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THE MAGIC BROOM THAT MADE A CLEAN SWEEP

By NBF News
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There are brooms and there are brooms. Some brooms are short, sturdy and stiff; others are long, supple and flexible. New brooms, they say, sweep clean; but old brooms know the nooks and crannies of the room. But one magic broom that recently made a clean sweep goes by the name Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). And what a feat!

Like a political tsunami, this colossal broom swept through the entire South West, making instant garbage heaps of the rot and decay of close to a full decade. From Lagos, which represents the handle of the broom, through Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states, the corrupt and putrescent system foisted on the citizenry by the 'people deceiving party' came crumbling like a pack of cards as the titanic broom swished its way through.

Is it not said that the house built overnight with spittle will collapse under the effect of the morning dew? That was precisely the case. By now, their 'do or die' political godfather must have stopped his cynical hyena laughter. Instead, it is the immortal spirit of the late Bola Ige that is now laughing in his hallowed grave.

How I remember him with painful nostalgia! His tragic assassination a decade ago was obviously not unconnected with the subsequent stage-managed 'Iwu-ruwuru' elections leading to the political 'capture' of the entire South West (with the sole exception of invincible Lagos). That tells the sordid tale of how the putrid state being swept away came to be, in the first instance.

Now that the enigmatic broom has carried out the initial crucial task of clearing this rot of epidemic proportions, the next urgent step is to move the unsightly garbage heaps into huge dunghills preparatory to colossal bonfires on May 29. One of the governors on the political journey to perdition and oblivion (and possible incarceration?) has reportedly commissioned new refuse disposal vans which, ironically, would now prove quite handy in moving his putrid administration to the dunghill of history for incineration in a ritual gesture of 'good riddance to bad rubbish'. The disposal of the rubbish must be immediately followed by a thorough fumigation of the entire geopolitical zone.

The political atmosphere of the South West stinks to the high heavens, believe me. The inhabitants are literally choking from the terrible stench which requires very powerful antiseptics to clear. But, after sanitizing the whole stifling atmosphere, the question is, what next? Are we going to witness fresh muck and mud simply being piled up to replace the old garbage? The new ACN governors have a historic responsibility not to betray the sacred trust of the electorate who overwhelmingly endorsed their return to centre stage. All thanks to the new democratic dispensation in which votes were counted and made to count towards giving effect to the will of the majority.

Before now, the people hardly mattered, since their vote was merely an ineffectual formality. Votes were simply allocated by a corrupt, decrepit and compromised electoral umpire. All that, thank goodness, has changed. Today, the fear of Jega's INEC is the beginning of political wisdom. The best form of campaign from now on is good, responsible and responsive governance from the first day in office, not the belated bribing or 'settlement' strategy embarked upon by the rotten regimes being swept away. They should also be reminded that a broom that outlives its usefulness and ceases to sweep clean is easily discarded.

Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State should organize a special seminar for the new governors of the South West on the secret of good and effective governance. The way he almost effortlessly imposed order, sanity and beauty on a hitherto chaotic and slummy Lagos deserves commendation and emulation. He has performed true to the name of his party - Action Congress - a party of action and not mere words.

Fashola speaks largely through his actions, and that is the hallmark of effective governance, which the new governors should strive to emulate. Fashola's victory at the polls was a foregone conclusion, as his style of governance made his defeat an uphill task for the opposition. His closest rival was thoroughly vanquished, not just defeated, as Lagosians overwhelmingly endorsed the action governor for a second term which promises to turn Lagos into a mecca of sorts. The same Lagos electorate had, only a week earlier, overwhelmingly endorsed Jonathan for the presidency, a strategic move misconstrued as an endorsement of the tattered umbrella of the PDP. Under Fashola, Lagos remains an ACN stronghold.

The new broom-wielding governors of Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states should strive for excellent governance, while openly shunning corruption. A dirty broom cannot sweep a room spick and span.

Dr Umukoro writes from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.