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  • Writer's pictureUkinebo Dare

Not Too Young To 'Shun'

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Nope, it’s not an error. With the ‘Not Too Young to Run’ movement making some headway, this is an urgent message for every young person looking to transform their country by working in Government.

But before then, welcome to ‘The Impact Blog’.

'ukinebo dare', sitting down, beautiful, black woman, poise

It has been a long time coming, thanks to organizations and individuals who have requested information on how to replicate the work we have been doing over the years to fight poverty and create jobs. This is the first of many posts that will share the things I have learned over the years, and that I am still learning on the path to eradicating unemployment in Africa.

Now back to this business about ‘Not Too Young to Shun’.

Have you ever wondered how a ‘leader’ can keep for themselves money meant for life saving medicine in public hospitals, things meant for the poor and so on? How come so many problems in Nigeria/Africa seem like an unsolvable curse, even when the solution is seemingly obvious?

First, let’s talk about an ‘Honorable Minister’ Mr. Richard Stone; and I look forward to your comments and questions at the end of this piece.


First, let’s talk about an ‘Honorable Minister’ Mr. Richard Stone; and I look forward to your comments and questions at the end of this piece.

Richard Stone was seated at the ‘owner’s corner’ of his official vehicle, lost in thought as he stared blankly at his security detail trying to clear the reporters who were stationed in front of the Federal Medical Center. Photographers posed with cameras, as they pushed past themselves to get a clear picture of him from the car window.

He sighed and tried not to remember the latest Mercedes Benz model sitting in his garage in Abuja. The car had only arrived a week ago.

‘I am the reason all these people are here,’ his mind rationalized.

As his driver drove into the hospital compound, he saw several women, tailed along by their family members, wailing as they mourned the death of 23 premature babies who had just died in the hospital two days ago.

‘I killed their babies. I am the reason these people are here mourning,’ he pricked himself in guilt.

people, riot, man shouting, government

Evil leaders!” He heard someone from the crowd shout!

Evil?’ He couldn’t tell anymore how or when he joined the ranks of politicians who converted funds disbursed for developmental projects to personal pocket money?

Enveloped in a state of utter regret, he reflected back to when one of his uncles paid him a visit after his appointment.

Congratulations, my Minister,” his uncle had greeted when he stepped into his office and rested the entire weight of his body in one of the office sofas.

Thank you, Uncle,” he replied in veneration.

Like play, like play, my brother small pikin don turn Minister be that o!”

Uncle Festus adjusted his cap, looking like someone whose mouth was pregnant with words. He looked around, admiring the interior decor of the new minister’s office, while a smirk stayed hoisted on his face.

“Should I ask the secretary to bring you some refreshment?” Richard asked.

Abeg, leave that one for now? I no travel all the way come Abuja come take refreshment.”

Na serious government matter bring me come here.

Richard gave his uncle a tight smile.

It was only his second day in the office, but from his experience as a Commissioner and LGA Chairman in his State, he could recognize exactly what was happening.

He had already received countless calls from family members, friends, old schoolmates, and even neighbours congratulating him on behalf of themselves because with his appointment as Minister of Health, they had all made it.

When he first became a Commissioner, he had promised himself not to be anything like people before him—stealing from the poor to enrich themselves and forever on the run from EFCC. Yet, here he was, staring at the wailing mothers and families he had thrown into anguish because he had borrowed the funds meant to import new incubators for all the Federal Medical Centers across the country. Not just that, Uncle Festus was living large on the smaller part of the money which they decided to use to at least buy a few incubators for the press to take pictures of. He certainly could not report his own Uncle for taking money they both shared.

“Wicked Leaders!” The chant from more people who had joined the chorus jolted him back to the present.

“How did I become this man? I joined Government to help people but why this?”

Hearing the news the day before did not move him much, but seeing those women crying uncontrollably for the loss of their precious babies threatened to break him.

A reporter tapped his window rapidly with her knuckles.

“Honorable Minister, can you tell us what happened to the 2.5 Million dollars ...

window, wet, cold

that was released to your office for the purchase, distribution and management of the new incubators… Reports say the contractor was into the sales of school supplies, how was he selected to...”

At that moment, he felt a familiar emotion creep in, taking him over and stifling every sense of guilt. So strong, he could almost taste it—fear with a heavy dose of pride. Fear of losing the life he had grown accustomed to, and pride fed by that same lifestyle.

As he stepped out of the car, self-preservation took over from guilt.

He knew just what to do...


What do you think he did next? I will tell you in tomorrow’s post. I will also be giving an expose on what I have learned from working directly with one of the few leaders in our country that is the direct opposite of Mr. Stone. If you want to know how Nigeria can ever be better, I tell you it is not just by new and younger people getting into Government.

Right now though, I would love to get your comments on what you think makes good people turn into ‘wicked leaders’.

Food For Thought: Everyone in public service is at risk of becoming Mr. Stone and tomorrow I will tell you how not to fall into the trap.

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