WHEN WILL NIGERIAN PUBLIC OFFICE HOLDERS BEHAVE LIKE MR QUICK?

"I have today offered my resignation in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation."  Bob Quick

Early this morning, the Metropolitan police's Assistant Commissioner, Mr Bob Quick resigned his position in the police force because of a bungled anti-terror police operation. For the benefit of non-UK residents and those who do not know enough of this saga which the Television and Print media in Britain have covered extensively since yesterday, Bob Quick did not steal or commit any offensive criminal act in the course of carrying on his duties as a police officer.

Mr Quick went to Downing Street, the official seat of the Prime minister of Britain, Gordon Brown, to report on an imminent police strike to forestall an Al-Qaeda terrorist operation in its advance stage of planning and execution. The purpose of the visit was to apprise the prime minister of a counter-terrorism strike by the police. But as Police Commissioner Bob Quick came out of the official car that brought him to walk into the Prime minister's office with the files and cellophane (Plastic) pocket folders of the sensitive and confidential documents clutched in his arms, media photographers snapped him with their Camera now having very powerful lenses to capture all the words in the documents hidden in paper folders and clutched files. For this reason the planned counter strike on the terrorists group had to be carried out earlier than planned in order not to compromise it and jeopardize the life of his fellow officers who would undertake the action. The operation, and its subsequent raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire, had gone ahead on Wednesday afternoon rather than 0200 BST on Thursday after Mr Quick's memo blunder!

For MR Quick, he knew and owned up to his lapse of judgment and accepted that his position was now "untenable." He recognized that though the counter-operation which now took place immediately the information leaked to the press was successful, it would have put the lives of the police officers and the public at risks, and so the only thing any man with conscience should do is to step down. And this he responsibly did earlier today.

The question I now ask is: Will a Nigerian public office holder ever do something like that? Own up to their lapse in judgment or corruption, which is now so rampant in the country, or even official misdemeanor and resign voluntarily for such errors or mistakes in their official work!

Daily Public office holders in Nigeria commit crimes, steal public funds with impunity and use these ill gotten wealth to oppress and undermine those whose commonwealth are stolen, and engage in errors of omission and commission in their official duties leading to the death and destruction of lives and properties, but will never own up or resign their position for the destruction they cause the polity. Till this day no one has taken or accepted any responsibility for the Ikeja bomb blast that led to the loss of lives of hundreds of Nigerians. All the collapse of all Nigerian owned public corporations (Nigerian Airways, Shipping lines, Steel Companies, Railway line etc), major disasters, plane crashes and so-called accidents happening in Nigeria are traceable to one public officer not doing their work properly with dedication and diligence, or probably compromised and engaged in massive corruption but no one owns up to these atrocities in Nigeria.

The whole thing boils down to irresponsible government in Nigeria. Nigeria is largely government by people- unelected in the first place-who do not have a clue as to what governance is about. They only enjoy the perks of their position but have no concern for the lives of the people they are supposed to lead. They are not accountable to the people, because they know they can get to power by rigging and the manipulation of the electoral process, and not through a free and fair choice of the people of Nigeria. In such situations there can never be a responsible, accountable public officer like you have in the United Kingdom.

Such breach of duty as the one that called for Mr Quick's resignation today will not be considered an offence in Nigeria. EFCC or ICPC would not even hear about it. If it is reported to them they will quickly dispel the matter saying there are people who have stolen Billions and Millions who should be investigated, not an "error of judgment" case. Remember the recent case of a legislator who forged a GCE O'level certificate, Mr Ibrahim Yushau Kanya, the federal lawmaker representing Babura/Garki federal constituency, who was cleared by the ICPC because "certificate forgery is not a big deal." According to ICPC officials?

When you sow the wind you will always reap the whirlwind! President Yar'Adua should stop shedding crocodile tears and moaning about not been invited to the G20 meeting in London recently. He should know, or ought to have known, that Nigeria stand no chance of been invited to a committee of nations that take governance seriously and have accountability and transparency as its watchword. When Nigeria gets its act right they will be courted left, right and centre by the international community, for like he pointed out, Nigeria has all the potentials to be among the 20 largest economies of the world. For now it is still a dream: Stop sleeping Mr President.

By Tony Ishiekwene

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