“When You Are Eating, You Don’t Talk” – Lai Mohammed
The Honourable Minister for Information and Culture – Alhaji Lai Mohammed was at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife on Friday 29th of January, 2016 in honour of the University’s Faculty of Arts invitation, who invited him to their annual Faculty’s Distinguished Guest Lecture as the guest lecturer.
In his delivered lecture titled “Nexus between corruption and Underdevelopment of the Nigerian state”, the minister examined burning national issues, most especially those relating to corruption and administration. At the closing stages of his delivery, he presented an analogy during which he stated that it is not right for a person to be talking while he or she is eating.
“Once a time, a very vocal and (God) fearing professor was nominated as a Minister. Because he was so vocal, so (God) fearing and he was actually seen as a defender of the masses, his constituency – the academics – were very happy that at least, they have somebody who is going to represent them and represent the masses in the government. But after about 2-3 years in government, nobody heard him champion the course of the masses, nobody heard him denounce corruption. After three years, there was a cabinet reshuffling and he went back to the university. When he got there, his colleagues were very infuriated and narrated to him their disappointment. They told him they felt with him in government, war against corruption would be championed by him. The professor looked at them and replied by saying “You don’t understand. It is about etiquette and table manners, when you are eating, you don’t talk”.
The message behind this analogy is very tricky to decipher. While some school of thought believes that Alhaji Lai Mohammed is trying to suggest he might keep mute even in the face of scandals and irregularities that may arise in the course of the current administration, some others believe he just put up the analogy as a form of reference to past administrators and administrations who have in one way or the other committed such offences.
The highlights of the event include; Presentation of distinguished alumnus award to the Minister himself, who is an alumnus of the Department of French, Faculty of Arts, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) and performances by the ever-entertaining Dramatic Arts Department troupe. Other awardees at the event include; Hon Kehinde Bamigbetan and Hon Oluseye Oladejo who were both alumni and former Student Union leaders. Prominent guests who graced the event include the Dean, Faculty of Arts – Professor Gbemisola Adeoti, former Dean of the Faculty – Professor Y. K. Yusuf and Kowa Party’s presidential candidate in the last elections – Mrs Remi Shonaiya. There were also in attendance representatives of the Ooni of Ife and other distinguished guests.
Now to you our distinguished readers, what do you really think Alhaji Lai Mohammed is trying to bring out of his analogy?