For adverts Placement only email: [email protected]

Friday, 01 March 2024 11:56

[OPINION] Bravo to Oronsaye - Donu Kogbara

The Federal Government is about to begin the implementation of the Stephen Oronsaye report,  12 years after it was first compiled.

It should help slash the cost of governance and I heartily approve of its recommendations, including the scrapping and merging of 220 out of 541 government agencies, management audits of 89 agencies and discontinuation of government funding for professional bodies.

 

Another recommendation – merging the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA; Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN; and Voice of Nigeria, VON  – directly impacts on my profession and makes total sense.

 

Understandably, there are howls of protest from those who have been feeding fat on government largesse for decades. But I congratulate Oronsaye, 100% for saying what needed to be said.

When this report first appeared, Oronsaye said that  if the committee’s recommendations were implemented, the government would save over N862 billion between 2012 and 2015.

One imagines that the savings figures are even higher now.

Let’s hope that President Tinubu’s administration has the courage to ignore negative lobbyists and do the needful quickly, ruthlessly and efficiently, without finding loopholes to unethically exploit.

A sense of elsewhere

I grew up in the UK – went to school there, worked as a journalist in London for most of my adult life and had an essentially British mindset. But my roots were Nigerian; and I constantly suffered from what an equally-conflicted Asian immigrant friend – a lecturer at the University of Warwick – described as a “sense of elsewhere”.

Not everyone who resides outside his or her ancestral land has this problem. Some immigrants become so emotionally attached to the countries in which they have settled that they feel totally settled in them and don’t feel connected to – or even curious about – the countries from which their forefathers hailed.

I have encountered Americans whose parents, grandparents or more distant forebears were born in Europe, Asia, Africa or wherever, but have no interest in visiting Europe, Asia, Africa or wherever.

 

They are culturally and psychologically American to the core and would not feel remotely conflicted about serving in the US army if the United States were to wage war on their “mother” countries.

Similar types of people can be found in the United Kingdom and many other destinations. But there are also immigrants who suffer from a strong “sense of elsewhere.” And I was one of them…so much so that I refused to be regarded as an immigrant, described myself as an expatriate or visitor and never applied for British passport.

What a “sense of elsewhere” boils down to is a niggling, nagging, ever-present feeling that there is another place to which you truly belong and should probably make strenuous efforts to connect with.

This persistent restlessness eventually overwhelmed me and, in a desperate bid to exorcise it, I moved to Abuja in 1999.

I was in my late 30s, emotionally fragile and terribly short of cash but so tremulously full of high hopes and absolutely determined to be at peace with myself.

Little did I know that the “sense of elsewhere” can cut both ways and that I would soon start to feel like a sad cliché again and to be haunted by a gnawing suspicion that my soul and this Nigerian place were not as compatible as I had imagined.

Within weeks of my arrival, the thrill of having relocated to my ‘real home’ had worn off and I began to miss the UK, badly!

My brother is – let’s call a spade a spade – just as neurotic and self-aware as I am and we once had a marathon discussion about the demons that tormented us and concluded that we, rather than the locations we inhabited, were the causes of the alienation angst that assailed us, whether we were in Europe or Africa.

“Wherever we go, we’ll always be unhappy and somewhat disorientated at intervals because we, alas, will always be there”, was my brother’s grim verdict. And I couldn’t have agreed more.

The painful, inescapable truth about some of us is that we are psychological cripples, to some extent, and will never fit in anywhere comfortably enough.

Samuel Johnson said that “patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel”, but I envy people who possess ardent, unapologetic allegiances to one country, people who have an unambiguous and passionate attachment to one tiny corner of the globe, people who don’t walk around thinking: ‘What the hell am I doing here?’

I suppose, in a world that is always going through one major disaster or the other, the average fence-sitting victim of this “sense of elsewhere” syndrome does not deserve much sympathy because many of us are, despite our possibly tedious complaints, basically OK.

Though still based in Abuja, there are so many things I hate about Nigeria; and I yearn for good old England every single day.

But even though I have endured several trials and tribulations here, including being kidnapped in 2015 in Port Harcourt, I know that if I ever get around to relocating, it won’t be long before I start to feel as if I left part of my ever-bleeding heart in Nigeria.

The trouble with being saddled with a “sense of elsewhere” is that you wind up not being an authentic citizen anywhere.

 

131 times


Join us on Whatsapp Channel Subscribe to Telegram Channel