One of the messages on which the governor-elect Rt. Hon Emeka Ihedioha rode to power is to rebuild Imo State.
He beckoned on the people to join hands with him and they responded positively.
Now that he has been given the mandate what the people expect is nothing but total rebuilding of the state.
What this means is that everything which is wrong in the state or has been happening in a wrong manner needs total reversal.
We need to set the right example and gradually build a culture of good values.
In rebuilding the society so much is expected of the leadership.
The leadership sets the pace and others follow. Virtually what shapes the behaviour of most people is drawn from what the leaders do.
They act as reference points against which good or bad conducts are weighed.
This is the reason we should be careful whom we elect or select to lead others.
At home parental behaviour shapes the behaviour of their offspring consciously or unconsciously.
In similar vein, the behaviour of our leaders who incidentally play parental roles also guides what the populace do.
Most conducts good or bad performed by leaders are perceived as normal.
There is so much indiscipline and gross impunity in leadership circles in Nigeria and the worst appear to happen in this out-going administration.
This is the reason I am concerned that Ihedioha should walk his talk of rebuilding the state even in what people might view as insignificant things.
In life if one observes carefully, it is those things regarded as simple, nothing or insignificant which can be dismissed with a wave of the hand that counts or matters most times.
It is my dream that the in-coming governor should strive to change the way we do things in this state.
We are all sold to the consciousness of the so called ‘African time’, a derogatory remark to explain away our habits of lateness to activities.
Do Africans have a different time? The issue of lateness in commencement or arriving at events appear to have been so ingrained in our DNA just like corruption.
Sadly, nobody cares about the effects on productivity or other arrangements.
The simple take away from the habit of ‘African time’ is that both the victim who tolerates it and the guy who causes or inflicts it on others live a life of no planning.
If all of us live a planned life which becomes a patterned behaviour no one will talk about African time because everything will be done on schedule to achieve expected result.
I remember the Tibetan Mystic writer, Tuesday Lobsang Rampa once remarked that non observance of punctuality shows total disrespect to the other party.
Most leaders who attend event late do so with the thinking that no matter what the attendees must wait especially when they are beneficiaries of such visits.
They believe that since nobody will query them, they have a right to show up at any time.
They ignore the fact those people would have other things to do with their lives and are forced to remain.
This is the reason you cannot have a public function and estimate correctly when you will done with it.
Ihedioha’s score card so far on the two public outings he has made is as follows.
In the inauguration of the Technical Transition Committee, the governor was 25 minutes late for an event that was scheduled for 12pm.
He was an hour late; arriving at 1.02pm for the installation of the governorship inauguration committee which take off was scheduled for 12pm too. We know it can be better.
We don’t rule out that certain emergencies can constrain one to be late to events.
It becomes an issue when it becomes habitual.
Currently what we are used to is a situation whereby Governor Okorocha will schedule a meeting with his Commissioners or the traditional rulers for 7am and by 11amhe will be strolling into the place while they all sit glued to a point four solid hours tired and frustrated.
Rather than apologize he will start asking why they are frowning their faces. Shockingly too, royal fathers who are supposed to rebuke him for this unwholesome conduct will keep mute or swallow the rubbish.
If he can do this to them who will he spare.
That is the ugly past we want to do away with.
In the spirit of rebuilding our state we need a new spirit of time consciousness. If our governor is known to attend events at the fixed time and has zero tolerance for lateness naturally every other functionary or officials in the state will key into this habit.
If the government officials are known to be attending events timeously this will gradually sink into the people and consciously we will do away with African time which we use to mock ourselves.
Have you ever wondered why business organizations run by expatriates have a greater level of efficiency and effectiveness than the one managed by a Nigerian but all operating in the same Nigerian environment?
In the one business punctuality is strictly observed because there is consequence management and the number one man who set the rule will comply.
But in the other organization those who call the shots will set the example by violating it and so it goes down the line. In the latter case, rules are observed more in breaches than in compliance.
Most of the events and even meetings which hold in this country hardly commence on schedule. I can say more than 99.9%.
It might sound an exaggeration but it is true if you check properly.
The remaining point can be credited to very serious private organizations which is a place where punctuality is still fairly observed.
In the manner we observe African times, it looks like something that is stuck with us, something we cannot find solutions to.
Everybody including the so called educated ones is involved.
It is worst among government officials even at very high levels. Recently, it was reported that an American delegation that visited Nigeria to discuss power project or so with Nigerian officials arrived earlier and were waiting for their Nigerian counterpart.
What does that speak of us? By default or design it has become etched in our minds that no event can ever start at the scheduled period and so have we lived with it.
Those hosting the event would think that nobody would ever come at the appointed time and the invitees vice versa.
This where Gamaliel Onosode, a quintessential gentleman, one of the most capped executives on the board of many Nigerian firms, stands out.
Onosode it is known would attend your activities on time, often reaching the venue before the advertised time and waiting for commencement.
He would wait a while for an appreciable length of time and if the program did not get under way takes his leave. No begging stops him.
‘In my own thinking’, rebuilding the state should start with punctuality because punctuality they say is the Soul of business.
We should be professional in the conduct of government business, that is one way to get it right.