The Main Opposition Parties ACN, ANPP, CPC and APGA - recently merged to form a new political entity that will be known as the All Progressives Congress.
I mentioned this development - which I regarded as fascinating and deeply significant - when I met a friend yesterday; and I expected him to share my interest in analysing the implications - which I regarded as wide-ranging.
My view was that the All Progressives Congress contains several influential grandees and is a potentially powerful alliance which might prevent President Goodluck Jonathan from being re-elected in 2015, if he decides to seek a second term.
But when I asked my friend to comment on my view, he said that he was surprised I was taking the matter so seriously because "while these Opposition fellows are busily merging with each other, the PDP will be merging with INEC!"
I laughed till I nearly fell off my chair. And I collapse into giggles whenever I remember that remark. OK, so maybe I shouldn't find such cynical observations about our rotten-to-the-core body politic amusing. But I suspect that I would go mad if I didn't have a sense of humour; and it WAS a pretty excellent joke.
Congrats to an action governor
My dear friend, Daniel Markson,who is Chief Press Secretary to Governor Dickson of Bayelsa State, has this to say about his boss's achievements (Dickson celebrated his fist anniversary in office on February l4, that is yesterday): 365 days of running a transparent and accountable regime
Until about a year ago, Bayelsa was a place where it appeared time had long stood still, where locusts had had a long running carnival in the sun. Such was the medieval approach to governance, such was the rapacious use of the public treasury. Upon assuming the mantle of leadership on February 14, 2012, Governor Dickson's first order of business was to drive home the imperative of public accountability without which no meaningful development can take place.
He declared: "We believe that it is the right of the people of the state to know what funds accrue to the coffers of the state and the various local governments and how they are utilized. This is the only way to secure the trust and confidence of the people in whom sovereignty lies."
He accordingly directed that all local government councils "comply with this paradigm shift." He gave meaning to the statutory obligation of governments to publicly declare all revenues that accrue to them as well as giving an account of the expenditure. He duly got the state House of Assembly to pass into law the Bayelsa Income and Transparency Bill 2012.
Structures and practices to ensure the order of business were instituted and functionaries in the public services made to realise that it could no longer be business as usual. Such reorientation was necessary but given how hard it is to change bad habits, the Governor's leadership by example was a good starting point. Governor Dickson had promises to keep. And he has been driven to keep them.
Next week, I will provide more details about some of the areas in which Governor Dickson has fulfilled his obligations to the people of Bayelsa State.
Before the more cynical Vanguard readers accuse me of praising Dickson only because his Chief Press guy is my chum or because I have allegedly been settled. Let me hastily assure you that I've also heard very good things about Dickson from a foreign journalist who recently visited Bayelsa and has absolutely no reason to be biased. TACHED.