Re: Buhari, Gerontocracy, and Early Missteps – A Rejoinder To Jaafar Jaafar By Abu Bilaal Abdulrazaq bn Bello bn Oare
Dear brother Jaafar, I read your article with the above title on Premium Times. In it you did a yeoman’s job of giving a glowing account of how meritoriously Ahmed Joda has served this country from pre-colonial days till date, yet you summed up by suggesting that he is not fit to chair the transition committee of the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, merely on account of his age. You, wittingly or unwittingly, arrogated superiority to the young over the old without giving any sound reason.
You are a young man, as you proudly adduced to, but your write-up seems to have passed a vote-of-no-confidence on your old age which is yet to come. I say this, not to spite you, but to instill in your consciousness the gravity of writing-off people merely because they are above your age bracket. While we condemn South Africa for xenophobia, you deserve to be roundly condemned for “geronphobia”. Your article suggests to me that you have something else against Ahmed Joda other than his age. But on the contrary, if the only problem you have with him is his age, then the likes of Professor Wole Soyinka and Emeka Anyaoku, who have also crossed the 80 mark and are still very relevant and useful to our nation, must be written-off, judging by your standard – except you are a man of double standards.
The cerebral faculties of the intellectuals work better with age. The likes of Isaac Newton and Louis Pasteur were useful to themselves, their immediate societies, and the entire world up till the last minutes of their lives. So I see no crime in tapping from the wealth of knowledge and experience of our aged compatriots until they seize to exist. Moreover, there is no reputable company in the world today that does not make working experience a requirement for recruitment or at least an added advantage. The more the knowledge and experience, the better the chances of a candidate in any job recruitment process. Retirement is not the same thing as tiredness. One can be retired from active service and still render invaluable services to his people. We must not deny anyone the opportunity to contribute to our national growth and development, no matter how old or young. Mind you, if you go through the list of persons who almost ground Nigeria to a halt under the Goodluck Jonathan administration, you would not find a single old person among them.
Besides, as you would readily agree in your write-up, a mere transition committee does not constitute a government. The job of the transition committee, which is expected to last only a few weeks, will definitely not be as tasking and exerting as a full-fledged government that is expected to last a minimum of four years, working round the clock to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians who have borne hardship and underdevelopment for too long.
As for the membership of the Buhari Transition Committee, in all honesty, it is a fair blend of the old, the youthful, the technocrats, and the politicians. There is absolutely no cause for alarm over it.
On the list, apart from the Chairman, Ahmed Joda, a one-time Federal Permanent Secretary, Ex-Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), and Ex-Vice Chairman of Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC., there is Dr. Doyin Salami who serves as the committee’s Vice-Chairman. Dr. Doyin Salami is a full-time member of the Lagos Business School (LBS), Associate Professor at Pan-Atlantic University, and Principal Consultant in Edward Kingston Associates. His consulting activities have included assignments for the Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Secretary of the committee is Malam Adamu Adamu, a veteran and prolific pen warrior of over two decades standing, renowned public analyst and columnist with Daily Trust Newspaper, and a public commentator with a distinct style, fearless, educated and bold enough to express his views and opinions both locally and internationally.
Another brilliant star in the committee is Mrs. Bola Adesola, MD/CEO of Nigeria’s Standard Chartered Bank Plc, a former Executive Director, Corporate Banking, at First Bank of Nigeria Plc., and a seasoned financial services expert. Mrs. Adesola had been Managing Director/Chief Executive of Kakawa Discount House Limited, a company she successfully repositioned from an essentially mono-product profile into a multi-product enterprise. She spent nine years in Citibank Nigeria, and was also part of the start-up team for Citibank, Tanzania, Dar-es Salaam, where she served as pioneer Treasurer.
Called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985, Bola holds a law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK and has attended numerous industry-related and personal development courses in Nigeria and overseas. She is also an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigeria.
This is just a cursory attempt to give a miniature profile of some of the members of the Buhari Transition Committee, in order to dispel the unwarranted pessimism raised by your write-up. We asked for change. Let’s be optimistic about it.
God bless Nigeria!
Abu Bilaal Abdulrazaq bn Bello bn Oare
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