Home Business News Reflections With Funmi: Going Forward!

Reflections With Funmi: Going Forward!

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“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

Few days ago, the world witnessed an embarrassing situation for a sitting governor in America, New Jersey specifically over the closure of a bridge (public property) in September against his political opponent, Democratic Party’s Mayor Sokolich.

Brief background on the issue:

The governor of  New Jersey, Mr Christopher James “Chris” Christie is an American attorney and politician.

He is the 55th Governor of New Jersey and a leading member of Rebuplican party as well as a presidential hopeful in the next general election.

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie battled a rapidly unfolding scandal Thursday that threatened to derail his presidential ambitions, jettisoning two close advisers and apologizing for a traffic jam allegedly orchestrated by aides as retribution against a Democratic mayor.

Kindly pay attention to his choice of words below, an excerpt from the press briefing by Governor Chris Christie on the issue:

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Mr. Christie said at the beginning of a nearly two-hour, nationally televised news conference. “Ultimately, I am responsible for what happens under my watch,” he later add

Mr. Christie fired a deputy chief of staff, saying she lied to him about her involvement in the September lane closures at a local entrance to the George Washington Bridge, one of the world’s busiest spans.

He also parted ways with his former campaign manager, saying he was uncomfortable with the way he talked about the closures in emails released on Wednesday.

Hours after the end of Thursday’s lengthy news conference, Mr. Christie arrived in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, N.J., on the opposite side of the bridge from New York City, to apologize to the mayor and residents. “He said he wasn’t involved,” Mayor Mark Sokolich said of Mr. Christie. “And you know what, we accept that.”

U.S. Justice Department officials said Thursday they would scrutinize whether the lane closures, which snarled traffic for days, violated federal law. It wasn’t immediately clear which federal statutes investigators might be contemplating.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Democratic legislators said they would continue to issue subpoenas and didn’t rule out calling Mr. Christie himself to answer questions under oath.

Mr. Christie’s acts of contrition calmed some nerves among national Republican leaders, but they remained concerned about the possibility of future revelations, particularly in light of the fresh federal investigation and the continuing inquiry by a New Jersey Assembly committee controlled by Democrats.

Republicans in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire said Mr. Christie helped preserve his personal political brand ahead of the 2016 race by taking responsibility for the actions of his advisers, dismissing those at fault and addressing the charges head on.

“He answered every question that was out there and in a manner that didn’t hedge,” said Rich Killion, a Republican strategist there. “If everything plays out like he said it did, he should be fine up here with New Hampshire voters will give him credit for standing up and taking responsibility.”

But in a note of caution, Mr. Killion said, “His (Gov Christie’s) enemy would be new information. 

Any new information that would conflict with what he said today would open a host of new problems for him.”

Still, the crisis allowed some of Mr. Christie’s harshest critics among conservatives, such as radio host Glenn Beck, to go after the popular governor and raise questions about his judgment and the culture within his political team.

The lane closures in Fort Lee in early September 2013 were initially described by the Christie administration and its allies at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as part of a traffic study.

Until this week, the governor had brushed aside questions about whether the closures were retribution aimed at a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse the governor in his re-election bid. Mr. Christie joked once that he had moved traffic cones himself and denied that anyone on his staff was involved.

New Jersey Democrats, who control the state Legislature, seized on the issue and sent out subpoenas seeking emails and text messages by top Christie advisers.

A selection of those documents released Wednesday contained a message from now-fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly weeks before the lane closures: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

“Got it,” responded David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the Port Authority.

Mr. Christie on Thursday said he was blindsided by the revelations. In great detail, he described the moments on Wednesday morning when he stood in his bedroom after his workout, reading news reports and documents containing emails and text messages by some of his closest advise

“You can only imagine, as I was standing there in my bedroom with my iPad looking at that, how incredibly sad and betrayed I felt,” Mr. Christie said.

Mr. Christie also said he told Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager, to withdraw his name from consideration as head of the state GOP and to withdraw as a consultant to the Republican Governors Association, which Mr. Christie now leads.

Last month, Mr. Christie said that Mr. Stepien assured him he knew nothing about the bridge situation, which appeared to be contradicted by the documents released. In them, Mr. Stepien also called the Fort Lee mayor an “idiot.”

“If I cannot trust someone’s judgment, I cannot ask others to do so,” Mr. Christie said. “I would not place him at the head of my political operation because of the lack of judgment that was shown.”

Mr. Christie also said that, a month ago, he gave his staff an hour to admit any involvement in the lane closures before he publicly discussed the incident. None did, he said Thursday.

On Dec. 13, he publicly said no one from his administration was involved.

Above all else, Mr. Christie demands loyalty and trust from his inner circle, many of whom have worked with him for more than a decade, his aides said. When he took office in 2010, he brought with him some top staff from the U.S. attorney’s office, which he led before being elected governor.

Christie and Sokolich met Thursday after the Governor held a lengthy news conference where he denied knowing that one of his aids had instructed a now-former Port Authority official to close lanes on the nation’s busiest bridge that connects Fort Lee and Manhattan.

Sokolich noted that “we’re concerned there is more stuff and more issues to deal with” regarding the unfolding scandal. “I take him for his word,” Sokolich said of Christie.

Learning Wisdom From Abroad:

To us in this part of the world, closing of public facility against perceived political opponents is fast becoming a reqular occurence, without any known punishment from any superior officer of the state for any of such actions, and this attitude isn’t the preserve of any political party, it cut across board, in fact, its become petty of anyone to expect apology now from any quarter on such issue without being tagged an ethnic bigot or religious fanatic, that is how low we have sunk and still sinking, if we all don’t make moves to arrest these unpleasant slide and very fast too..

How many times have we as Nigerians come across staggering revelations of official waste, outright disrespect for rules, orchestrated chaos and all sorts, does it mean the people are carrying out orders from superiors or our elected officers don’t know what to do both at the states and federal levels.

The man in the eye of the storm, in this New Jersey story, Gov. Chris Christie said he first heard of his staff’s involvement Wednesday 8th Jan, 2014 and by 9th of January, 2014, just twenty four hours later, they were fired.

Seriously? No excessive committee set up to look into the issue and the reports shelved or given to another committee to review – the huge numbers of such reports by committees investigating such cases in Nigeria without any prosecution doesn’t send a signal of a country ready to fight corruption beyond lip service.

In Nigeria of today, some will say the personnel must not and can’t be fired over ordinary email that may have been leaked by opposition to tarnish the image of a political figure.

Its also very interesting to see how the various groups involved in this saga handled the situation, the supporters of both camps, the judiciary, the legislators, the media, the intra party critics of Gov. Christie etc, they all conducted themselves in such a way that its obvious even to the blind that the voters are key and should be treated as King.

The problem with us is really not because we are that much different, it is because we can’t seem to find good and honourable men and women to run our affairs across board, we lack accurate leadership that is willing to face our challenges head long.

We need to embrace some attitudinal changes as citizens, to start demanding quality leadership from our elected officials, or show them the way out with our voters.

As people saddled with responsibility in various capacities, we need to start doing things in ways that are acceptable to today’s reality, not arrogantly as we are used to. Whatever happens at the end, either Gov Christie political career survives this scandal or not, its obvious all involved will never go unpunished, the Mayor showed us how to work out a peaceful reconciliation when he chose to belief the words of the Gov that he knew nothing about the closure, the people of New Jersey are treated with respect, there polity is better and stronger for it, nothing less is expected here from the unfortunate scenarios in Rivers state, to the killings in the North, Kidnappings in the South and the incessant closing of roads whenever any dignitary is coming to any part of the country, that have caused untold hardship to motorists and road users – without any form of apology.

The bulk stops on someone’s table, we deserve apology as a people, we need to see a focused leadership ready to take deliverables serious beyond politicking.

Wake up people, we’ve got a nation to rebuild, there’s a lot of work for us all to do and we can’t afford to relent on Going Forward.

Material credits for this include, CNN and Reuters.

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