Two stories: The Thomases and watchmen around Mr. Buhari

January 25, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Sunday Aghaze/AFP



Prince Charles Dickson

I want to this week talk about the men and women that are supposed to be helping Buhari. Many people say that followers are often a reflection of their leaders, however in Nigeria that is one axiom that isn’t exactly so. We have suffered both the leadership and followership plague, in many circumstances both sides of the ladder has suffered a quality deficiency.

Very quickly I was one of those that was neither here nor there about Mr. Buhari, my raison d’ etre was that former President, Mr. Goodluck had by several actions shot himself in the foot. But with each passing day, I see Mr. Buhari on the same path.

First Mr. Buhari kept Nigerians waiting regarding his key men and women that would help him steer the ship of governance and after considerable time had been lost, we had lost not just time but steam, and focus, purpose and a sense of direction.

Kindly permit me at this point to tell my two stories and I would conclude, because my stories are very explanatory.





Ezra and Thomas joined a company together a few months after their graduation from university.

After a few years of work, their Manager promoted Ezra to a position of Senior Sales Manager, but Thomas remained in his entry level Junior Sales Officer position.

Thomas developed a sense of jealousy and disgruntlement, but continued working anyway.

One day Thomas felt that he could not work with Ezra anymore.

He wrote his resignation letter, but before he submitted it to the Manager, he complained that Management did not value hard working staff, but only promoted the favored!

The Manager knew that Ezra worked very hard for the years he had spent at the company; even harder than Thomas and therefore he deserved the promotion.

So in order to help Thomas realize this, the Manager gave Thomas a task.

“Go and find out if anyone is selling water melons in town?”

Thomas returned and said, “Yes there is someone!”

The Manager asked, “how much per kg?”

Thomas drove back to town to ask and then returned to inform the Manager; “they are R13.50 per kg!”

The Manager told Thomas,

“I will give Ezra the same task that I gave you.

Please pay close attention to his response!”

So the Manager said to Ezra, in the presence of Thomas;

“Go and find out if anyone is selling water melons in town?”

Ezra went to find out and on his return he said:

“Manager, there is only one person selling water melons in the whole town.

The cost is R49.00 each watermelon and R32.50 for a half melon. He sells them at R13.50 per kg when sliced. He has in his stock 93 melons, each one weighing about 7kg. He has a farm and can supply us with melons for the next 4 months at a rate of 102 melons per day at R27.00 per melon; this includes delivery.

The melons appear fresh and red with good quality, and they taste better than the ones we sold last year. He has his own slicing machine and is willing to slice for us free of charge.

We need to strike a deal with him before 10am tomorrow and we will be sure of beating last year’s profits in melons by R223 000.00. This will contribute positively to our overall performance, as it will add a minimum of 3.78% to our current overall sales target.

I have put this information down in writing and is available on spreadsheet.

Please let me know if you need it as I can send it to you in fifteen minutes.”

Thomas was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Ezra.

He decided not to resign but to learn from Ezra.





An engineer in a car manufacturing company designs a world-class car. The owner is impressed with the outcome and praised him a lot.

While trying to bring out the car from the manufacturing area to the office they realized that the car is a few inches taller than the entrance.

The engineer felt bad that he didn’t notice this one before creating the car. The owner was amazed on how to take it outside of the manufacturing area.

The painter said that they can bring out the car and there will be a few scratches on top of the car that he will do the tinkering later on.

The engineer said that they can break the entrance and after taking the car out, they can cement it.

The owner was not convinced with any ideas and felt like it is a bad sign to break or scratch.

The watchman was watching all this drama and slowly approached the owner. He wanted to give an idea if they have no problem.

They thought what could this guy tell them that the experts could not.

The watchman said that the car is only a few inches taller than the entrance so if they release the air in the tyre, the height of the car will be adjusted and can easily be taken out.

Everyone there was surprised and clapped their hands for him.



As a nation, in two years we are yet to see exactly what the Nigerian ministers are doing or have done in the last two years, as it is with Thomas, so it is with Ngige, so it is with Lai, so it is with almost the entire lot with the current administration, many of them are grouping in the dark, we are cursed with men and women whose best definition of movement forward is that we would soon been manufacturing lead pencils, the other importing pencils.

The President has not seen the need to drop the ineffectual men and women around him that have simply refused to show up at work. Nigeria as a nation is full of several intelligent watchmen and of course Ezra, but we remain cursed with political expediency; the politics of settlement that brings an Ogbonnaya Onu, that births an Amaechi, that saddles a Fashola with loads that are most heavy for him.

We refuse to headhunt those with common sense, Nigerian men and women that all Nigerians can clap for, just like Mr. President does not have the academic and educational expertise, like the watchman, he can bring to bear, great know-how with the creative and innovative input of his men and women. Sadly we have Thomases in charge of our finance, ineffectual persons as legislators, in the judiciary, as citizens, at the expense of truly patriotic watchmen who love their nation and have that common sense which isn’t all the time common, the President needs new watchmen and women, or else we will again mourn an opportunity lost, for how long—Only time will tell.












Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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