern and draw the thin line between loyalty and patriotism.
To be loyal is to have a sense of duty or devotion to someone. And it is good that the commissioners have been doing all they can, to protect their principal and shield him from public opprobrium caused by his inability to perform the herculian functions of his office. The two commissioners who abstained from the show of shame, are not less loyal, or disloyal as we would be made to believe by the bootlickers in the days ahead. The two commissioners, posited that any appointee who did not believe in the governor ought to and should resign and therefore, were of the opinion, that passing of a vote of confidence was absolutely unnecessary and needless. That is a rare display of loyalty, if you care to know the truth.
Patriotism, although, akin to loyalty, has a deeper and stronger meaning. It is a feeling of love for one’s country more than any others and being proud of it. So while loyalty can be to someone, patriotism is essentially, to one’s country. It is this thin line that the body of commissioners fails to identify or recognize.
In actual sense, the body of commissioners know that the governor is clearly incapacitated and unfit to perform the functions of his office. And since they have tried all their best to get him back to office, but to no avail, that should be the point where loyalty stops and patriotism sets in! The overall interest of the people ought to have taken over the personal or group interest at that particular point. Therefore, what patriotism would have moved them to do at that level, albeit painfully, is to activate that relevant section 189 of the 1999 constitution as amended which places on them, a patriotic act to declare that the governor is incapable of discharging his function and so, request the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly to set up a medical panel in order to ascertain the fitness or otherwise of the governor.
That is how it should be. Patriotism above loyalty!
Today, sadly, by their cowardly and unpatriotic stance, it is the people of Ondo State that are losing on all fronts! This is because the resources available for the Nigerian nation are not sufficient enough to be distributed among the states without any able representation and intense lobbying which the absence of the governor is denying us at the federal level. The implication of this lack of representation is that it is Ondo State that will be shortchanged in any bail outs, palliatives, or any other arrangements designed to cushion the effects of the suffocating economic doldrums, since there is no one to fight for it!
Let it be known that those who may have shortchanged Ondo State at that federal level, have not sinned against the state. It is the body of these hypocrites and sycophants in commissioners’ clothing that have shortchanged and offended the state!
May I salute the utter doggedness, profound sacrifice, undiluted patriotism and deep rooted public- spiritedness of the two commissioners who abstained themselves from the current public charade masterminded and executed by the betrayers of public trust. Although, the two commissioners may likely face stringent, virulent, violent and turbulent moments in the pursuit of their political career from within, there is consolation for them, that they have carved a niche and wormed themselves into the hearts of the oppressed and the injured. They have chosen to be on the side of the people like the biblical Moses, rather than enjoying the pleasure of sin for a season.
Posterity will surely place them far above the compromised and in positive perspective too. Truly, their political future is well favoured.
A word is enough for the wise.
Leye IGBABO writes from Ifedore Local Govt Area of Ondo State.
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