AN OPEN LETTER TO EBI BRISIBE & ALL WHO THINK I HATE THE GOVERNMENTS OF BAYELSA STATE – By Fortune God’sSon Alfred
Dear Ebi Brisibe,
Good day. I hope this reaches you in perfect health and in good cheer. Now that we have dispensed with the pleasantries, let us go into why I am writing you this missive.
I know some people will be wondering why I chose to write an open letter, instead of sending you one in camera, via your inbox. Thus, before stating my reason for writing, let me also state the rationale behind my choice medium for reaching you. I chose an open letter, because:
1. Your friendly call to love the Governor was in the open; and
2. I want to reach others who share the same opinions about me.
That said, let’s go into why I am writing, properly.
I write you today in response to you comment with the following words: “Juanita Bynum is a world class gospel artiste and inspirational singer. She uses music to teach, heal and win souls for Christ @Fortune, we know U love her so dearly. Pls kindly extend the same true love to governor DHS and his restoration programmes for the state. U are a wonderful person and we expect U to contribute your quota for the growth of the state. Just my humble opinion”
Sir, while I agree with you on Ms Bynum and her ministry, on the one hand, and me being a wonderful person with a lot to contribute to the growth of our state, I think you and many people are having a wrong impression about me vis-à-vis my constant critique of the governments of Bayelsa State. So, I want to seize this opportunity to correct that misconception and hope that, that is done once and for all times.
Firstly, let it be on the records today that, I do not hate Gov. HSD. I also do not hate those, his officials, I consider misfits. I only do not think he is doing a great job worth the kind of praises most sycophants pour on him daily. I think such people are his true haters and are doing him and all Bayelsans, past, present and future a great disservice.
Secondly, let it also be recorded here today that I am a bigger supporter of this Governor than most of you people singing “Hosanna!!! Hallelujah! Oh King Dickson may you live and reign forever!”
Ask around and you will be told that even when most of you latter day Knights of Saint Dickson were still lost in the wilderness of Sylvanomics, I was working tirelessly to elect him.
Ask around who was the man that came out to write to rally supporters of the Restoration Team online, in its darkest hour, when candidate Henry Seriake Dickson’s name was omitted by INEC from the list of candidates for that election? Go and ask the SSA to the Governor on Youth Development, Southern Ijaw, Mr. Nasko Egei, who was then Director of Unconventional Security at the Restoration 2012 Campaign Organization, and others and they will tell you it’s me! So, when I critique this government and any other, it is not because I hate or do not like the Chief Executives.
I have ideals and values that I stand by. I have my minimum expectations from all governments, in terms of the development of our state and when they fail or are failing to live up to them, I will not keep quiet. It’s nothing personal.
It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that I want to tell you, sir, and all those who share to misconceptions about me, vis-à-vis this government, that, the fact that I do not join the Bayelsa New media circus and other like groups of sycophants to praise sing this government, to ruin, does not mean I hate the governor. I actually love him, but I only love Bayelsa more. You can ask his younger brother, Hopkins, if you have that level of access, of Alfred (Secretary) and he will tell you more. I am name dropping right? Yeah! I want you to have referees you can cross check my claims with.
My attitude towards the governments of Bayelsa State is akin to that of the protagonist in William Butler Yeats’s poem, “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death.” It reads:
“…Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.”
The only difference between the Airman and I is that I actually love those (Bayelsans) that I guard. So it pains me when you people try to paint me into this hater of governments.
Now, I know most of you support one European or local football club or the other. Thus, at this juncture, let me make an analogy from that to question your rationale for praise singing mediocrity.
Let’s say you are an Arsenal or Chelsea supporter like me, do you praise your team and/or the coach when they play very badly and lose? How many of you praised Chelsea and Arsenal and their managers for drawing and losing yesterday? I doubt if there’s any.
Thus, I wonder why the same people who could be critical in their appraisal and analysis of something as relatively trivial and irrelevant as football cannot extent same to politics and Governance in their state and country. If you can say “we lost this game today because of the players Wenger fielded”, why can’t you say same in the governance of our state? If you, as a fan of Didier Drobga or Rooney, can say: “oh! Drogba or Rooney killed us today. If not for him missing those many chances, we would have won that match comfortably”, why can’t you say same about your government? Is it that you people love your football clubs and players more than your state and its officials? There lies my fundamental objection to sycophancy in Bayelsa State and Nigeria.
ON CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM: MY CHOICE TOOL
I am an ardent believer in constructive criticism, which Wikipedia defines as “the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. In collaborative work, this kind of criticism is often a valuable tool in raising and maintaining performance standards.”
And like Senator William Fulbright, a former distinguished US Congressman, I believe that ‘to criticize one’s country (state and leaders) is to do it a favour or also pay it a compliment…it is a favour because it will make the leader to do better than he is doing. It is a compliment because it expresses a belief that he can do better.”
Thus, as long as I perceive that our government is not taking concrete steps that will lead to a qualitative cum quantitative improvement of the standard of living of our people; I will speak out to proffer ways of achieving that.
All those who have followed me till date will testify to the fact that I rarely point out the bad without providing a superior alternative. For instance, when I said the Restoration cabs was a wrong move, I produced an alternate transportation model, involving bigger buses, tricycles(for internal roads), Marine vessels, etc and a comprehensive Transportation Policy for the state.
To constructively criticize your government and its policies is the zenith of patriotism. This is why I find it disturbing that some people think I hate the government and the Governor. I am highly discombobulated by the simple fact that these folks claim to love the governor, but cannot tell him the truth for fear of losing whatever benefits they are receiving today.
POLITICS, GOVERNANCE AND SYCOPHANCY IN BAYELSA STATE
But then, I do not place all the blame on the doorstep of the sycophants. Many times, they are also victims of our “I am loyal sir” political culture. And folks like me who have refused to bow to the pressures of the system are called arrogant, proud and pompous. Well, to such accusations, I will plead no contest, on all counts.
The sycophants are not completely to blame. We have a political system and culture in Bayelsa state that is wired towards producing sycophants. I say this because according to Saint Niccolo Bernardo Machiavelli, “there is no other way to guard yourself against flattery [from sycophants] than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.” How many of our Governors and Public office holders from 1999 to date have done that?
In fact, being intelligent, smart, and eloquent is a political sin in Bayelsa State. I still remember the evergreen advice of a friend, who used to be a Principal Officer in BSHA, to me. According to him, “if you ever want to make it in this state, you have to ‘imberize’ (his coinage). That is, act like a fool.” We run an Idiocracy here; where the dumber you are or appear, the brighter your chances at success.
Even at that, I still find it highly objectionable when fairly young people engage in unbridled and reckless sycophancy. The old and family folks, I understand – the pressures of familial obligations sometimes push men and women to do things they ordinarily would not do. However, when it comes to the youths, I do not get it. Why the desperation? What do they need money so desperately for that they will have to sell to souls – Honor, pride and future – to get it? Do they have an addiction – say a drug or alcohol problem they need to feed?
It is because I don’t understand it that is why I always go hard on them, with the hope that some of them will explain it to me. I don’t attack sycophants because I hate them, but because I want to understand their motivation.
ARE ALL WHO COMMEND GOVERNMENT SYCOPHANTS?
Are all those who commend government for works well-done sycophants? NO! However, like Sir Richard Steele, I believe that “whenever you commend, add your reasons for doing so; it is this which distinguishes the approbation of a man of sense from the flattery of sycophants and admiration of fools.” From time to time, I come out to support President Jonathan. Even though most people see my stance as one coming from an Ijaw Nationalist, they can rarely hold that against me or fault me for that since I always provide reasons found in his works to back my support.
ON THE BNMT
Now, there’s no way I will write on a subject like this without touching on the small issue of this body, which coincidentally have my good friends as members.
Why am I writing on the Bayelsa New media Team – BNMT even though it is not the subject under discussion? You may ask. Well, I am doing so because many people, especially members have asked me why I hate the BNMT and their boss (you know who I mean.)
Well, I have always given them the same answer, but let me use this medium to reiterate my position, once more. I do not hate the BNMT, its boss, the SSA or any of its members. Then, someone may ask: “if you truly do not hate them, then why do you like attacking them?”
My answer will be and is right now, that although, I think the BNMT have some fine individuals, but as an entity, so far the BNMT has shown itself as an abomination and a huge source of embarrassment to Bayelsa state and its government and people.
Individually, I know some fine people like Julius, Andrew, Blessing, Indotimi, you – Ebi- etc and am cool with you all at an individual level. Yet as a Group, I cannot help but say the BNMT is a disaster. It has taken ineptitude, incompetence and mediocrity to new heights never imagined before now. And I will be doing you guys and the state a great disservice if I don’t say it.
That body has attracted more odium to the Government of Bayelsa State and I dare say Bayelsans from the cyberspace than any other group I know of. As for the SSA, we are having a Détente for now, so I will not broach his now well advertised penchant to drag the name and reputation of this state on the mud.
Yet, I do not hate the BNMT. I have spoken in its defense many times, when it is unjustly accused. That much you all can testify to. I am a Truth-teller. And no matter how ugly it is, I tell it.
WHY ALWAYS ME?
Although no Mario Balotelli, I know you and most people must be wondering, why always F. G. A? What have we done to him or against him that he seems to derive much pleasure from dissing us and the Government?
Well, you guys (BNMT) and the BYSG have not committed any personal crime against me. It’s nothing personal. Like I said above, as individuals, I am cool with some of you and even exchange private phone calls and mails; but as a group, I don’t think you guys have justified the existence of your group.
Why always me? Well, like the Irish Airman above, “nor law, nor duty bade me fight. Nor public men, nor cheering crowds” spur me to fight. I ask critical questions of government because as a student of politics, I know the enormous powers the government of a state possess. Like my good friend and brother Prince Tokpo Coronation once said, government have the power to do everything, including turn a man into a woman. Governments have the power to curse and to bless. It has the power to say “let there be light” and there will be light. So, when somebody or a group of people have governmental powers and cannot use it to transform the lives of their citizens for good, I cannot help but condemn them.
This government can lay a billion foundations for all I care, but I will assess it based on what it has actually done on the ground. I am not one to be swayed my hyperactivity, when in reality nothing is being done.
I will not listen to “We will do” speeches. I want to see the government DO! Don’t tell me it’s too early. The government has been receiving allocations. It has never asked the Federal Government to withhold its monthly allocations that it is too early to take money. So, Governor Seriake Henry Dickson, as far as I am concern does not have any excuse to fail. Building Ecumenical Centre is not a solution to our problems.
In closing, I am hoping that with all I have said above, it will be clear to all that I do not hate anyone. Not the Governor, nor the SSA New Media, whom I still consider an ass though, nor the BNMT, which I see as an atrocity that should be disbanded, nor any of it members.
My only flaw is that I love Bayelsa state so much that I cannot hold back when I perceive that some persons are doing her wrong. I love the Governor enough to tell him the truth always. I love him, but I love Bayelsa more. Governors come and go, but Bayelsa remains. I will not praise anyone I do not think has done something praise worthy.
Thanks for your kind words and compliments.
Be assured of my greatest regards.
H. R. F Fortune God’s Son Alfred
This piece was first published on April 11, 2012 in GODSSONISM